WHAT DO SILVER HALLMARKS MEAN?
The different symbols in a hallmark will tell you who made the item; what standard of metal it is; where it was hallmarked and possibly the date when it was hallmarked.
WHAT IS STERLING SILVER? 925
The vast majority of all products that we stock are made of Sterling Silver or 925 Silver as it is also known. For silver to qualify as Sterling it must consist of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another base metal which strengthens the silver making it more durable and easier to work with. Copper is a commonly used alloy. 925 Silver is always a popular choice for jewellery and in particular larger silverware as it is more durable and more affordable than other precious metals. Silver has been used by people for centuries and has had many uses including being surgical and musical instruments.
WHAT IS BRITANNIA SILVER? 958
The Britannia Standard was established in 1696 following the practice of melting down coinage for the manufacture of silver (a custom reversed in times of war). At the time silversmiths were forbidden to use Sterling but were instead obliged to use the higher standard of 95.8%. To denote this a figure of a woman called Britannia was used. The clamour against the sole imposition of this standard was so great that the Sterling Standard was restored in 1720. Britannia Silver has a softer constitution than Sterling Silver and is not commonly used these days.
WHAT IS FINE SILVER? 999
Fine silver consists of 99.9% silver and is extremely soft in comparison to other silver standards. It is rarely used in manufacture nowadays and is only used in investment or trade commodities where it must have a visible 999 hallmark to denote its standard.
OTHER ASSAY MARKS
As well as indicating the purity of your silver a hallmark can tell you the assay office where it was certified and some will also indicate the year that it was marked. Visit our blog about how to identify a silver piece for more information.
THE CARE OF STERLING SILVER
At Hayward & Stott we strive to produce products of the finest craftsmanship and quality however it is important to remember that silver, like most things, must be cared for. For tips on how to ensure that your silver remains in the best possible condition click here. Please note that all of our products also come with aftercare advice.