Dating gold hallmarks
Hallmarks on silver were first introduced in the UK in 1300 as a method of proving that the silver object contained the correct amount of silver, since pure silver is a very soft metal and consequently any object made from silver requires some base metal to be added to it to strengthen it.In these early days it was not uncommon for silver objects to be melted down and converted into coinage, and so it was imperative that the silver used was of a sufficient grade, especially with continental silver containing a much lower percentage of silver. Any piece of silver had to be officially approved to be of a high enough silver content, and would be given it’s hallmark only when this was the case.As a consequence the hallmark became a standard of quality and assurance, and the presence of a hallmark on a silver object was an official seal of approval.
Georg Jensen did not switch to the sterling standard until 1927 although he occasionally made special orders in 925S for the American market much earlier.All of these silver hallmarks can help in identifying exactly when and by who any piece was made, which is not only helpful to collectors of antique silver, but also offers a fascinating dimension to any old silver object that you may possess.Buying antique or vintage jewelry means first figuring out what it is, where and when it was made, and by whom.Never be frightened to ask the dealer questions, as all reputable dealers are more than willing to help.There are many good books on the market that give details of hallmarks. Buy the very best that you can afford but always look for value for money 9.
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Until 1961, Danish silver was identified by a stamp with three towers. (A mark with two towers means silverplate.)Other hallmarks can also include Swedish year markings and The Designer Initials which can further assist in dating a particular item. Not all items with a Georg Jensen hallmark may in fact be original pieces.