52 Jane Street, Edinburgh, EH6 5HG

Hallmarking

Have you ever wondered what all these symbols mean? The hallmarking of precious metals has a history dating back to the 4th century AD – items were marked under the authority of Emperor Augustinian. 

Today, the Hallmarking Act of 1973 sets the standard for the UK. An official series of marks are struck on each item to act as a guarantee of the purity of the silver, gold or platinum. Only 4 places in the UK are licensed to make these marks today – the Assay offices in London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Assay office has been testing and hallmarking precious metals for more than half a millennium - Alexander Kirkwood & Son has been a proud customer for nearly 200 years. 

Each mark has a specific meaning (see image above)

  • K&S – this is the Alexander Kirkwood & Son ‘makers mark’
  • 925 in a circle – confirms the item is Sterling Silver (92.5% silver)
  • Lion Rampant - represents Scotland
  • The Castle – indicates the item was tested or “assayed” in Edinburgh
  • p – the last mark represents the year. In this case, 2014. Each assay office uses their own system, with each letter representing a specific year. With only 26 letters in the alphabet, the font and case changes, e.g a capital A, small a, old English font, etc. 

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