Have you ever wondered why there is usually a number found on pieces of jewellery? 

It is part of a process known as hallmarking. No, we’re not talking about greeting cards. We are talking about the measurement of gold. Have we got your attention?

Essentially, hallmarking uses a stamp-like system with a number impressed on the jewellery as a way of permanently identifying the types of metals used.  

For example, you may have heard of many people refer to “24 carat or 24K gold”. This means the gold that is mined from the earth. It is defined as pure gold. 24 K gold is a very soft metal and not very durable, certainly not for everyday wear. 

That is why jewellers often take 24K gold and mix it with other metals to create beautiful and durable jewellery for daily use. The most common precious metals used in producing jewellery are gold, silver and platinum. 

To break this down, 18K gold refers to the alloy which has 18 parts of pure gold and 6 parts other metals.

A rich history

The hallmarking of metal dates back to medieval times. The system originated with a medieval coin called a Mark. The Mark was originally produced in pure gold and weighed 24K.  

Like jewellery today, with gold being so soft, other metals were added to the Mark. The coin was then hallmarked to indicate the proportion of pure gold and therefore currency value. 


Who can you trust?

In our modern day, a jeweller or independent assessor always hallmarks the metal used in producing jewellery as it is needed to value the piece.

In some countries, including the UK, it is law that every hallmark needs to be independently provided by an Assay Office where they test each piece of jewellery for its purity. In Australia this is not required so hallmarking is undertaken by jewellers. 

That is why it is important to get your jewellery from a trusted and credible source, like The Online Jewellery Company.

At The Online Jewellery Company, we have more than 30 years experience as jewellery insiders and pride ourselves on our direct relationships with reputable local and international jewellery makers which mean exclusive deals and unrivalled quality. Our 30 day money back guarantee and two year warranty also means you can shop with confidence.

Metal chart