A public consultation into the use of British hallmarks overseas is to be launched shortly by the British Hallmarking Council (BHC) after the Birmingham Assay Office recently opened a sub-division in Mumbai (ATG No 2292).
“There is a real danger that the credibility of their mark could be devalued,” said Robert Organ, deputy warden at The Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office in London.
Speaking at the Fakes and Forgeries seminar at Goldsmiths’ Hall last week in London, Organ added: “We would never entertain the idea here. If we were to ever consider hallmarking overseas it would be with a different mark altogether, not the leopard.”
Hallmarks guarantee the fineness and quality of precious metal and the ‘town mark’ indicates which assay office carried out the authentication process.
However, the hallmarks do not indicate where a product was made. For modern objects, more than 90% of hallmarked items in the UK are manufactured abroad in India, Thailand and the Far East.
Asked by ATG to comment, commercial director at Birmingham Assay Of f ice Nyasha Pitt said: “We operate the Mumbai sub-office with the same rules, regulations, processes, external accreditation and controls as we do in the UK.”
The Goldsmiths’ seminar programme included presentations from silver dealer Alastair Dickenson, jewellery specialist Susan Rumfitt as well as Goldsmiths’ Company and Antique Plate Committee member David Cawte and valuer Rupert Huddy, on how to spot fakes and forgeries.
Organ also spoke out on Brexit and called “it an absolute disaster”.
He said it would effect where global companies decide to have their items hallmarked with some of the largest global jewellery firms preparing to switch from London to locations such as the Netherlands, to maintain hallmarks recognised in the European Union.
“We would never entertain the idea of outsourcing here
Robert Organ London Assay Office