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Check the hallmarks before you buy jewellery

Image of woman making jewellery Published Tuesday, 24th December 2019

If you are hoping to grab a bargain in the festive sales, and pick up some pieces of jewellery, be sure to check it’s properly hallmarked.

That’s the advice from Worcestershire County Council Trading Standards Service, which is warning shoppers of the dangers of buying jewellery which is not authentic. The advice is to do some simple checks on the hallmarks before you buy. 

Trading Standards Officers have conducted routine inspections of a small number of Worcestershire jewellers over the festive period. Overall the level of compliance with hallmarking legislation was very good, but buyers are urged to do some simple checks and ask questions before purchasing jewellery, particularly online.

Here’s how to check the pieces you are buying;

  • Jewellery and other items described as gold, silver, platinum or palladium are legally required to be hallmarked by an independent Assay Office, which provides a guarantee that the precious metal is of the fineness stated.
  • Anyone selling jewellery with these descriptions must also display a Hallmarking notice in their premises and on websites showing the markings that should be present on the jewellery. 
  • Hallmarks are often very small and difficult to see so an eyeglass will be required.  Buyers shouldn’t be afraid to ask the seller to provide an eyeglass and to point out the location of the hallmarks.  This can help customers avoid the disappointment and potential embarrassment of buying jewellery not accurately described.
  • When buyers order jewellery online, confirm a hallmarking notice is displayed on the seller’s website and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the hallmarks. 
  • Shoppers should also remember that where goods are purchased online there is a 14-day cooling off period to cancel a purchase and receive a refund, if the buyer is not satisfied with the jewellery ordered.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities said: “Shoppers should take time when making expensive purchases to ensure the authenticity of what they are buying.

Buying un-hallmarked jewellery may mean you are not getting what you pay for.  Anyone selling jewellery should ensure that the items they sell comply with the requirements of the Hallmarking Act and are correctly hallmarked.”

If anyone is concerned about the authenticity of any goods they have purchased, they can report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.