Save for noted vintage and/or antique pieces, all original Katherine James Jewellery items are fully hallmarked, as per British law. Hallmarks originated in the United Kingdom when the first Assay Office, Goldsmiths’ Hall, was founded, around 1300. Since then, ten Assay Offices have existed in the UK, each with their own signature mark. At present there are five Assay offices in operation, including Birmingham, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, and Sheffield.
Katherine James Jewellery pieces are hallmarked by the London Assay Office, which has been testing the quality of gold and silver since 1327, and latterly, palladium and platinum. Originally, all London articles were stamped with the King’s mark, which was a leopard’s head. Now, and since 1544, the leopard’s head has been recognized as the official mark of the Assay Office London.
Until 1998, all jewellery manufactured in the UK were hallmarked with four compulsory marks, including: the maker’s mark, the fineness mark, the Assay office mark, and the year mark. The fineness mark may be standard (purity of the precious metal content in parts per 1000 i.e. 750 refers to 18 carat gold) and/or traditional (various symbols which represent Gold, Sterling Silver and Platinum etc.) After 1998, the year mark became optional.
As of Summer 2020, all Katherine James Jewellery will include our custom Maker’s Mark, as seen above.