A successful first year for the Hallmarking Awareness and Learning Online Award (HALO) in 2022 revealed many creative ways in which jewellers are educating customers about the importance of hallmarks. HALO 2023 is set to encourage more activity to increase consumer awareness.
The HALO Award recognises jewellers selling online who have best promoted the importance and reassurance of the UK Hallmark to potential customers. The Award was developed by the British Hallmarking Council (BHC) in response to the decline in consumer awareness of hallmarks. The public are faced with a mass of apparently similar products online and a wide range of brands and countless retailers. There is easy potential for deception or simply misunderstanding if descriptions are misleading or important product details are buried in the small print. Unless jewellery buyers know that fine jewellery should have a hallmark, the legitimate trade are vulnerable to unfair competition. Recognising the benefits to their members and the whole industry the NAJ support the HALO award, encouraging jewellers to promote their compliance with hallmarking legislation as a selling point.
However, an online jewellery business chooses to attract customers, engage interest, and convert browsing to sales, the hallmark is an important ingredient. Whether the consumer journey focuses on romantic ideals, technical expertise, innovative design or bespoke creations, the hallmark symbols fit comfortably into the “sell.” Two of the compulsory current hallmarking symbols, the sponsor mark and assay mark, represent a fascinating wealth of information. The fineness mark is THE most important factor, offering reassurance that the valuable precious metal alloy is as described.
The hallmark is a valuable asset and with gold at record prices and other precious metals still very high it is more vital than ever. As a legal requirement that has been around for nearly 700 years, it is understandable that jewellers sometimes overlook its potential as a selling point online. Retail staff instore are usually knowledgeable and ready to share the story, but for customers researching and buying online making the basic information easily accessible is hugely important. The HALO Award encourages all jewellers to take a fresh look at their online information and consider whether they are promoting their compliance with hallmarking requirements as beneficially as they could.
Last year’s award was won by online business www.jewellerybox.co.uk. Judges were impressed with its fresh approach to selling jewellery and the prominence of the hallmark. Every description of a hallmarked product includes a link to more hallmarking information which also featured prominently on social media posts. The use of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok engaged a wide audience including the all-important under 34’s.
The judges also highlighted three other jewellers whose entries demonstrate how businesses in different sectors can promote hallmarking in appropriate ways. Multiple retailer CW Sellors, who offer a wide range of high-end brands alongside their in-house range of jewellery, were Highly Commended. Their entry included imaginative filming of Matthew Boulton exploring the Birmingham Assay Office which he founded in 1773. Bespoke Jewellery Designer Harriet Kelsall was also Highly Commended due to strong stories relating to hallmarking on social media and in the Press. The design-led Serge DeNimes received Special Recognition for their excellent Instagram information and the icon beside every line linking to hallmarking information. All four of these businesses had made an effort to embed hallmarking within their “sell” and move beyond the legal requirement of showing the mandatory Dealer’s Notice.
Launching HALO 2023, jewellery journalist Rachael Taylor, who chairs the Judging panel said: “We had some fantastic entries to the HALO Awards in 2022 that displayed innovative approaches to communicating and celebrating hallmarking, and I’m looking forward to seeing what our entrants come up with in 2023. Educating shoppers on hallmarking shouldn’t just be about helping them to sniff out fakes; consumers today are fascinated by how things are made, and these beautiful little marks that we add to jewellery are a portal to a world of craft and excellence. Having an engaging communications strategy around hallmarking will not only ensure you are on top of regulations, but it will add value to your products in the eyes of consumers. For retailers that haven’t yet explored the full marketing potential of hallmarks, entering the HALO Awards is a brilliant goal to set for your team to help you achieve this.”
This year’s winners will be announced at the prestigious Benevolent Society Ball in December and will retain the prize Silver Salver for one year as well being eligible for a year’s free membership of the Assay Assured Trustmark scheme www.assayassured.co.uk
Entries are welcomed from all jewellers selling online, and the closing date for entries is September 8th 2023. For an application form or more information visit www.naj.co.uk/HALO