The British Hallmarking Council (BHC) announces a new initiative to provide support for the U.K. jewellery industry and to protect U.K. consumers.
This October saw the launch of a new format for the Dealers Notice, a new digital asset explaining the vital information contained in a hallmark and a new campaign encouraging jewellers to give high visibility to the importance of hallmarking online.
The U.K. jewellery industry has a long and distinguished history and contributes extensive employment opportunities and over £8 billion to the U.K. economy.
However, the world is changing and with it this ancient industry. The outlets for its products once firmly established in bricks and mortar in local high streets are fast moving online. Competitors now operate from around the world and do not always trade fairly or comply with UK consumer protection law.
Recent internet surveys commissioned by the BHC have revealed widespread malpractice and misrepresentation leading to increasing detriment to those trading honestly, in compliance with the law, and also to consumers. A survey conducted over a 6-day period earlier this year and focused on a limited section of the internet and social media revealed over 48,000 infringements of consumer protection law with a potential loss to the consumer and the U.K. industry of at least £1 million.
The primary protection for those selling precious metals and their customers is the Hallmarking Act 1973 which sets standards and marketing requirements for the sale of Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium jewellery and other articles. There are three main areas with which jewellers need to comply when selling online:
- Hallmarking compliance
- Accurate product descriptions for consumers
- Hallmarking information for consumers / Dealers Notice display.
The Dealers Notice provides consumer information to identify the integrity of product through the Hallmark. The format was initially designed for face-to-face.
BHC has now redesigned it for internet use and has joined forces with the National Association of Jewellers to promote it to the industry for its own protection and that of its customers. The new format is an alternative for online sales platforms where a dedicated page on hallmarking is not possible. It is designed to be included as an individual product image, giving online retailers a choice of how to display hallmarking information.
The Hallmark is a consumer guarantee of product fineness and is a powerful marketing tool for UK businesses. The objective is to increase its visibility at the point of sale and to reinforce the understanding of its importance and the protection it provides to consumers.
A new Award, the HALO Hallmarking Awareness and Learning Online award has been established and was launched at the NAJ Summit on the 11/13th September.
The award will be presented to the business that has produced the most effective online initiative relating to the display of the new Dealers Notice and the education surrounding hallmarking in the UK. The closing date for applications for the award will be 1 August 2022.