Hallmarks protect THE PUBLIC: A hallmark on an article means that the quality of the precious metal purchased is exactly what is stated on the article. The customer has confidence in buying hallmarked goods.
Hallmarks protect THE MANUFACTURER: A hallmark protects the manufacturer from unfair competition from dishonest competitors. Fraudulent dealers can produce sub-standard articles at a fraction of the cost by adding base metal to the alloy.
Hallmarks protect THE RETAILER: The retailer is responsible for the fineness of what he sells, but testing is impracticable for him – hallmarking guarantees the standard and protects him from possible prosecution.
The proposed EU Directive on Precious Metals aimed at harmonising hallmarking across Europe is a dangerous threat to consumers and our whole industry. The Directive would allow manufacturers and importers in Europe to self-certify their jewellery and put it on the market anywhere in Europe, including the UK without going through an independent third-party Assay Office.
The latest move by the British Hallmarking Council to authorise the setting up of Sub-Offices within manufacturers’ premises does not mean that a manufacturer may apply the hallmarks. The Sub-Office is an extension of the actual Assay Office, staffed by Assay Office personnel, and acting in the same way as the Assay office. Sampling of all goods will be carried out in the usual manner – samples then being sent to the Assay office for testing and assaying. If they reach the correct standards, marking is then performed by the Assay Office personnel in the Sub-Office.
In countries without hallmarking systems, or with less effective or voluntary hallmarking systems, the number of sub-standard articles produced is much greater than in Great Britain. Without a compulsory system frauds can be perpetrated upon the public with little danger of the manufacturers or importer being caught and the public are, therefore, left at risk. The guarantee given by the British hallmarking system has been a major factor in the world-wide demand for hallmarked British gold, silver and platinum goods.
OVER 700 YEARS OF CONSUMER PROTECTION – RENOWNED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD – DON’T LET US LOSE IT!
If the Trade does not act very quickly and strongly, it is likely that the Directive could be adopted by the end of 2003 and enforced in the UK by 2006. The UK government through the DTI has led the ‘no’ camp against the Directive for many years, but is now wobbling and adopting a neutral stance on this issue. A neutral stance from the UK will mean the Directive gets adopted. The DTI needs persuading that this is not good for the jewellery industry or the public.
What you can do to counter the Directive:
- Write to the Department of Trade & Industry, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H OET.
- Contact your local MP
- Contact your MEP
- Contact Newspaper Media.
- Contact TV Media.