The inaugural Award for promoting Hallmarking Awareness and Learning Online (HALO) was presented to the jubilant winners, Alex McMillan, and Nathan Amery of jewellerybox.co.uk at a sell-out Benevolent Society Christmas Ball in Birmingham on 8th December 2022. The prize of an impressive Silver Salver, to be held for a year, recognised their fresh approach and extensive use of engaging social media to educate customers about hallmarking. The winners also received a year’s free membership for the Trustmark for jewellery Assay Assured and sets of Bradbury’s Book of Hallmarks in the current edition and the new edition for 2023. Receiving the Award Alex McMillan of jewellerybox said ““jewellerybox is very proud to be the first recipient of the Halo award. As a retailer we are lucky to be trading in a country where consumers can feel assured purchasing jewellery online.”
Launched in June 2021, the HALO Award encourages jewellers selling online to promote the importance of a hallmark at the point of online sale and through social media. The new initiative, developed by the British Hallmarking Council in partnership with the National Association of Jewellers, is a response to the declining understanding of the importance of hallmarks. NAJ research in 2019 reported only 63% of the population saying they know what a hallmark is, and this is even lower amongst under 55’s.
There is a growing risk that consumers primarily associate hallmarks with antiques and do not appreciate their continuing importance. The HALO Award encourages jewellers to re-establish awareness of the reassurance the hallmark offers to consumers. This will not only maintain shoppers’ confidence in the UK jewellery trade but also protect legitimate businesses from unfair competition arising from competitors’ misleading or fraudulent product descriptions.
Entrants to the Award certainly understood the importance of educating online visitors and applications from across the industry demonstrated some innovative responses.
Thorough consideration and discussion by an experienced judging panel finally identified four finalists and all were praised for imaginative use of social media as well as providing excellent, clearly worded, and interesting information online. Education via channels popular with a younger audience was thought particularly valuable and outright winner jewellerybox.co.uk achieved this through social media posts on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. A PR campaign entitled “How to spot fake jewellery” highlighted the importance of hallmarking and a hallmarking quiz with a £100 prize was another innovative element of the campaign. The judges particularly commended the link to hallmarking information within every item specification.
The three other finalists offered diverse ways of promoting hallmarking. CW Sellors, a multi store retailer offering high end Watch and Jewellery brands through its high street boutiques and strong online presence was Highly Commended for creating engaging content about hallmarking. Alongside other information an imaginative video, featured “Matthew Boulton” founder of Birmingham Assay Office, explaining the hallmark and its benefits. This was widely used on their website and social media channels.
Also Highly Commended was Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery for their excellent online hallmarking information. Promotion of this well-established designer-maker business operating from three locations is built around storytelling. Stories regularly feature hallmarking, and their hard work has established a strong social media presence and coverage in national press, spreading hallmarking information beyond their customer base.
And finally, the Judges could not ignore the work of Serge DeNimes. They received a Special Recognition award for their inclusion of clear hallmarking information beside every piece of jewellery online. The business has amassed a following of 92,000 Instagram followers through regular artistic posts promoting their designs and ‘Serge Meets’ features. Products, presentation, and information target the important younger audience and judges were impressed to see “Hallmarking” as one of four information features which can always be accessed direct from the Instagram homepage.
Presenting the Awards jewellery expert and Goldsmiths’ Company Trade Warden Joanna Hardy said “Judging this Award was extremely difficult, and we congratulate the many entrants who demonstrated current and impactful ways to promote the importance of the hallmark. I am delighted to present this important Award and look forward to seeing the HALO initiative develop to protect the trade and the consumer for many years to come.”