Silver articles exporters, watch out new guide!

Dec 20, 2023

Recently, the British Hallmarking Council and UK Assay Offices have announce the Change made in the Guidance & Permitted descriptions for gold plated silver articles at point of sale in the UK. This guidance sets out the permitted descriptions for gold plated silver articles in the UK.

The British Hallmarking Council approved this guidance on 15 April 2013. It was then amended in 2016 and 2023. The British Hallmarking Council and UK Assay Offices receive many trade and consumer enquiries about the legitimacy of descriptions used at the point of sale for gold plated sterling silver items.

Domestic & Imported silver articles must have descriptions used for gold plated silver items are often misleading. Many descriptions do not mention silver or that items are plated, and often make specific references to gold fineness. This can lead the consumer or buyer to believe they are buying only gold when they are only buying silver.

The UK Hallmarking Act 1973 Schedule 1 Part 1, paragraph 1(1) (a) makes provision for the description of gold plated articles. The Act sets out to protect the use of the words; gold, silver, platinum and palladium. If an article is not gold Schedule 1 Part 1 paragraph 1(1) (a) of the Act permits the use of the word, gold, provided it is followed by the word, plated.

Examples of misleading descriptions include: 22ct gold clad ring and 22ct gold vermeil ring. In both cases these items were silver with thin gold plating. They’re described as gold, with no reference to silver and the descriptions do not use the word, plated.

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