Dating gold hallmarks
that it be identified with the name and reputation of its maker." Additional hallmarks can provide information about the silver content as well as occasional supplementary information.
Georg Jensen did not switch to the sterling standard until 1927 although he occasionally made special orders in 925S for the American market much earlier.As a consequence the hallmark became a standard of quality and assurance, and the presence of a hallmark on a silver object was an official seal of approval.English silver, or Sterling silver is often referred to as solid silver, but it does in fact contain 7.5% copper, so it is 92.5% pure, which is why modern silver often has a .925 mark stamped into it. English Silver Hallmarks evolved over time, with the eventual inclusion of the standard or sterling mark, the assay office, the year of manufacture, the maker, and sometimes an additional mark for special reasons.The hallmark data below is the basic summary information (without photos of the verified variations to date) on Spratling's hallmarks.Far more complete hallmark information and easy to follow charts (as well as techniques for determining authenticity) can be found in our new book a William Spratling treasure.Curious as to how we determine the dates on many of our pieces?
We are fortunate enough to have obtained a handful of old catalogs and internal documents pertaining to the hallmarksused by the Georg Jensen Silversmithy.
Hallmarks on silver were first introduced in the UK in 1300 as a method of proving that the silver object contained the correct amount of silver, since pure silver is a very soft metal and consequently any object made from silver requires some base metal to be added to it to strengthen it.
In these early days it was not uncommon for silver objects to be melted down and converted into coinage, and so it was imperative that the silver used was of a sufficient grade, especially with continental silver containing a much lower percentage of silver. Any piece of silver had to be officially approved to be of a high enough silver content, and would be given it’s hallmark only when this was the case.
A trusted dealer can help but if you want to learn to identify jewelry on your own, you’ll need a good guide. On our website people can send in questions about hallmarks and many times we receive maker’s marks instead of hallmarks.
There are a few books on the market, but if you want the ultimate, illustrated reference book, be prepared to shell out a couple hundred bucks for World Hallmarks, Volume I: Europe, 19th to 21st Centuries, due out in its second printing this month. People think any maker’s mark is a hallmark and that becomes a problem.
Hallmarks are but one of the tools that we must use in determining whether an item was designed by Spratling and actually produced in his workshop during his lifetime.