‘Made In Britain’ Mark for Jewellery

The National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) – an amalgam of the former National Association of Goldsmiths and British Jewellers Association has begun consulting with its members on plans to make Hallmarking history. Hallmarking is one of the oldest pieces of consumer protection legislation in the UK, and is designed to provide consumers with a clear indication of the quality of gold and other precious metal items. Until 1998, a Hallmark consisted of four compulsory marks. Since 1998 a date letter has become optional but the other three symbols remain compulsory, and indicate: who made the article; its guaranteed standard of fineness; and the year and Assay Office, at which the article was tested and marked. The NAJ’s plan is to introduce a ‘Made in Britain mark’ for jewellery manufactured in the UK in the hope that a country of origin mark on British-made goods will help boost sales. The clothing sector has long realised the cache of promoting its British made products – particularly in the luxury sector – and NAJ chief executive, Michael Rawlinson, hopes that British named jewellery will carry similar kudos in overseas markets. Hallmarking in the UK is performed by four government approved assay offices. Whilst some, notably Birmingham, have made positive noises in support of the initiative, a concern would be that there would be a confusion with Hallmarking. Uncertainty also hangs over the precise definition of what qualifies as ‘British’, and how the use of the mark would be policed overseas. All being well, industry consultation will determine the mark’s design and, with government approval, it could be in place by next year.