The Maker/Responsibly/Sponsor’s Mark
Originally it was used to identify the silversmith or goldsmith responsible for making the article. The initial letters of his christian name and surname are used. In the case of partnerships and companies nowadays it generally consists of the initials of one or more of the partners and in the case of a limited company the initial letters are used.
Sample - Maker/Responsibly/Sponsor’s mark (ie Dublin Assay Office)
The Dublin Assay Office Mark - Hibernia
Hibernia mark may be considered as a special mark of the Dublin Assay Office. It was only used on Irish manufactured articles up to 2002 while the boujet was used on imported articles. Since 2002 it is used on all articles assayed and hallmarked at the Assay Office irrespective of their origin.
The Fineness Mark – The Harp Crowned
The harp crowned was prescribed as the fineness mark. It was applied to 22 carat gold and sterling silver up until 2002.
The Date Letter
In 1638 a date letter system began with the foundation of the Dublin Goldsmiths Company. This date latter denotes the year in which a piece was made or hallmarked and is changed now on 1 January each year. The date letter “A” is for the year 2011. On 1 January 2011 the 17th alphabetical cycle since the foundation of the Company began.
Gold Hallmarks Symbols Guide
There are eight standards prescribed for gold in Ireland. They are expressed in terms of carats and parts per thousand and in the case of 990 and 999 in parts per thousand only. One carat means one twenty-fourth part of the metal content.
22 Carat Gold Hallmark
The fineness mark for 22 carat gold is the harp crowned, the same as that used for silver. The hallmarks other than the harp crowned on gold articles are usually stamped on their sides while those on silver are usually vertical. In addition, the numeral 22 appears with the maker’s mark on articles made of 22 carat gold. Since 2002 the harp crowned has been replaced with the numerals 22 & 916.
20 Carat Gold Hallmark
The fineness mark for 20 carat gold is a plume of three feathers. This standard was introduced in 1784. The numeral 20 appears with the maker’s mark on articles of 20 carat gold. Since 2002 the plume and three feathers have been replaced by the numerals 20 & 833.
18 Carat Gold Hallmark
The fineness mark for 18 carat gold is the unicorn’s head. This standard was introduced in 1784. The numeral 18 appears with the maker’s mark on articles of 18 carat gold. Since 2002 the unicorn’s head has been replaced by the numerals 18 & 750.
14 Carat Gold Hallmark
The fineness mark for 14 carat gold is the numeral 14 with the addition of the fineness expressed in parts per thousand.
10 Carat Gold Hallmark
The fineness mark for 10 carat gold is the numeral 10 with the addition of the fineness expressed in parts per thousand.
9 Carat Gold Hallmark
The fineness mark for 9 carat gold is the numeral 9 with the addition of the fineness expressed in parts per thousand.
Platinum Hallmarking Guide
Platinum was introduced as a hallmarkable metal in 1983. There was only one standard of fineness 950 parts per 1000. The fineness mark was a “P with a broken loop” in a pentagon.
Since 2002 an additional three standards of fineness have been introduced 850, 900 & 999.
Irish hallmarks on foreign made articles up to 2002
Fineness marks on foreign made silver articles
Two standards are permitted for manufactures of silver being imported into Ireland.
One is the sterling standard as with home manufactured articles. The fineness mark for this is the numeral 925 expressing the standard as parts per thousand in an elliptical shield.
The other standard is the higher standard known as the Britannia standard. The fineness mark used is 9584 expressing the standard parts per ten thousand in an elliptical shield.
Boujet mark may be considered as a special mark of the Dublin Assay Office for foreign made articles.
This is a stylized representation of a medieval vessel for carrying water in the form of two leather pouches appended to a cross-bar or yoke. On gold articles it was used in a rectangular shield with the corners chamfered and on silver articles in an elliptical shield.
Sterling standard import marks
Britannia standard import marks
Britannia silver, one of the permitted import standards, should not be confused or mistaken for Britannia metal which is an alloy chiefly of tin, antimony, copper and contains no silver at all.