renton dating - Silver dating marks

It was for this reason that in the late middle ages, several European sovereigns issued regulations requiring that all gold and silver artifacts be marked with a unique stamp to identify the maker of the object; a responsibility mark to protect consumers.From medieval times to the mid-19th century, hallmarks were used only as a means of consumer protection.This deceit lasted to around the turn of the 20th century.

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The smiths of the day, mostly trained in the old tradition, were more than happy to provide the market with freshly crafted "antiques" and the mimicked hallmarks added to the authenticity of those desired objects.

As there had never been a real prior interest in hallmarks, other than identifying the people responsible for the quality of the precious metal, these marks were interpreted as genuine foreign antique marks by the customs officers and collectors.

For estate jewelers and jewelry historians, hallmarks provide for an extra source of information to accurately date a jewelry object and determine by whom it was made.

The most encountered hallmark on jewelry is undoubtedly the "purity" mark which indicates the total amount of gold or silver used to manufacture a coveted jewel.

The interpretation of these hallmarks, however, requires specific training and a keen eye.

Especially in countries with no governmental assay offices, like the USA, the need for in-shop trained professionals in this field is required to interpret these stamps correctly.

By that time the general taste had changed from eclecticism to Art Nouveau and Edwardian.

Thanks to the hallmark research that began in the late 1800s, a good picture of hallmarking practices throughout the ages is now readily available.

Although the technicalities in this legendary story are most likely based on myth, it does give an early account of fraud with precious metals.

Since pre-Roman times gold and silver have been used as currency or as the counter deposit for money and one can imagine that a not so scrupulous person, with little fear of severe punishments, would find a means to tamper with the precious metal.

Rather, they were an early type of consumer protection.

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