If you read the details about each of the beautiful items of jewelry created by our craftsmen you will see that we usually mention that every piece is hallmarked by the Dublin Assay Office. We then explain that this is your assurance of the high quality of the item. This is quite important because a hallmark is only stamped on jewelry which has been examined by the Assay Office, that hallmark exists to protect the customer.
The Dublin Assay Office was founded in 1637 to assay all items of gold and silver produced in Ireland. The word ‘hallmark‘ dates back to the fifteenth century when craftsmen in London first brought their articles to Goldsmiths’ Hall for assessing and marking. The idea was that the stamp shown on the item would enable people to recognize which company produced the piece. Historic Dublin Castle in the city center is the location for the Irish Assay Office. The castle itself is a major tourist attraction and the magnificent State Apartments are open for guided tours when not in use for official business.
In their purest form precious metals are unsuitable for making into jewelry, the metals just don’t work well unless other metals are included to form an alloy. The other metals are included in exact proportions, for instance 10k is 417 parts of pure gold per thousand, 14kt gold is 585 parts pure gold per 1000 and 18kt gold is 750 parts per 1000. The Assay Office tests this and part of the hallmark will show these numbers so that you will be able to recognize the purity of the gold. Among the other metals added to gold are silver, copper and zinc.
In the case of sterling silver the proportions are 925 parts per thousand and for platinum it is 950. Should these proportions not be accurate for any item, it will not meet the standards of the Assay Office and will be returned to the manufacturer.To determine the purity of the precious metal, a tiny sample is scraped from the item in an unobtrusive place and then tested. Once the purity has been established the item will be stamped accordingly.
As well as the purity mark there is the manufacturers mark and also a date letter which denotes the year in which the piece was created or hallmarked. This letter is changed on New Year’s Day each year, so the hallmark can also tell you the age of an item. Hallmarks are a fascinating and complex subject, you can learn much more about them with research, but for our purposes, here at Celtic Wedding Rings, we are confident knowing that each hallmarked item we sell to our customers is of the highest quality, both in content and craftsmanship.