Now that I’ve soldered my silver ring and hammered it into shape it’s time to send it to Dublin for hallmarking. The only Assay office in Ireland is based in Dublin castle and has been testing and hallmarking precious metal since 1637.
If you want to get your jewellery hallmarked you first need to register with the Assay office. I’m registered as Eileen Moylan and was issued the makers mark ‘EM’. This mark is the first stamp on any hallmark. It is possible to trace the maker of any item which is hallmarked as no two makers marks are the same. The punch that I use has what is known as a ‘swan neck’ so I can stamp the inside of a ring. Once I stamp this ring with my makers mark I send it to the Assay office where they test the metal and add the other stamps needed to make up a hallmark.
The second mark, added by the Assay office, once they have established the quality of the silver is the mark of Hibernia. This Assay office mark has an image of a woman sitting with a harp holding a branch of some sort?! (I’ll research that for another post).
The third mark is the metal purity and fineness mark. This is indicated by a number stating the percentage of the particular precious metal present in the piece. Sterling silver which I used here is 92.5% silver and so the ring will be stamped 925. You can also request a fourth year mark to be added. This mark shows the year the piece was hallmarked which is indicated by a letter of the alphabet.
When the ring comes back from Dublin I’ll give it a final polish and it’s finished!