Hallmarking and cheap jewellery

What's a Hallmark?

Many people are unfamiliar with the term "hallmark" and are unsure of what one is and means. This has led to a rise in poor quality illegal jewellery being bought by unsuspecting members of the public.

Simply put a Hallmark is a legal requirement being a guarantee of metal purity given by the government assay office when a "sponsor" (somebody registered with the office) submits the piece. This is a very rigorous test and in place for the protection of the public-and has been so since the 13th century. This is not the same as a basic stamp (such as 925/375/750) often found on inferior jewellery.  For more detailed information about the Hallmarking system please visit https://www.assayofficelondon.co.uk.

At RK Jewellery Designs our registered sponsors mark is the shield with the RK letters that make up our company logo and we carry our mark with pride-please look for it on any purchase or ask us for details. 

So what's all the fuss about?

We all love a bargain, but recently there has been a huge rise in unscrupulous sellers of fake jewellery, often from the overseas. To the untrained eye this may seem perfectly real but the bargain falls apart on closer inspection. We have put together a case study of a ring sold as sterling silver and stamped with a 925 mark bought from a popular online platform for a bargain price and will dissect the ring here for you to show you what is actually being sold.

The ad


The description

 product description competitor site

The ring.


The ring on first inspection looks good, carries a 925 stamp (a standard mark for sterling silver on cheap jewellery) but feels a little light to someone used to handling gold and silver. It also feels slightly warm...could it be that our bargain is not what we thought?

The gemstone


Sold as a genuine zultanite/alexandrite/spinel The gemstone is in fact a lab grown synthetic version, worth considerably less. Lab created gemstones are a fantastic asset and we encourage them wholeheartedly, but only when you as a member of the public are made aware of the fact. On closer inspection we found that this stone is extremely soft (around 2 on the Mohs scale, similar to your fingernail), making it completely unsuited to use in this type of ring. This means that the stone will scratch and get damaged very fast...buy cheap buy twice!


The ring has been electroplated with a thin layer of silver metal over a copper layer-common in electroplating. We have not tested the metal but it is very likely a paper thin layer of silver that will just rub off...something is clearly not right here!

The inside section

The inside section of the ring is made of what we suspect to be a brass copper alloy known as "gilding metal" which is yellow in colour, whatever it is it is clearly not 925 sterling silver and should not legally be sold in the UK.


It's simple, this ring ~(and millions like it) are a rip off and deceptive. The legal requirement of hallmarking (not just a number stamp) is what protects you the consumer from items like this. Whether you choose our fantastic jewellery, or that of another reputable company- make sure that your gold, silver, platinum or palladium is hallmarked and beware of bargains online- they are often not what they appear!

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