Introduction to Marks

Before we start, it’s probably worth defining what we mean by a makers mark! Many people confuse “hallmarks” with “maker’s marks” althought strictly speaking the two are different. Hallmarks are about certifying the purity of the metal whereas the makers mark indicates the manufacturer. That said, for the purpose of this website, we’ll assume you just want to know as much about your jewellery as possible, so let’s not get too concerned with these definitions!

Makers marks are very diverse and may have a combination of initials, names, and/or symbols. Similarly hallmarks use a variety of symbols, letters and numbers. Certainly where there is a number, this would normally reflect the purity of the gold (or silver) in terms of its carat rating –¬†like ‘9’ or ‘9CT’. (Pure gold would be 24 carat if you’re interested). If your piece has a number like ‘750’ or ‘585’ this is a more modern method of marking and refers to the parts per thousand of pure metal by mass in the alloy (e.g. 750 = 75% purity).

Here is an example of a typical makers mark and hallmark: Hallmark example
Notice that the mark is splt into three sections: [1][2][3]

In this case:

– [1] is a Unicorn (yep you need some imagination to see this! You can also see a rivit fixing in the middle that doesn’t help!)

– [2] shows the jewellery is a purity of 9ct

– [3] is the letter ‘W’ which shows this piece is made by a company called Willis and Co. (who were based in Melbourne).

It can be quite tricky to identify a mark as there are lots of variations. Sometimes there will be reference to a Registered Design (e.g. “Reg. No 10″) or other engravings.

If you would like us to try to identify a makers mark for you, please use our search page.