There has been a statutory duty to mark precious metal since 1478. The UK is one of only a handful of countries in the world who have such a rigorous hallmarking system to protect the consumer and the trade.
The British Hallmarking Council have the duty to uphold and protect a system which has been established for several hundred years and which is envied by many other countries around the world
The British Hallmarking Council was set up under the Hallmarking Act 1973 and came into existence on 1 January 1974.
It consists of between sixteen and nineteen members, ten of whom are appointed by The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. Of these, three have to have experience in organisations or activities carried on for the protection of the consumer and four have to be engaged in trading or manufacture of articles of precious metal.
The Assay Offices appoint six members, two from Assay Office London, two from Birmingham Assay Office and one each from Sheffield and Edinburgh Assay Offices. The Council may co-opt up to two further members. The members hold office for terms of three years. The Assay Masters cannot be Council members, but they have a right to attend and speak at meetings.
The Council elects a Chairman and the present incumbent is Christopher Jewitt, who, as Chairman, has a casting vote in the event of equality of votes at any meeting.
The British Hallmarking Council is totally funded by the four UK Assay Offices who split the costs between them.
Corporate Statement 2011 (PDF, 212 Kb)