Dating sterling silver hallmarks
Some makers continue to use the “STERLING” mark in place of “925” even today.Vintage jewelry from other countries may have European purity marks, such as “585” for 14K gold and “750” for 18K gold, as shown in the photo below.The photo below shows a typical set of antique Irish silver hallmarks. However, sometimes it can be a challenge to identify which year a piece of Irish silver was made – the differences between some of the cycles can require a trained eye. Provincial silver marks Although Dublin was the only official assay office in Ireland, in the 18th century several exceptions occured; at the time the risk of highwaymen stealing the silver was ever present, so silversmiths in certain cities, notably Cork, Galway, Kinsale, Youghal and Waterford, didn’t send their wares to Dublin but instead stamped them themselves.If the king’s head faces right, it was made before 1850. The word STERLING indicates Ireland as well as America.COIN, DOLLAR, and STANDARD were usually American terms, but some Irish makers also used them.
There are so many different hallmarks found on British silver that to know all of them would be impossible.The vast majority of English, Scottish and Irish silver produced in the last 500 years is stamped with either 4 or 5 symbols, known as hallmarks.The prime purpose of these marks is to show that the metal of the item upon which they are stamped is of a certain level of purity.The earliest silversmiths in the colonies used their initials.Many makers used their last name, or first initial and last name. They were meant to mislead the public into believing that the silver was of English origin.