hallmark


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hallmark,

mark impressed on silverwork or goldwork to signify official approval of the standard of purity of the metal, also called plate mark. The hallmark was introduced by statute in England in 1300 and enforced by the Goldsmiths' Hall, London. Similar marks, many of them unofficial, were used on the Continent and in America. Other marks used on plate include one for the place of assay; a date mark, usually a letter; the maker's touch, at first a symbol, later his initials or name; a duty mark, to signify payment of a tax; and the artisan's mark. Marks have also been used on plated ware, baser metals, and pottery. See china markschina marks,
potter's trademark or signature, incised in the plastic clay before firing or printed before glazing on the bottom of the piece to identify it as his product. The practice was adopted by pewterers and silversmiths for establishing the genuineness of their wares.
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hallmark

Brit an official series of marks, instituted by statute in 1300, and subsequently modified, stamped by the Guild of Goldsmiths at one of its assay offices on gold, silver, or platinum (since 1975) articles to guarantee purity, date of manufacture, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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