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Antique and Vintage Jewellery Lecture:

Laws and Regulations

jewelry laws and regulations

Around 1800 Napoleon disbanded the guilds and left the regulations of gold and silverware to lawmakers.

The guilds were responsible for ensuring the integrity of relevant trades. They designated assay-masters to inspect items made from precious metals verifying the correct alloy was used. Their methods were quite effective; in fact, most of their regulations were later incorporated into legislative laws. Therefore, we are still operating under similar principles today.

What requirements must an object made from a precious metal meet?

This varies depending on the country of manufacture, its intended market, or its current location. To put it succinctly: it must bear a (hall-)mark. However, the presence of a mark doesn't always guarantee the object is as described. For instance, a gold mark on a piece of iron claiming it to be gold would not convince many, but a gold mark on a piece of brass might be more challenging to dispute for most. This indicates that a mere mark is insufficient. Hallmarks must adhere to specific standards, which differ from country to country and across different periods.

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