We're Certifiable! (For at least another 10 years )
Not sure if I should be revealing my age to this extent but a little bit of history in our blog today. Above are the certificates of ten year renewal on my Irish Assay Office Makers mark. My mark MCG is based on my initials Martina Catherine Gillan when I first registered it with the Assay Office in Dublin Castle in 1987.
How it works is when we create a jewellery piece here, be it a one off commission for a customer or pieces for our own collections, we stamp everyone of them with our MCG mark. Then it goes to the Assay Office in Dublin who sample the metals that go into each piece and hallmark them as sterling silver or a particular carat gold. The metal has to be of the highest quality before it gets an Irish Hallmark. It means when you see jewellery with an Irish hallmark on it you know you are buying quality metals.
I do sometimes think about the number of pieces that will have gone out into the world with the MCG mark on it, as everything we've made since I first registered has been assayed. I do love to see pieces I have made in the past come back to me for a shine up.
Common Irish Assay Office Hallmarks
(Courtesy of the Assay Office of Ireland website)
The Dublin Assay Office Mark - Hibernia
Hibernia mark may be considered as a special mark of the Dublin Assay Office. It was only used on Irish manufactured articles up to 2002 while the boujet was used on imported articles. Since 2002 it is used on all articles assayed and hallmarked at the Assay Office irrespective of their origin
The Fineness Mark – The Harp Crowned
The harp crowned was prescribed as the fineness mark. It was applied to 22 carat gold and sterling silver up until 2002.
The Date Letter
In 1638 a date letter system began with the foundation of the Dublin Goldsmiths Company. This date latter denotes the year in which a piece was made or hallmarked and is changed now on 1 January each year. The date letter “A” is for the year 2011. On 1 January 2011 the 17th alphabetical cycle since the foundation of the Company began.
So the fineness mark for 9 carat gold for example is the numeral 9 with the addition of the fineness expressed in parts per thousand. So JE here is a makers mark. The Lady Mark is Dublin Assay Office mark, the letter refers to the year (G = 2017), the 9 refers to the carat gold in this case and the 375 is a fineness mark expressed as parts per thousand.