British Hallmark still intact Nov03
I am delighted to report that the Conservatives in the European
Parliament have been very successful in our campaign against the European
proposal to end the compulsory hallmarking of jewellery in the UK. As a
result of our intense lobbying, a top level committee of EU diplomats
decided to withdraw the proposal from the agenda of the Council of
The quality of our jewellery could have be under threat if the EU
Directive was introduced. For more than 700 years, the British hallmarking
system has proved to be of great value in guaranteeing quality of precious
metals, like gold and silver, offering a control standard for the
manufacturer and consumer.
Sadly, some European countries such as Italy, France, and Germany,
do not have an independently verifiable system of hallmarking that allows
their manufacturers to offer similar guarantees. Italy is Europe's largest
jewellery manufacturing nation and its lack of compulsory requirement for
hallmarking has contributed to an EU-wide problem of under-carating and
The Italians, who currently hold the EU presidency, insisted on
scrapping independent assay and hallmarking on the grounds that a non-harmonised
system in Europe distorts the market. This would have introduced an
inferior system of hallmarking, thereby forcing the UK to relax and even
abandon its own system.
Thanks to Conservative action, this threat has now been removed.