2013 - The Advance of New Technologies in Hallmarking

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2013 - The Advance of New Technologies in Hallmarking

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An increasing number of countries in the world require articles of jewelry and silverware to be hallmarked. While hallmarking is associated with trade and consumer protection, it also provides benefits for marketing and detection of fakes. This paper shows how modern hallmarking practice and the service provided by assay offices have been transformed by the advent of new technologies. The Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office is where hallmarking began, and it has been guaranteeing the precious metal content of gold and silver (and more recently, platinum and palladium) alloys for 700 years. While some methods used for assaying and marking have remained unchanged throughout this period, the Assay Office has embraced the latest technological advances. Much of the progress has relied on harnessing the power of information technology, and an overview of the impact of this is presented. Details are given on the Assay Office's latest project, which is the production of hallmarking punches using a combination of 3D design software, 3D engraving with a state-of-the-art laser, and visualization of the final product using an advanced optical microscope. The huge impact on customer service resulting from the flexibility offered by X-ray fluorescence technology for assaying is also considered.

Author(s): Dr. Robert M. Organ

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