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The legal regulations you should know before buying jewellery in the UK

The legal regulations you should know before buying jewellery in the UK

"When buying jewellery, many customers arent very well informed on the rules and regulations of the market."
Angelic Diamonds

When buying jewellery, many customers aren’t very well informed on the rules and regulations of the market. For instance, did you know that hallmarking can guarantee the purity of the diamond and independent certification means that it has been assessed by an unbiased professional.  Here, we’ll go over the key things that you need to know before buying jewellery in the UK.

1.     Hallmarking Regulations

Many people do not know what a hallmark is. A hallmark is a government seal that is stamped on a metal object to display its purity. Only an official UK government assay office can apply a hallmark and there are only four locations in the UK that carry this out. It’s important to note that only official assaying can guarantee standards, and this is something you can ask about when you buy jewellery. It was established 700 years ago to avoid the fraudulent selling of precious metals. In Britain, if a jeweller claims that a piece has gold, silver, platinum or palladium in it, it must be hallmarked. This is according to the Hallmarking Act 1973.

There’s also a few key differences between yellow and while golds. These must be further classified into 9K, 14K, 18K and 22K standards. It’s also essential for silver, platinum and palladium rings to satisfy a certain percentage of purity to meet UK hallmarking standards. It is a legal offence to claim that jewellery is made with a precious metal if it’s not hallmarked in this way, bear this in mind when you’re purchasing from an untrusted source. However, there are some exemptions from precious metals objects, and these are those that weigh under a certain number of grams:

·        1 gram for gold

·        0.5 gram for platinum & palladium

·        7.78 grams for silver

This means that if you buy jewellery with a lower metal content than this, you shouldn’t expect to see a hallmark.

2.     Are certificates provided?

You’ll receive a diamond certification when you buy a piece of jewellery that has a precious gem in it. Always check that you receive a lab report or certificate to ensure that what you’re buying is legitimate. This certificate will describe important elements of the diamond such as the 4cs - colour, clarity, carat and cut. This is achieved by professionals evaluating and measuring the gem using industry tools such as a loupe or microscope. It’s important to note that only qualified individuals can carry this out.

It can be expensive to get certified, but retailers usually factor this in to the overall price. If you decide you want to buy a diamond but find it Is not certified yet, don’t panic. It might be the case that the diamond is newly cut and therefore hasn’t had time to be certified yet. But it is important to be wary in case the seller is concerned that a certification might reveal some defects to the diamond that would make it less attractive.

Some jewellers may claim that they don’t need independent certification for their pieces. Perhaps they say that they guarantee that all of their diamonds are high-quality. This is one claim that you shouldn’t trust – always ensure that your diamonds have been third-party certified.

You should also consider the lab where the diamond received its certification. Many diamond retailers use WGI (World Gemological Institute), IGL (International Gemological Laboratories), IGR (International Gemological Reports) and GIA (Gemological Institute of America). It’s worth noting that GIA labs are recognized to be the most prestigious and respected independent laboratories in the world and these labs set the standard when it comes to grading. For this reason, you might find that diamonds graded in these labs are sold at a higher price.

3.     Metal content

The metal content of the jewellery is also regulated in the UK. You shouldn’t experience any problems with this, but it’s worth bearing in mind before making a purchase. Lead can cause problems when it is overly present in jewellery. This is why jewellery should not be supplied and lead should not be used in any part of jewellery pieces if the concentration is equal to or greater than 0.05% by weight. This can cause irritation which may lead to a reaction in some individuals.

The karat is used to measure the purity and quality of gold in jewellery. The purest of gold is 24 karat and this figure decreases as it is mixed with other metals, these may be silver or copper for example. The purity of this metal gives it the bright yellow appearance. Although pure, it is not very wearable as pure gold is very soft and can change shape easily if it is not mixed with other metals.

Make sure that you take some time to read up on jewellery laws before making your next purchase. Whether you’re buying wedding rings or earrings, it’s useful to know exactly what you’re looking for before making a decision.