What are Silver Jewelry Marks?
Silver jewelry marks are the hallmarks found on silver jewelry to help identify the composition and source of the jewelry. At a minimum they include the purity marks that indicate the silver content, and can also include the maker’s mark (or signature). Silver jewelry marks can also include the region or town where the piece was made and/or dateletters to indicate the year when the piece was made.
American Silver Jewelry Marks
American silver jewelry marks are fairly simple, usually including a purity mark, and sometimes a maker’s mark. Because Sterling Silver is 92.5% silver, the common purity mark used today is “925.” Most vintage Sterling Silver pieces have the older marks: “STERLING,” “STER,” or “STG.” Some modern jewelry today will use “STERLING” either with “925” or without it, usually in conjunction with the maker’s mark.
For examples of American silver jewelry marks, see the first article in this series, Vintage Jewelry Marks: Help for Dating Your Vintage Jewelry
Resource: The 925-1000.com site has a very extensive database of silver marks from all over the world. For American silver marks visit this page:
American Silver Marks on www.925-1000.com.
To look up a maker’s mark, use the Alphabetical Listing by Maker’s Name by clicking a letter. You can also use the Pictorial Marks to locate symbols and the Initial Marks to identify initials used by a company when you don’t know the company name. Note that the database includes marks used on flatware and other silver items, so you may need to search a bit to locate the company you want.
Mexican Silver Jewelry Marks
Mexican silver jewelry marks usually include the “925” purity mark, and sometimes include “STERLING” as well. In addition, the jewelry will often be stamped “MEXICO” or “HECHO EN MEXICO” (MADE IN MEXICO). Older pieces may be simply signed “MEXICO SILVER.” Pieces stamped D.F. (for Distrito Federal) come from Mexico City.
Pieces from the Taxco region are often stamped “TAXCO” or sometimes simply with the letter “T” at the beginning of the signature. The second letter of the signature represents the initial of the last name of the artisan, and the number following is the sequential number assigned to that artisan. So “TB-188” indicates a Taxco artisan whose last name begins with the letter “B” who happens to be the 188th artisan who registered with the letter “B.”
Resources for Mexican Silver Marks
925-1000: Here is the section of 925-1000.com for Mexican Silver Marks: Mexican Silver Marks on www.925-1000.com
Lang Antiques’ Antique Jewelry University: Here is their list of Mexican Jewelry Maker’s Marks: Mexican Jewelry Maker’s Marks on Antique Jewelry University
British Silver Jewelry Marks
British silver jewelry marks are the most complex, as they include various letters and symbols. British hallmarks have been used for over 500 years and have changed over time. Hallmarks include a Standard or Purity Mark, a City or Town Mark, a Date Letter, a Duty Mark, and a Maker’s Mark. Not all pieces will have all of these marks.
The Standard (Purity) Mark is usually a symbol, that varies, depending on the region. The photo below shows examples of these symbols, as well as the most common Town Marks.
The Date Letters are especially tricky, as the various towns used different lettering schemes to represent the years. After a complete set of letters was used, a new set began a different font. Luckily, you can find many photos and charts online that help decipher the dates. Just make sure you are using the chart for the town where your piece was made. There are now even phone apps for hallmarks. Just search for “British Hallmarks” on either your computer or phone app.
Resources for British Silver Marks
925-1000 British Hallmarks: This page explains the hallmarks with photos of the most common marks. View it at: British Hallmarks
Silver Hallmarks: A U.K. site with an “English Silver Hallmarks” page that shows and explains the British marks. View it at: English Silver Hallmarks
Antique Silver: This U.K. site has several helpful pages, like this one with charts of Town Date Marks. See it here: Antique Silver Town and Date Marks
Scandinavian Silver Jewelry Marks
Scandinavian silver jewelry marks vary with the country. Swedish silver marks are similar to British silver marks, as they also have Town Marks and Dateletter Marks. Sweden uses one Dateletter chart, which makes things a bit easier. Norwegian and Danish silver marks usually include a Purity Mark and a Maker’s Mark. The examples shown in the photo below are from David Andersen in Norway, and Meka in Denmark.
Resources for Scandinavian Silver Marks
925-1000 Swedish Hallmarks Page: This page has a chart with the Swedish Date Code Marks. View it here: Date Code Marks on Swedish Silver
925-1000 Danish Hallmarks Page: This page includes links to a Danish Hallmarks Overview, Danish Assay Marks, and Danish Makers’ Marks. See it at: Danish Hallmarks
925-1000 Norwegian Makers’ Marks Page: This section includes four pages of photos for many Norwegian Hallmarks. See it at: Norwegian Silver Makers’ Marks
925-1000 David Andersen Marks Page: This page shows the various marks used by the David Andersen company, established in Norway in 1876, and still producing jewelry today. See it at: David Andersen Hallmarks
Silver Jewelry Marks Used in Other Countries
It’s not possible to cover every country in a single article, but there are some good online resources to research silver jewelry marks in various countries.
925-1000 Guide to World Hallmarks: This page includes photos of typical hallmarks used in various countries. View it here at: Guide to World Hallmarks. In addition, their overview page has links to various international hallmark pages, including Austrian, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Russian, and more. View it here at: 925-1000.com Overview Page
Modern Silver Magazine: This site has a helpful article written by Christie Romero in 1998 with information about French and European hallmarks, as well as hallmarks from other countries. Read it here at: Basic Hallmark Identification
Please visit the My Classic Jewelry Resources page for a list of other helpful vintage jewelry sites. View it here: My Classic Jewelry Vintage Jewelry Resources. In addition, check out my list of recommended vintage jewelry books books at: My Classic Jewelry Recommended Reading
Here are a few hand-picked vintage silver jewelry books on Amazon:
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Thank you, Christine 🙂