Welcome to the British Jewellers Association (BJA). This site was once home to an organisation that represented over 1,000 companies involved in the jewellery industry, such as manufacturers, bullion suppliers, casting houses, diamond and gem dealers, designer jewellers, silversmiths, wholesalers, galleries, internet retailers and traders. In its current form, the BJA website offers free advice and guidance on selling jewellery in the UK.
We cover different aspects of the jewellery industry but specifically focuses on legal matters. This covers everything from health and safety in workshops and hallmarking law to staying safe in jewellery shops and keeping your assets secure.
On our site, you can find scores of guides on the law on selling jewellery in the UK. You can also find tips and advice on staying safe and avoiding accidents at work. Keep reading to see what else we have to offer you.
And if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact us.
About The BJA Site
This website was once the home of the British Jewellers Association. That organisation was devoted to representing the interests of various organisations and individuals who worked in the industry.
While this site is no longer used for those purposes, it is still devoted to providing people in the jewellery business in the UK with reliable advice and support.
Our focus is on the legal side in particular, helping you with health and safety in workshops and commercial shops, hallmarking law, knowing what you can or cannot sell, and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the law on selling jewellery in the UK.
The Law On Selling Jewellery In The UK
The law on selling jewellery in the UK is predominantly governed by the Hallmarking Act 1973. It sets out a means to guarantee the purity of precious metals, thereby ensuring consumers get what they pay for and reducing the number of fake items on the market.
The Act covers all types of metals, such as gold, silver, palladium and platinum. In short, it is illegal in the UK to sell a product made of precious metal over a certain weight without it bearing a stamp of quality, known as a hallmark.
With so much money involved in the industry, heavy regulation is necessary.
Gold, for example, is one type of metal that is involved in fraud. In 2019, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute reported that around 150,000 items of fake gold jewellery may be listed for sale in the UK each year, a staggering sum.
To counter this, gold is put through a rigorous testing process. It all helps ensure the market remains stable and that customers get what they pay for.
It’s also recommended that consumers only buy through reputable sources that are fully compliant with the Hallmarking Act.
Let’s take a look at how that Act works.
What Is Hallmarking Law?
As we’ve noted above, the purpose of having a stamp of quality in the form of a hallmark gives consumers confidence in the market and products. The hallmark is a badge to verify authenticity, to confirm that the product has been tested independently and conforms to all legal standards of purity and fineness.
By law, a product must receive a hallmark that consists of 3 compulsory marks:
- An Assay Office Mark – this is to certify where the item was tested. There are four Assay Offices in the UK.
- A Maker’s Or Sponsor’s Mark – this is the name or logo of the company (such as a manufacturer, retailer or importer) that sends the item to be hallmarked.
- A Fineness Mark – this confirms the precious metal content in the item. The figure is recorded in parts per thousand. The shape that surrounds the number indicates the metal type.
Having this law in place is vital, especially in a digital age with thriving online marketplaces. The presence of a hallmark imbues consumers with confidence; they can make purchases online, regardless of their location, and trust that they’ll receive what they pay for.
What Jewellery Can You Legally Sell?
There is a wide range of jewellery that can be legally bought and sold. However, four types are covered by UK law in particular. However, it does depend on how heavy those precious metals are. Let’s take a look:
- Gold must weigh over 1 gram
- Platinum must weigh over 0.5 gram
- Silver must weigh over 7.78 grams
- And Palladium must weigh over 1 gram
Any item containing a precious metal over and above the weights listed here requires a hallmark. A failure to include a hallmark is an offence, whether it be online or in a brick-and-mortar shop.
It’s possible to sell other types of jewellery beyond the precious metals listed above, such as nickel. However, it’s important to do your research on what you use as they may fall under other pieces of legislation.
Lead and nickel, for instance, are covered by REACH, which you can read about on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) site here.
It’s also important to check to see if you need to obtain a license from your local council to trade in your area.
Health And Safety In The Jewellery Industry
Just like with any area, the jewellery industry also has its health and safety considerations. They mainly apply to jewellery workshops where tools are in use. But they also apply to shops and ensure that staff and customers are free of the risk of injury.
The jeweller’s workshop does carry more risk, however. One of the most important things staff can have is personal protective equipment (PPE). This may come in the form of safety goggles and a face mask. They may also need to be supplied with gloves and uniforms; inappropriate clothing in a workshop can pose risks, especially long sleeves.
It’s also important that workshop areas are well-lit and equipped with extraction units to remove dust particles from the air.
As for health and safety in shops, it’s important that employers comply with the regulations set out in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This includes conducting regular risk assessments, which may identify security risks, potentially creating a risk of serious injury from robberies.
Commercial stores also need to be mindful of the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 to ensure that anyone visiting the shop isn’t faced with the likes of trip hazards, spillages, or any potential risk of injury.
Learn More With Our BJA Guides
Our website is packed with more guides about the law on selling jewellery in the UK. You can browse some of them below. We’ve also included some reliable resources from other websites: