MEMBERS AREA

This area is reserved to Members and Observers of the HMC only

Last update: 21/11/2012

QUESTIONS AND aNSWERS

What are the main benefits for a country to be part of the Hallmarking Convention?

A : The Convention facilitates trade in precious metals while ensuring a high level of consumer protection. Articles marked with the Convention Common Control Mark (CCM) – together with the national Assay Office Mark, the responsibility mark (i.e. the manufacturer or sponsor) and the fineness mark indicating its purity – do not have to be re-hallmarked in the importing Contracting States. The national Assay Office mark certifies that the precious metals article is to the legal fineness and assures the consumer that he / she has not been cheated! For the list of main benefits deriving from membership in the Convention, click here.

Can a manufacturer apply the Convention Common Control Mark (CCM)?

A : No, only an Assay Office authorised under Article 5 of the Convention can apply the CCM. The Convention is entirely based on the principle of “independent third-party control”, i.e. that of an authorised Assay Office. Only the responsibility and fineness marks can be applied by the manufacturer on his goods.

What are the main requirements in order to join the Hallmarking Convention?

A : The Convention is open to any State being a member of the United Nations (or of any of the specialized agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency or a Party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice) and having arrangements for the assay and marking of articles of precious metals necessary to comply with the requirements of the Convention and its Annexes. This implies notably a law on precious metals and a control system (either voluntary or compulsory) on precious metals articles by an independent third party (usually an Assay Office). Independent does not mean that the entity must be either “public” or “private” (this is irrelevant!) but that it is not controlled or owned by trade.

Is the Convention open to non-Members, trade and professional organisations?

A: To prevent conflict of interests with those it supervises, the Convention does not allow the involvement of trade and professional organisations. Non-Members (e.g. Assay Offices of States which are not parties to the Convention) may attend four meetings of the Standing Committee as “guests”.

I want to export to a Convention State: what do I have to do?

A: With regard to control and marking of articles of precious metals, the best is to contact the authorised Assay Office(s) of the Convention State where you want to export. If you do export to several Convention States, you may wish to compare the services offered by the various Assay Offices. For the list of authorised Assay Offices, click here.

I want to export to European Union's Member States. How shall I proceed?

A: The Convention is not an EU institution and thus cannot advise. You may wish to contact importers or consultancy firms in any of the EU Member States.

I have a technical question on the Convention’s requirements. Whom should I contact?

A: There are two answers to that Question: if you export from a Contracting State of the Hallmarking Convention, you should contact the Assay Office nearest to you. If you export from a non-Contracting State, it may be more fruitful to contact the Assay Office of the importing Convention Contracting State.

Are all CCM articles, irrespective of their standards of fineness, accepted in Contracting States?

A: To be accepted, a precious metals article, marked with the CCM to one of the Convention standards of finenesses, must also be a legal standard of fineness in the importing country.  According to a survey, 5 CCM finenesses are legal standards of fineness in all Contracting States: Pt 950, Au 750, Au 585, Ag 925 and Ag 800. For the survey, click here.

Are there weight exemptions under the Convention?

A: No, there are no weight exemptions.  However, 14 out of 19 Contracting States have weight exemptions, which vary from country to country and which also change from time to time.  To be on the safe side, it is recommended that all precious metals articles be marked with the CCM.  For more information on weight exemptions in Contracting States, see the respective survey on http://www.hallmarkingconvention.org/documents.php.

Can multimetal articles be marked with the CCM under the Convention? Are they accepted everywhere?

A: Multimetal articles marked with the CCM are not accepted in all 19 Contracting States.  They are defined by law in 14 Contracting States while in 5 Contracting States (Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal) multimetal articles are not legally defined. Ireland and Portugal do not allow such articles, even with the CCM, to be put on their markets while Latvia and Lithuania authorised such articles on their markets, provided that they are labelled. For the survey on the acceptance of multimetal articles in Contracting States, click here. To be marked with the CCM, multimetal articles must strictly comply with the following definition and conditions:
“A multimetal article is an article composed of:

  1. 1)      a precious metal of a legal fineness
    a)      having a thickness of not less than 500 micrometers
    b)      a surface sufficiently large to allow the application of a 0.5mm hallmark
  2. and
  3. 2)      non-precious metals, which are:
    a)      visible
    b)      distinguishable by colour (i.e. neither coated nor treated to give the appearance of a precious metal)
    c)      not used for technical reasons (i.e. not used for a mechanical function for which precious metals are unsuitable either for strength or durability)
    d)      marked <METAL> (or equivalent) in line with the Convention’s requirements (Annex I to the Convention).”