Hallmarking figures bleak as silver drops 44%

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Figures show annual drop of 722,911 units from 1,735,297 in Oct 2010.

October’s hallmarking figures show a steep decline in the number of items being hallmarked – worrying news as jewellery retailers move into the year’s busiest selling period.

Overall figures for October exhibited a year-on-year decline of 722,911 items. A total 1,012,386 units were sent for assay in October. Of those, the majority of items – 538,727– were silver.

With a view to 18ct gold, 80,446 items were hallmarked, while 9ct gold showed a decline of 228,183 items assayed last month, with 330,175 units marked. 14ct gold showed the highest decline, with figures falling 80.2% from 37,523 items marked in October 2010 to just 7,430 last month.

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Silver of 925 purity dropped 43.9%, with 537,374 items hallmarked, a decline of 420,124 compared to October 2010 figures.

Platinum 850 fell 100% with no items hallmarked last month, while 5 pieces were hallmarked in 2010. Meanwhile, platinum of a 950 standard fell only 14.9%, with 3,365 fewer items hallmarked last month – a total of 19,259 units.

Palladium, which typically exhibits the lowest hallmarking figures in terms of volume, showed the highest increase in figures. Palladium 500 shot up by 4,060%, from 45 pieces assayed in October 2010 to 1,872 items marked last month.

Birmingham Assay office said of the figures: “The continuing high precious metal prices coupled with the squeeze on consumer spending has provided a recipe for a particularly difficult October for the four UK Assay Offices who, between them saw a drop of 41.7% in the total number of units submitted for hallmarking, this represented 722,911 units.”

The facts and figures: UK hallmarking in September 2011 vs September 2010

Gold
22ct gold 916 – down 19.7%
18ct gold 750 – down 26.8%
14ct gold 585 – down 80.2%
9ct gold 375 – down 40.9%

Silver
Britannia silver 958 – down 96.9%
Sterling silver 925 – down 43.9%
800 parts silver – down 100.0%

Platinum
999 parts platinum – down 100.0%
950 parts platinum – down 14.9%
900 parts platinum – down12.5%
850 parts platinum – down 100%

Palladium
999 parts palladium – down 100%
950 parts palladium – down 31.2%
500 parts palladium – up 4,060.0%

 

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