Digital hallmarks will be introduced to online jewellery retailers over the coming weeks to reassure consumers that they are buying legitimate goods.
The Edinburgh Assay Office, which is just one of four offices in the UK allowed to hand out hallmarks, will be in charge of rolling out digital ones to online jewellers.
It has been testing and hallmarking precious metals for 550 years, proving they are experts in the field.
Following the announcement yesterday (June 12th), several online jewellery retailers have signed up for a digital hallmark, while others are sure to follow suit.
Any jewellery retailer can apply for a hallmark, which has the aim of reassuring consumers they are buying genuine white gold bracelets, necklaces or rings.
Edinburgh’s Assay Office master and chief executive Scott Walter said: “Today online shoppers have no way of checking whether a piece of jewellery is hallmarked or not.
“The new scheme, called Assay Assured, is a digital solution to an ancient problem and we believe it will provide the protection consumers need online.”
Online jewellery outlets that apply for a digital hallmark will be audited and awarded a certificate for their website.
Any disputes between retailers and customers will then be settled by an independent arbitrary service.
The reason behind the new digital hallmark for online jewellery is the growing problem of fake precious metals being sold over the internet.
All gold, silver and platinum in the UK must be hallmarked by one of the four offices in the UK to prove it is genuine.
The other offices are based in London, Sheffield and Birmingham.
Consumers can also check to see if the jewellery being sold by a discount jewellery website is genuine by checking it is part of the British Jewellers’ Association.
Websites will also state that all their jewellery meets British hallmark laws, while all watches should come with a manufacturers warranty and box proving they are genuine.