The hallmark for palladium – a precious metal many Birmingham jewellery firms are experimenting with– will become compulsory from January 1.
Palladium, which is a white, tarnish-resistant and less dense member of the platinum group, has now been officially recognised as a precious metal for fine jewellery with the introduction of the compulsory UK hallmark for all articles weighing more than one gram.
Up until now, the metal has only had a voluntary legally-recognised UK hallmark since July 2009.
Over 40,000 pieces have been voluntarily hallmarked in the last six months, demonstrating the potential popularity of the newly-recognised precious metal.
At a time when the white metal look is very popular and gold prices are at a record high, palladium is opening up opportunities for Jewellery Quarter firms to create inexpensive but innovative pieces.
Palladium, along with gold, silver and platinum, can now only be sold in the UK with a statutory hallmark, applied by one of the four independent UK Assay Offices to ensure objects containing the precious metal content meets a recognised standard.
Articles can be marked as containing a minimum of either 500, 950 or 999 parts per thousand of palladium.
Palladium was introduced to the jewellery market back in the 1930s although it never really caught on. But the advent of a hallmark has meant the precious metal is now gaining significant attention.