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W 15 D Hallmark
by: Paul

Thanks for your response Yvonne it was much appreciated.

I did also think the D meant it was made in 1926 but could not figure the "W" out as the TOP Brooch has the marking of a Unicorn 15 then W which is the marking of Willis & Co from Melbourne

Do you think the W on the other two brooches could be the marking of Willis & Co as well?

The only reason I did not think this would be the case is because I have only seen examples of their jewellery with the Unicorn at the front and the "W" at the back. I suppose they could have changed their markings........

I guess the Mystery will remain! If anyone else can shed some light onto this please respond and let me know what you know :)

Australian Hallmarks
by: Yvonne

Hi Paul thanks for the images of your Australian brooch collection. The history of Australian hallmarking is as complex as it is interesting. Apart from documented pieces most items of Australian jewellery are unmarked as to their maker and often show only the quality mark of their silver or gold content.

The two brooches you mention, 15 will be the gold content. Other markings provide clues that are not always easy to follow and in-many cases even to decipher. They may include hallmarks as found on British gold and silver, pseudo-hallmarks, initials a single surname with or without initials, a business name, or a variety os symbols including registration numbers and trade marks.

The retail jewelers association of NSW Australia (established in 1907) registered a company called the Sydney Hall Mark Company for the purposes of having gold and silver goods tested by an independent assayer before distribution.

At a conference at Brisbane in 1918 a resolution was adopted accepting the Sydney Hall Mark Company as a basis of a scheme for hallmarking Australian goods made of precious metals. The symbols or emblems adopted were the kookaburra for gold and the blue wren for silver.

The fineness of each metal was to be distinguished by additional numerals. The kookaburra and the wren were to be struck in oblong punches and it was proposed that a punch with the right hand corner clipped be used for Victoria, a punch with a left hand bottom corner clipped used for South Australia. In addition a date letter ('A" for 1923 with consecutive lettering for successive years) and the Maker's name expressed by initials or if a short surname, in full, would be used. This could suggest that the letter "D" might in fact be a date letter for the year 1926.

The kookaburra was officially registered as a trade mark by Sydney Hall-Mark Company in 1921 and the wren in 1922. The mark of the wren was renewed in 1936 and removed from the register in 1964.

Looking at some of the Australian Jewelers of the 19th and early 20th century, such as Willis & Sons Pty. Ltd. the quality marks had the the numbers 9, 15, 18 between the manufactures member stamp and the letter W - the numbers signifying the gold content. The letters on either side of the gold content could be initials of the manufacturer or the member's special marks.

Warm Regards
Yvonne Hammouda-Eyre

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