Hallmark Determination

A Horse is a Horse - of Course - Not!

Hallmarks and the Craft

Elkan &  Eve were discussing a  hallmark determination in relation to a gold hallmark question at the Hallmark Forum and a horse-head hallmark at Help Central, and when a horse head is not a horse head. The conversation went like this....

A Photo Says a Thousand Words in a Hallmark Determination

When it comes to antique jewelry hallmarks, I'm pretty sure that we can show you at least 40 different horse heads. What direction does the head point to? Left? Right? Straight forward? Does it have a neck? Does it have flyaway hair?

Is its mouth open or closed? Is its eye or eyes open or closed, or one closed eye and one open? How are its nostrils, open or closed? Could it be a unicorn but badly struck, so you don't see the horn? Perhaps it's a donkey and not a horse?

Is the mark in a cartouche or not? If it is in a cartouche what is the shape? Is there a number with it or a letter? Is that number in the cartouche our outside of it? What position is it, above or under? Is it a normal number or Roman? Is it a stamped hallmark or could it be an engraving? Is it a Hallmark of Great Britain? What proof do I have the customer is not mistaken in declaring it is stamped? Etc. Etc. Etc.

A horse is a horse is a horse of course ..... NOT :-) A picture tells a thousand words. Pictures from several positions of the piece give  an indication of what period and what area and direction to think about in the determination of the hallmarks.

It is the expert's duty to keep in charge of the way of working, and if not, there is no quality.

Elkan Wijnberg,


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