• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Jewel in the crown: Glasgow hallmark returns, 50 years on

A SCOTTISH jeweller is reviving the Glasgow hallmark almost 50 years after it was last struck.

striking: Eric N Smith with his new design of the Glasgow hallmark, left, which was last struck almost 50 years ago. Pictures: Alan Peebles
striking: Eric N Smith with his new design of the Glasgow hallmark, left, which was last struck almost 50 years ago. Pictures: Alan Peebles

Eric Smith, who has run his Eric N Smith business in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, for more than 35 years, has spent several months negotiating with the body that handles hallmark matters, the Assay Office.

The previous Glasgow mark was based on the city's coat of arms and was a combined tree, bird, bell and fish.

It was last struck in July 1963 but was withdrawn the following year when the Glasgow Assay Office closed its doors and hallmarking activities for Scotland passed to Edinburgh.

As required by the joint Assay Offices committee, the revived hallmark has to be a different design from its predecessor.

The new mark measures between three and five millimetres and features part of Glasgow's coat of arms.

It is struck beside the date, the maker's mark and the rampant lion symbol representing Scotland.

All Mr Smith's precious metal designs – made at his workshop in Newton Mearns – can now incorporate the mark.

Mr Smith said a number of platinum rings currently with the Edinburgh Assay Office are being struck with the hallmark.

He said: "The Glasgow mark disappeared as there were not enough people using it.

"It has taken some time but I have managed to persuade the joint Assay Office committee to accept the new design and I now have permission to strike this on anything I make.

"In hallmarking, each design or mark has to be different from the next one. By introducing a new mark you have to have a new design.

"After 50 years it is nice to see a Glasgow mark back in circulation again."

Mr Smith hopes the mark will become as famous as other well- known Scottish products such as Harris Tweed.

He said: "It is nice to be able to say it is made in Glasgow and the design of the piece can be traced back to my workshop.

"It is a good working tool for sales. It is a bit like Harris Tweed in that everyone knows that is made on Harris.

"If we can get the Glasgow mark into a stronger position then people will perhaps look out for it or request it."

Scott Walter, assay master and chief executive of the Edinburgh Assay Office, said Eric N Smith Limited has been given "express permission" to apply the new hallmark to its bespoke jewellery.

However, other jewellers manufacturing in Glasgow may also apply to the Assay Office to use the mark.

Mr Smith, a former warden of the Edinburgh Assay Office and a Glasgow School of Art graduate, added: "The Assay Office system is very strict about how a mark is used but it could well be in the fullness of time other jewellers can apply and use the Glasgow mark.

"It has to be a bona fide manufacturer that gets permission to use the mark."

Contextual targeting label: 
Business

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

139029