NEW REGULATION INTENDED TO RAISE GOLD-WARE STANDARD
Consul Albert Halstead reports that the following new regulation has been issued by the assay masters of the Birmingham assay office, after a conference with the other assay offices of the United Kingdom:
Gold wares of the two lower standards, viz, 9 carats and 12 carats, needing solder in the making, shall as a whole, as well as in every part thereof, assay at not less than the standard declared by the sender.
The consul comments:
Under the assay act, regulations made by the assay masters are effective without reference to any government department. This new regulation applies to all British assay offices and all gold ware manufactured or sold in the United Kingdom. It is intended to stop the practice of using silver solder in the manufacture of gold ware of the two lower standards; that is, of 9 and 12 carats, respectively. This practice is of comparatively recent date, and it is said was due to the fact that in Australia there was no requirement for any particular standard for gold or silver ware. In order to compete with the ware of Australia, or foreign makes sold there, manufacturers found it necessary to load their gold ware of 9 and 12 carats excessively with silver solder.
As the Australian customs law requires that gold ware marked as 9 carats must at least assay 8¾ carats and that marked at 12 carats must at least assay at 11¾ carats, it has become necessary to raise the standard of these lower grades of gold ware. It is also thought that the name of British gold ware must be protected from the charge of being below the standard which it is marked.
As to gold ware of 15, 18, and 22 carats, respectively, there has been no question of using other than gold solder, and, as I understand, existing regulations have require that assays of the higher grades must come up to these standards in order to secure the hall-mark or be salable in the United Kingdom. Hall-marked silverware has always been up to the standard of .9255 fine. It is expected that the new regulation will cause British gold ware, of these two standards, to be preferred to the same standards of foreign or colonial make, thus increasing the demand for it.
Source: Monthly Consular and Trade Reports - October 1909