Hallmarking Act (Abstract)

E-mail Print PDF

Introduction
The objectives of the Hallmarking Act are:

  • to protect the consumer against fraud, and
  • to promote honest competition between businesses in the trade of platinum, gold and silver articles.

For this purpose all precious metal articles, with the exception of those articles which are exempt from hallmarking, must be hallmarked, before they are offered for sale, by the WaarborgHolland B.V., known internationally as WaarborgHolland, which has been entrusted with the implementation of this law by the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Standards of fineness (article 1 of the Hallmarking Act)
The standards of fineness of platinum, gold and silver articles that are hallmarked are the following:

  • for platinum: 950 parts per thousand
  • for gold: 916, 833, 750 and 585 parts per thousand
  • for silver: 925, 835 and 800 parts per thousand

No negative tolerance on the finesses is permitted.

Composite articles (section 4 of the Hallmarking Act and article 2 of the Hallmarking Regulations)
Regarding articles that comprise different precious metal components, each of these components will, if possible, be hallmarked separately (article 4.1 of the Hallmarking Act), or all the hallmarks concerned will be placed on one of the precious metal parts.

Articles that consist partly of precious metal components and partly of non-precious metal components will be hallmarked (section 4.2 of the Hallmarking Act and section 2 of the Hallmarking Regulations) if:

  • the total mass of the non-precious metal component is at most 2% of the total mass of the article;
  • in the opinion of WaarborgHolland, the non-precious metal componenet is clearly recognizable as such to the public and/or if the 'metal' mark or a similar indication has been marked on the non-precious metal component;
  • the non-precious metal component is not visible to the public but is, in the opinion of WaarborgHolland, technically indispensable.

Articles with a non-precious metal surface coating will be hallmarked (section 3 of the Hallmarking Regulations) only if:

  • the total mass of the non-precious metal surface coating is at most 2% of the total mass of the article; and
  • the core metal of the article meets with one of the standards of fineness referred to in Section 1 of the Act.

Articles that are filled with materials different from the precious metals referred to in section 1 of the Act will be hallmarked only if, in the opinion of WaarborgHolland, the filling is clearly recognizable to the public (section 4 of the Hallmarking Regulations).

Exemptions (sections 5, 6 and 11 of the Hallmarking Act and section 5 of the Hallmarking Regulations)
In accordance with sections 5 and 6 of the Hallmarking Act and section 5 of the Hallmarking Regulations, the following articles are exempt from hallmarking (assaying and marking):

  • all articles provided with Dutch hallmarks in use since 1814;
  • articles manufactured before 1 January 1814, provided with a hallmark placed by a body or person authorized in the Netherlands to do so;
  • gold articles weighing less than 1 gram;
  • silver articles weighing less than 8 grams;
  • platinum articles weighing less than 0.5 gram;
  • articles intended to be exported, provided they are stored in areas which are not reserved for sales to the public;
  • articles intended for medical, dental or technical purposes;
  • nibs for fountain pens;
  • coins, provided that they are not designed to be used as jewellery;
  • articles belonging to an imported lot to be exported;
  • medals manufactured before 1 March 1988;
  • royal decorations;
  • articles from an extinct civilisation;
  • articles from an EU Member State provided with the official legal hallmarks that have been marked by an independent body notified in the country concerned.

In accordance with section 11 of the Hallmarking Act the following articles are exempt from hallmarking:

  • articles which cannot be marked without the risk of damage;
  • articles of special archaeological or artistic value.

Instead of a hallmark, an "section 11 exemption from marking certificate" relating to the type of precious metal and fineness will be issued. A request for such a certificate must be submitted to WaarborgHolland.

Hallmarks
For images of the hallmarks, visit the site.

Responsibility Marks (maker's marks and import marks)
If a precious metal article is offered for sale on the Dutch market, this article must be marked with not only a hallmark which is valid in the Netherlands, but also with a responsibility mark registered at WaarborgHolland. In accordance with articles 12 and 47 of the Hallmarking Act this must be a mark from the responsible maker or importer. The Act also provides to foreign entrepreneurs the option to register at WaarborgHolland a mark that is already registered outside the Netherlands. The forms for the application for and/or registration of a responsibility mark are available from WaarborgHolland.

Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are natural persons or legal entities that, within the framework of a profession or company, offer precious metal articles for sale or mediate in such sales.

Precepts and prohibition articles
Section 30: It is prohibited in the Netherlands to sell, or have in store for sale, precious metal articles that do not carry the required marks, with the exception of those articles that are exempt from hallmarking in accordance with sections 5, 6 and 11 of the Hallmarking Act and section 5 of the Hallmarking Regulations. Articles intended for personal use by the entrepreneur and his/her family are not considered to be such exceptions.

Section 31: It is not permitted to offer articles with a standard of fineness which is lower than the lowest legal standard of fineness for sale as platinum, gold or silver.

Section 35: It is prohibited to bring non-precious metal articles resembling precious metal articles to the public's attention at the same time as actual precious metal articles, unless the two are clearly differentiated.

Section 36: It is prohibited in all types of advertising to offer for sale non-precious metal articles using the words platinum, gold, silver or precious metal in such a way that the impression is given that precious metal articles are involved. Further information is available at WaarborgHolland.

Section 37: In the sales area open to the public a "set of hallmark images" must be clearly displayed.