You are probably wondering why all the question marks?
All four Assay Offices in the UK have a legislative remit to control standards of precious metal being sold in the UK. They do this by assaying (testing) the precious metal content, then applying the hallmark. It’s a legal requirement for silver over 7.78g, gold and palladium over 1g, and platinum over 0.5g to have a UK recognised hallmark.
The UK Hallmarking Act (1973) states that it is an offence for any person, in the course of trade or business, to describe an un-hallmarked article as being wholly or partly made of precious metal(s) or to supply un-hallmarked articles to which such a description is applied.
Dealers are required to display on their premises the statutory notice which describes the approved hallmarks. It is an offence for any dealer to fail to exhibit or keep exhibited the notice. 'Dealer' means a person engaged in the business of making, supplying, selling (including selling by auction) or exchanging articles of precious metal or in other dealings in such articles.
Many items are being sold over the minimum weights with no hallmarks, this is detrimental to honest makers and sellers, to the Assay Office and worst of all to the customer who has no guarentee of what they are buying, many items are known to be thinly plated base metals being passed off as solid precious metals, this is rife on the internet with goods from China being a major cause for concern. If you are buying precious metals always ask about the weight and its relevant hallmark.
A hallmark consists of at least 4 marks, 925 on its own means nothing!
Simply, it's the law.