When a silver piece is sold commercially, it will often be stamped with one or more silver hallmarks indicating the purity of the silver, the mark of the manufacturer or silversmith, and other markings, that are optional, to indicate date of manufacture and additional information about the piece.

  • Purity Marks: These marks indicate the content of pure silver in the alloy, usually expressed in parts per thousand. A mark of “925” means that the item is made of 92.5% pure silver.¹
  • Maker’s Marks: This mark identifies the silversmith or company that manufactured the silver item. It is usually a unique symbol, initials, or the full name of the maker.
  • Assay Marks: Assay marks are a guarantee of the silver’s purity, verified by independent testing at assay offices. The United States does not have assay offices. The Federal Trade Commission regulates how silver is
  • Date: Found often in British silver, date letters are a form of hallmarking that indicate the year the piece was assayed and marked.
  • Town Marks: These marks indicate the city or town where the silver item was assayed.
  • Duty Marks: These were marks historically applied to silver items to indicate that a duty or tax had been paid on the silver.

While the U.S. did not adopt assay marks, city marks, or date marks like some other countries, American manufacturers have applied maker’s marks, similar to how logos are used today. Here’s what you should know about silver markings and hallmarks:

Using Silver Markings to Assess Value and Authenticity

Silver markings can be instrumental in assessing the value and authenticity of silver items. These hallmarks, often stamped on a discrete area of the piece, can reveal the silver’s purity, origin, and sometimes the age of the item.

  • Determining Value: The purity marks will let you know if you are dealing with something made of Sterling Silver, which is synonymous with high quality silver, or something with a lower silver content, whether Coin Silver or an 800 fineness
  • Identifying Authenticity: Maker’s marks, often unique to specific craftsmen or manufacturing houses, can add to the item’s value, especially if it’s from a renowned maker. The presence of assay marks, typically from a recognized official body, further guarantees the silver’s purity, ensuring its authenticity.

Because the United States does not require compulsory hallmarking, if the silver jewelry or silverware you have was manufactured in the U.S., you should look for a purity mark instead.

Understanding Silver Purity Marks

The most common purity mark is for Sterling Silver. Here in the United States, anything that is 925/1000 parts silver is Sterling, while in some countries, different standards are used, like “800” or “950.” These purity marks ensure that you know exactly the quality of silver you possess.

Silver Purity Marks Chart

Silver is a soft metal and is often mixed with a metal alloy to make it more durable.² Below is a chart demonstrating the pure silver content based on its mark:

Purity Mark Silver Content Common Name Description
800 80% 800 Silver Contains 800 parts silver out of 1000; commonly used in Europe
925 92.5% Sterling Silver Standard for silver in many countries, notably the US and UK
950 95% Britannia Silver Higher grade of sterling silver, often found in British silver
999 99.9% Fine Silver Nearly pure silver, more malleable and used for bullion coins

Source: Wikipedia2

  • Sterling Silver: As noted previously, Sterling Silver has a fineness of 925, or 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other alloys.²
  • Brittania Silver: This silver has a fineness of 958, meaning it is 95.8% pure silver. It is mixed with copper or other metals.²
  • Coin Silver: This silver gets its name from the fact that it was made by melting down other silver coins. Coin silver has a fineness of 900, and it is regulated by the FTC in this country.³
  • EPNS and EPBM: These marks stand for “Electroplated Nickel Silver” and “Electroplated Britannia Metal.” While they indicate items plated with a thin layer of silver, the base material is not silver but nickel silver or Britannia metal.
  • Silverplate Marks: Items marked as “silverplate” have a thin coating of silver over another base metal, often copper or brass. The thickness of the silver layer in silverplate items is not standardized and can vary widely.
  • Other Standards: Other standards include 999, which is fine silver (99.9% silver); 935 (or 93.5% silver) was used during the Art Deco era in Germany and Austria, as well as Scandinavian jewelers post-World War II.4

Silver jewelry, silverware, and hollowware manufactured here and abroad might include a number of markings. Here is a list of common silver brands, along with their marks.

Tiffany & Co.

The U.S. company known today as Tiffany & Co. or Tiffany’s began in 1837, but became known for its work with silver in the 1850s, when it adopted the Sterling Silver standard (925) of England. Early markings included “Tiffany & Co.,” along with the initials of the designer, according to the Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers’ Marks.5 Tiffany silver is today marked with “925” or “AG925” to highlight the purity of the silver used.6


Louis-François Cartier took over the jewelry workshop of his master, Adolphe Picard, in 1847, and within a short period, the Cartier name became synonymous with exquisite craftsmanship and elegant design, and the company is known for its jewelry and wristwatches. Cartier silver pieces are marked with a variety of stamps that authenticate their origin and indicate their quality. These marks often include the maker’s mark “Cartier.”7

Georg Jensen

Founded in 1904, this Danish silverware company is known for its high-quality and often artistically innovative designs. Georg Jensen produce jewelry, hollowware, and cutlery patterns. Early designs featured a block letter GJ maker’s mark and later designs were stamped with “Georg Jensen.”

David Yurman

David Yurman Inc. is a renowned American luxury jewelry brand founded in 1980 by David Yurman and his wife, Sybil. The company is known for its distinctive designs that blend artistic inspiration with innovative craftsmanship. The company’s silver products usually feature a “DY” maker’s mark or the name “David Yurman.” It is also stamped with “925” to indicate the purity of the Sterling silver.8

Common Silver-Plated Manufacturers

If you have pieces from the manufacturers listed below, chances are you have something that’s silver-plated. Because of the small amount of pure silver in items that are silver-plated, it is likely to have little value beyond that which is sentimental. Here are marks you should look for from these manufacturers:

Reed & Barton

Established in 1824 in Taunton, Massachusetts, Reed & Barton is known for its fine silverware and silver-plate flatware, and it is one of the oldest silver manufacturers in the United States. Reed & Barton silver products featured date marks.9

Gorham Manufacturing Co.

Gorham was a major American producer of sterling and silverplate. The Rhode Island company’s origins date back to 1831, and it has produced a multitude of silverware patterns. The main product was spoons made of coin silver.10 Their silver products featured date letters and date marks.11

Wallace Silversmiths

Founded in Connecticut in 1833 by Robert Wallace, Wallace Silversmiths is known for its quality sterling and silverplate flatware and hollowware. Wallace produced the first German silver in America.12 Gorham silver products were stamped with date letters and date marks.13

Where to Find Silver Markings on Jewelry or Silverware

When trying to find the silver markings, you can use a magnifying glass, a jeweler’s loupe, or your phone (take a photo and zoom in). Be sure to look for the symbols in a well-lit area.

  • Jewelry Marks: If you have silver pins, pendants, or other large, flat pieces, look on the back. For rings and bracelets, look inside the bands. For necklaces and chains, markings are usually near the clasp.
  • Silverware Marks: Spoons are typically marked on the back near the bowl. Marks on forks are usually near the wide part below the tines. The marks are generally on the collar, or ferrule, of knives.
  • Other Marks: When trying to identify the markings on items like bowls, serving trays, teapots, and candlesticks, you can typically find them on the bottoms.


1. Wikipedia – Silver hallmarks, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_hallmarks. Retrieved Dec. 8, 2023

2. Wikipedia – Silver standards, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_standards. Retrieved Dec. 8, 2023

3. Federal Trade Commission – Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries, https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/trade-regulations-rules-and-industry-guides/guides-jewelry-precious-metals-and. Retrieved Dec. 8, 2023

4. Antiques in Oxford, https://www.antiquesinoxford.co.uk/silver-standards. Retrieved Dec. 8, 2023

5. Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers’ Marks – Tiffany Silver Marks & Dates, https://www.925-1000.com/Tiffany_Date_Code.html. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2023.

6. Tiffany & Co. – Our Story: A Legacy of Sterling Silver, https://press.tiffany.com/our-story/a-legacy-of-sterling-silver. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2023.

7. Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers’ Marks – American Silver Marks – C. https://www.925-1000.com/americansilver_C.html. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2023.

8. Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers’ Marks – American Silver Marks – Y. https://www.925-1000.com/americansilver_Y.html. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2023.

9. Wikipedia – Gorham Manufacturing Company, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorham_Manufacturing_Company. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2023.

10. Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers’ Marks – Gorham Marks & Date Codes, https://www.925-1000.com/Gorham_Date_Code.html. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2023.

11. Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers’ Marks – Reed & Barton Date Code Markers, https://www.925-1000.com/RB_Date_Code.html. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2023.

12. Wikipedia – Gorham Manufacturing Company, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._Wallace_%26_Sons. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2023.

13. Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers’ Marks – Gorham Marks & Date Codes, https://www.925-1000.com/Gorham_Date_Code.html. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2023.


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