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tline3open  Need Help Identifying marks on a Charm Bracelet

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Author Topic:   Need Help Identifying marks on a Charm Bracelet
monalysee

Posts: 1
Registered: Jan 2005

iconnumber posted 01-28-2005 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for monalysee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[01-2152]

I have in my possession a Charm Bracelet with charms from around the world.

It looks as if the original owner collected the charms from European places they visited.

A few of the pieces have a mark of:
six sided shape with CHN in it and 800 either above or below the symbol.

Another set of pieces have a ROMA 800 and ROMA 008.

Does anyone have any idea what those mean?

Thanks!

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-28-2005 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Roma" is the Italian word for Rome, and 800 is a purity mark in parts per 1000.

TM

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

iconnumber posted 01-28-2005 07:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
" .. 800 is a purity mark in parts per 1000 .."

The way you are putting this implies that it is solid silver (presumably Italian).

Do you have any documentation on the marking standards for Italian jewellery? I am not at all familiar with jewellery, but if this were any other kind of object, i.e. flatware or holloware, then without the requisite official marks it would have to be considered to not be silver (probably plated).

Can you share your sources?

[This message has been edited by Arg(um)entum (edited 01-28-2005).]

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-28-2005 09:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, I am saying quite the opposite. Pure silver is too soft for practical uses. It is therefore combined with other metals to make it harder and more durable. Because medieval people stored there wealth as silverware, candlesticks, etc. and converted it to coin as needed, governments needed to regulate the purity of the silver and mark it with hallmarks.

In the modern era numbers like 800 were adopted to inidcate that a piece is 80% silver. The word "sterling" referes to silver that is 92.5% pure silver, and so it goes. These markings have been established by international agreements.

As for your barcelet, I can do no more than guess at its origin without a photo. It does make sense, though, that the part labelled "Roma" is Italian, but there is no guarantee.

There are too many books on this subject to list them. Scan the forum which contains many titles or do an "antique silver" search at any libary.

Good luck,
TM

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

iconnumber posted 01-28-2005 10:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First you are confusing solid silver with pure silver. The latter is 100% Ag, the former refers to an object that is made entirely of an acceptable alloy, i.e. the opposite of an article that is plated or made of a silver look-alike such as 'German Silver'.

Second, you are missing the point of my question. How can you know that the item is of .800 solid silver without knowing the marking standard for the particular kind of article under consideration? In Italian silverware the presence of a number '800' without the corresponding official mark generally does not mean that the article is made of silver. The only exception from the legal requirement of a proper mark that I am aware of is for items of less than 1 gram.

It may be that there are other exceptions for jewellery but I have been unable to find any documentation. If you know of any then please quote it. If you don't have any then it would be more prudent and more helpful to the person making the inquiry to point out the uncertainty.

Facile, of the top of the head, unsupportable answers do not enhance the forum.

[This message has been edited by Arg(um)entum (edited 01-28-2005).]

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-28-2005 10:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am not missing anything nor are my answers facile. Your questions are ambiguous. As numerous forum masters remind contributors, photos are necessary for accurate identification. Without them, all any of us can do is make educated guesses. As I understand it, most of us participate for fun. It sounds like you may be asking for more precise information that can only be provided by an appraiser. You might review the forum guidelines.

TM

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-28-2005 10:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh, by the way. You might have better luck posting on the jewelry forum

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-28-2005 10:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Monalysee,

Sorry I got you confused with arg(um)entum. I hope some of this is useful to you.

TM

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TBC

Posts: 134
Registered: Jan 2005

iconnumber posted 01-28-2005 11:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TBC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am astounded at Arg (um) entum's assault on tmockait, the latter being a most helpful participant on this forum. I do no know what gives him (or her) the right to be so confrontational in circumstances where tmockait is only trying to help. Shame on you; and to you Tom, thanks for your contribution which I found useful.

Tgds,

TBC

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-28-2005 11:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks. I am sure we can just chalk it up to a misunderstanding and move on.

All the best to everyone,
TM

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

iconnumber posted 01-29-2005 12:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I suppose that I didn't express myself adequately - so I'll try once more.

My point, as inadequately expressed as it may have been, was and is, that Roma and '800' together do not amount to a valid designation of silver of .800 fineness.

Let me repeat: the Italian laws governing silver require that objects sold as silver of a given fineness (.800 is one of the standards) be marked with an official mark the makeup of which has been discussed by others in several threads. It is fairly common to encounter Italian ware that is stamped '800' but without the official mark; this is then only silver plated. Hence, to refer to an item showing only "ROMA" and "800" as having ".. a purity mark in parts per 1000" is unwarranted unless, as I stated, there is an exception from this law for jewelery. There may be one but I have not found any reference to it. And unless you have a documentation of such an exception then the basic rules must assume to apply.

Therefore, in the absence of physical examination the prudent conclusion is that the item may be silverplated, rather than solid silver of '800' fineness.

I might add that, while questionable items of this type from Italy are numerous, in principle similar consideration ought to apply to items originating in any country.
It is quite treacherous to pronounce on what material an item is made of based on a description or picture without a good knowledge of the respective laws and practices.

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-29-2005 01:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I totally agree, which is why I said I could do no more than offer an educated guess, just as many others on the forum do. We don't even know the bracelet is Italian. It could be silver, silver plate or contain no silver at all. Most of us enjoy these exchanges of information and learn from them even if we are wrong. The important thing is to create an atmosphere that encourages everyone to participate, no matter their experience or knowledge level.

Anyway, have a nice weekend.
TM

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

iconnumber posted 01-29-2005 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh, if that's what you meant all along then all is fine! wink


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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 01-29-2005 01:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One thing that might be worth keeping in mind is that charm bracelets can be assembled over a long period of time. Individual charms are bought at times and places that have an individual meaning to the buyer. Which can lead to bracelets having a variety of items on them: sterling, plate, Continental.

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blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-29-2005 09:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not to poke this bear with a stick, (and please don't shoot the messenger) but since documentation was asked for, hallmarking law in Italy (Legislative Decree No. 46 of 30 Jun 1964; re-enforced by Legislative Decree No. 251 of 22 May 1999) states:

"Works in precious metals manufactured and marketed in the territory of the Republic must have one of the authorized standards of fineness and must bear the indicator of fineness and the identification mark." (The wording indicates that exported articles are exempt from marking; note "manufactured and marketed". Note, too, that Tardy, regarding and even earlier 1934 Italian law, states: "Products for export are free from control." [Tardy, p. 294])

However:

"It is prohibited to affix any indication of fineness, in part per thousands or in carats, or any other indication liable to cause mistakes to objects in metals different from precious metals, also if gold plated, silver-plated or plated."

And:

"Objects constituted of base metals with gold covering must be marked with the word "dorato"[golden] or the terms "placcato" [plated] or "laminato" [laminated], followed by the symbol Au [gold]; such terms must be followed by the respective symbols Pt, Pd, or Ag, for objects covered with platinum, palladium and silver."

It's worth mentioning here that since the aforementioned 1934 law, assay in Italy has been facultative. That is, manufacturers are required to themselves affix their official mark as issued by the Chamber of Commerce and which contains both the fineness and their registry number, but they are not required to submit their wares to any official assay office for testing. They may do so if they choose - they rarely do - and there is a special mark for this.

I offer all this only as documentation, not any sort of argument. I agree that a simple "Roma 800" mark means nothing. There's no proof of any sort that an item so marked was made in Italy or is made of silver. I, too, have found items marked "800" that were plate or base metal - but I doubt they were Italian. I suppose an Italian manufacturer could try to argue that so long as he exported something out of Italy, he could use "indication of fineness, in part per thousands . . . liable to cause mistakes." However, given the strictness of Italian law, I doubt there would be many willing to risk it.


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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-29-2005 10:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the very useful information. I began collecting spoons for their beauty and later decided to investigate hallmarks, thinking they would be strait forward. Ah well, I now have an interesting passtime between doing the Times crossword puzzle each Sunday.

My only concern is that after this lively exchange poor Monalysee has probably sold the bracelet, stopped collecting silver and changed her e-mail address!

Cheers,
TM

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

iconnumber posted 01-30-2005 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Blakstone, you've done it again. First you served up that great look-up site for registration numbers and now the Italian legislation in English translation. It is humbling to discover how much I didn't find. Thanks for sharing your finds!

As for the 'Roma 800', we seem all to be in harmonious agreement on that at least smile - so no more about it!

But there is one point I want to take up with you. It surprises me that you downplay Italy as the source of wares with spurious 800 markings. I had over time come to suspect that much of it came from there based on general background noise which I can't identify any more. But this has been reinforced by the 'ARG 800' stuff which often points in that direction. For one, I recall several such items on eBay with either pieces stamped 'Italy' or in boxes with Italian retailers' names. I remember only a single item with a tenuous potential link to another country. More telling, is the fact that a number of Italian manufacturers' and retailers' sites which contain brief summaries of current marking requirements, also include specific warnings against ARG800 and ARG1000. I have not noticed such warnings on sites in any other country. So I thought it fair to concluded that the warnings occur where the problem is the most prevalent.

If you have other information about the origin of these things then I'd just love for you to share that as well. smile

[This message has been edited by Arg(um)entum (edited 01-30-2005).]

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dragonflywink

Posts: 975
Registered: Dec 2002

iconnumber posted 01-30-2005 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a quick note, many years ago bought a salad set, dark with tarnish, marked simply ITALY 800. Most definitely silverplate once polished. Have run across a few other pieces over the years, but now trust my instints rather than the mark.

Cheryl ;o)

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blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-30-2005 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Points well taken, and no disagreement here. I will say that I rather frequently come across souvenir teaspoons - usually with St. Mark's lion or fleur-de-lys finials - that are stamped only "ITALY 800" and do not recall any of them ever testing as anything other than .800 silver.

But I suppose that's the most important lesson of this thread: the better your familiarity with legitimate marks, the better armed you are against "bad buys". Not that they should be trusted absolutely - they can be forged - but their absence should always be a red flag. When in doubt, test, test, test!

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-30-2005 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to be sure I am clear on this. As a rule of thumb, marks like 800, 835, 925 inidcate the purity of silver as a percentage or in parts per thousand, but as I understand from Blackstone and Arg(um)entum, we can only be certain of such markings by knowing each countries' hallmarking laws and then only if a government assayer's mark has verified it (unless of course the marks are faked!).
All that glitters is not silver!

Glad I have a day job!
Regards to all,
TM

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Arg(um)entum

Posts: 304
Registered: Apr 2002

iconnumber posted 01-30-2005 05:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Arg(um)entum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"... we can only be certain of such markings by knowing (1) each countries' hallmarking laws and then only if (2) a government assayer's mark has verified it .."

(1) yes to this; but

(2) isn't that simple.
A decreasing number of countries use government assayers for normal volume production. As Blakstone pointed out in the Italian case, manufacturers there apply the national mark themselves. The same thing applies to a good number of other countries as well.

In addition you have to distinguish two kinds of marks: national guarantee marks and responsibility marks.

National guarantee marks such as the British lion, the Minerve or the German moon and crown can be applied by either a government agency or the manufacturer himself; this varies from country to country. The responsibility mark identifies the maker and is applied by him where he also applies the national mark; it serves as his guarantee that the standard of that mark is met.

Other countries dispense with the national mark and the maker's responsibility mark alone is what you must go by.

It all boils down to Number (1) above: You need to know the law, marks and practices of a country. With a piece in hand, of course, one can use a whole bunch of additional clues.

[This message has been edited by Arg(um)entum (edited 01-30-2005).]

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-30-2005 06:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks

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nihontochicken

Posts: 289
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 01-30-2005 10:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nihontochicken     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are the "hallmarks" on some items I figured might be silverplate as opposed to solid silver, which proved to be the case (originally posted here many moons ago):

My guess is that these marks were made to deceive, but that's just opinion. The pieces themselves are double struck King's Pattern flatware, heavy but poorly struck (shallow dies), and with rough edges. I cannot decipher the mark beyond the "800 ARG".

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