Hallmark Research Institute
   Providing Education and Resources for a Better Understanding and Recognition of Precious Metal Hallmarks Worldwide


The Hallmark Research Institute

is pleased to offer the most

Comprehensive Reference on
European Precious Metal Hallmarks  

World Hallmarks 
Volume I
19th to 21st Centuries
2nd Edition

(Limited Quantity)



World Hallmarks - Vol. I
19th to 21st Centuries
2nd Edition

This book covers ...

  • European gold, silver, platinum, and palladium hallmarks
  • Narrative Chronological Format
  • Vetted by International Experts
  • Historical perspectives
  • New Methods of Hallmark Analysis
  • Categorized Analytical Index
  • Newly Revised, Clear Imagery
  • Thousands of Hallmark Graphics
  • Dozens of Actual Hallmark Photos
  • Numerous Informational Charts
  • Glossary of Hallmarking Terms
  • 40 Plus Chapters
  • Including the Preface, 400 Pages
  • Hardbound, Embossed Cover with Jacket
  • Handy, Quick Reference Bookmark Included

Designed for all persons handling precious metals including gemologists, appraisers, dealers, and collectors of modern and antique jewelry, silver hollowware, antiques, and objects of art.  This resource is a welcome addition to any research library. For more information on this book and other HRI projects, please visit the Projects page. Read feedback on Volume I.


World Hallmarks
Volume I
19th to 21st Centuries

2nd Edition

*See Important Shipping Information Below..*


What is a Hallmark?

Hallmarks are the result of independent metal testing in the form of symbols either stamped or laser inscribed onto the surface of the precious metal item.  These symbols are uniquely designed by each hallmarking country where government or regulatory entities require strict testing and hallmarking of precious metals often before that item can be sold to the public, as a measure of consumer protection.  Hallmarks not orly convey the precious metal purity of the item but the country of origin, metal, and often much more.
Hallmarks are NOT marks of the maker or trademarks. Use of the word 'hallmarks' for any marks that are not the result of strict regulated testing is a misuse.  The United States does not have a hallmarking system in place, and it does not require the independent testing of precious metals or even the necessity to place a fineness mark on precious metals objects produced within the country.  If a fineness mark is present, then it must be accompanied by a maker's mark establishing those responsible for creating the piece and any claim of purity marked.
The World Hallmarks book series focus on the hallmarks found on precious metals objects from countries that have regulatory or legal requirements to 'hallmark' a precious metal object. Volume 1 covers the hallmarking countries of Western Europe and most of Eastern Europe. Volume 2 covers nearly all the remaining hallmarking countries around the world not covered in Volume 1.

Additional Locations to Purchase World Hallmarks - Vol.I

Scriptum Art, Netherlands
National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA members only), USA
Abebooks.com (Worldwide)

ISBN 0979762812, 9780979762819, ASIN 0979762812


Feedback about Volume I... 
    THANK YOU, Everyone for taking the time to email with such enthusiasm!

Your book makes me look good!

Congrats on your new book by the way. You have done a great job And it’s a huge help on our appraisals.

Le livre est superbe et très bien fait. C’est du travail de professionnels.

...what a great book. I am at the beginning of my career as an appraiser and this book is a very welcome help.
Thank you very much.

Just a quick note to say congratulations on the book. ...I bought the book and have not stopped using it since! A publication of this type is long overdue and I wish you every success with it.

... I love this book.   It will be a valuable reference in my library.

I think your book is great,  I am loving it, especially the historical perspective.  I have about 6 other hallmark books;  But, your's is tops.

I love using your book.

It is an outstanding publication.

..congratulations on an absolutely knowledgeable and informative read.

Besides its obvious excellent scholarship, It is absolutely beautiful! 

The book is fabulous - I have almost finished cover to cover.

You guys have done a great job and it’s a huge help on our appraisals.

I love your book!!!  Not only the hallmarks, but the history to explain the evolution of marking.

Your book is one of the most helpful references I own. I use it a lot! Can't wait for your next tome.

Book Reviews - Volume I

Gems & Gemology, Fall 2011

World Hallmarks, Volume I: Europe, 19th to 21st Centuries, 2nd ed.
By William Whetstone, Danusia Niklewicz, and Lindy Matula,
Hallmark Research Institute

This is a wonderfully organized volume that has long been needed by appraisers, collectors, and museums. The authors have a gift for taking this very complex subject and making it easily understandable.

The book's "5S" approach to identifying hallmarks stands for Strike, Shape, Style, Standard, and System. Strike is the actual stamping of an impression onto a tested metal and the resulting placement and quality of that impression. The shape of the mark is its outline, while the style refers to its design and imagery. Standard marks indicate the fineness of a particular metal. Lastly, the System of sequential hallmarks involves the mark image and the existence of a surrounding frame with specific shape and fineness numbers, sometimes with a date number or letter.

The fifth S, System, also includes four subcategories: Implied, Symbolic, Inclusive, and Sequential (ISIS). In this methodology, an implied hallmark is recognized by the core image and/or frame shape. These alone can indicate type of metal, metal fineness, and country or location of assay. A symbolic hallmark uses a formal or national symbol representing the assaying country but provides little other information. A hallmark with letters and numbers added to a core image is considered an inclusive hallmark. The most informative and easily read hallmarks are sequential hallmarks, consisting of a series of marks in a line or cluster.

The chapters that follow give a brief history of the European hallmarking systems by country. The 5S system is applied, and a time line of precious metal use in each country is provided. Additional hallmarks, along with ancillary marks that serve a specific purpose, are described with assay office marks and identification symbols.

In the back of the book is an analytical index containing a convenient listing of hallmark images. Although this image index does not include all hallmarks, its orderly arrangement makes looking for the image less overwhelming than one might suppose. A historical time-line illustrates various periods of political transition for the countries that once formed the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire and the USSR, and Yugoslavia. The glossary of hallmark terms is helpful in reading this book, and an extensive bibliography completes the work. Companion volumes featuring hallmarks of other countries are in the works.


Modern Silver Magazine
Marbeth Schon


Volume I, Europe, 19th to 21st Centuries
by William B. Whetstone, Danusia V. Niklewicz, Lindy L. Matula

This is a book that was worth waiting for.  It is an absolutely indispensable reference for anyone interested in European jewelry and hollowware. Years of extensive research went into this extremely well organized book.  Collaboration with European assay offices and government officials, including members of the  International Association of Assay Offices and the Hallmarking Convention have resulted in an absolutely concise and accurate compilation of hallmarks from over thirty countries.  There are over forty chapters and thousands of drawings and colored photographs of hallmarks. 

National Association of Jewelry Appraisers

3rd Quarter's Newsletter
Reviewed by Martin Fuller, GG
World Hallmarks - Vol.1 - Europe
Published by Hallmark Research Institute,

May of 2009 was an auspicious month. It was a month of spring cleaning and rearranging books on my bookshelf in anticipation of a new addition. Move over Tardy, Paulson, Bradbury and Jackson, and Wyler, Kovel, and Okie. There’s a new kid in town. And, at nearly 400 pages and hardbound, it’s here to stay.

World Hallmarks, Volume I by Whetstone, Niklewicz and Matula contains 40 chapters of solid information, purposefully extracted from dozens of sources, up to and including the horse’s mouth, which have been intelligently and artfully arranged to provide easy access to the heretofore arcane world of hallmarks. And, it’s in English! Any one with an interest in articles of precious metal can benefit from this book. From the hobbyist searching for a heart of gold to the professional providing a well researched product to their client, World Hallmarks Volume I, will help the reader understand everything from the inception and purpose of the hallmark concept, to its implementation in various western and eastern European countries, as well as the historical context and its impact on changes in hallmarking throughout the last two-plus centuries of their usage.

There is even a new invention: The 5 “S” method is a system invented by William Whetstone and developed by the authors to help analyze the components of any hallmark, to assist in identifying the country of origin and the relevant quantum of information which can be packed into a 3 millimeter pictogram. This book is practically the Rosetta stone for European Hallmarks!

The book is readable, and interesting. One quickly gets used to the lay of the land, and the organizational structure. Each country chapter begins by laying out the history of the country, its basic system for marking, the chronology of mark usage, and any special marks one might encounter. The mark illustrations have been meticulously drawn and are very clear. The descriptions of the logic which each country put into its marking system are clear and sensible, and the authors went to great lengths to vet this information with the governmental agencies in charge of each countries hallmarking system.

Now, just because I’m acknowledged among the many cheerleaders and contributors by the authors, the reader has no reason to sense a bias in my review. There are a very few minor hiccups, easily cured by reading carefully, which is what all of the erudite readers of this review would do in any case. And the book doesn’t fit into my breast pocket. Other than that, I’d have to work too hard to find a reason not to need this book in my library. There, my criticisms are fixed with an accompanying pocket guide version.

I really like that this book was published by the Hallmark Research Institute, and printed on American soil, on American paper and with American ink, by hard working Americans (well, okay, two Americans and one Canadian). So it cost a little more. It’s American! And that’s a good thing! So do a couple of extra hours of appraisal work, or sell an extra piece of jewelry, and go buy this book. You need it. We need it. America needs it. Thank you for your support. This public service announcement does not reflect the views or opinions of the book authors, who are all of European decent, which gives them the natural, genetic “Right Stuff” to tackle this subject matter.

All in all, I probably won’t be reaching for Tardy in French as my first book of choice anymore, that is, unless I see a minuscule “les miserable insect” whose legs I have to count, “Un, Deux, Trois…”  No, I’ll be reaching for the W.H.

Dutch Silver Society
Review by Janjaap Luijt
World Hallmarks; Volume I: Europe 19th to 21st centuries
William Whetstone / Danusia Niklewicz / Linda Matula

In dit
book zijn van 39 Europese landen de keurtekens opgenomen zoals die gebruikt worden door waarborginstellingen. Niet toont het uitsluitend merken voor goud, zilver, platina en palladium, maar er wordt ook uitgebreid stilgestaan bij de nu geldende wetgevingen en de te verwachten ontwikkelingen in de nabije toekomst. Om het risico te vermijden dat er onduidelijkheden of foute informatie zou worden opgenomen, hebben de samenstellers alle teksten vooraf ter controle voorgelegd aan de experts van de International Assiociation of Assay Offices (IAAO) en de medewerkers van de verschillende Europese waarborgkantoren. Het boek telt ruim 400 pagina’s met afbeeldingen van duizenden keurtekens, maar ook veel aanvullende informatie over de geschiedenis van het keuren, oude en nieuwe analysemethoden en een opsomming van typische waarborgtermen. En wat natuurlijk het belangrijkste is: dit boek heeft een goede zoeksleutel, zodat onbekende merken snel gevonden kunnen worden. 

Antique Jewelry University

Tim Spauwen FGA Administrator

World Hallmarks Volume I - Europe, 19th to 21st Centuries

The Founders of the Hallmark Research Institute (HRI), William Whetstone, Danusia Niklewicz, and Lindy Matula are pleased to announce the summer release of their first volume in a series on world hallmarks.

Based on the Five S System of hallmark analysis, Whetstone, Niklewicz, and Matula bring to print a clear and informative understanding of the information precious metal hallmarks have to offer. This first volume concentrates on the hallmarking countries of Europe and their marks as they have evolved over the years. Virtually every chapter has been reviewed and vetted by experts from the International Association of Assay Offices (IAAO) and other European country assay offices.

Written in a narrative chronological format, this book covers gold, silver, platinum, and palladium hallmarks, as well as...

  • Historical perspectives
  • Assay Office Corroboration
  • New Methods of Hallmark Analysis
  • Analytical Index
  • Newly Revised Imagery
  • Thousands of Hallmark Graphics
  • Dozens of Actual Hallmark Photos
  • Numerous Informational Charts
  • Glossary of Uncommon Terms
  • 40 Plus Chapters
  • Nearly 400 Pages

Designed for all persons handling precious metals including gemologists, appraisers, dealers, and collectors of modern and antique jewelry, silver hollowware, cutlery, and objets de art. This resource is a welcome addition to any research library.

Appraiser Under Oath Website Review
Reviewed by Bill Hoefer

World Hallmarks; Volume I: Europe 19th to 21st centuries    
Authors: William Whetstone, Danusia Niklewicz, Linda Matula

Publisher: Hallmark Research Institute

Marks are fascinating and they can reveal volumes about a piece of jewelry. This book is not just a list of marks but teaches you the proper nomenclature for marks, the history and development of the marks. You can determine the country-of-origin, the circa date and often the fineness and type of metal. I had a set of the Tardy books and they have now been stashed in a dark corner of my library - this book is both easier to read (it is also in English), faster to locate an unknown mark as well as highly detailed when you decipher a mark.

If you encounter European marks then this book is mandatory to have in your reference library.

Nancy Martin

World Hallmarks - Vol.I - Europe

This thorough and well-organized book directly addresses what is perhaps the foremost challenge faced be researchers of hallmarks: the identification and subsequent interpretation of an unfamiliar or imperfectly cast mark. The solution comes in the utilization of a novel five-step approach that draws on the authors’ concise accounts of the origins and subtleties of countless hallmarks. This encyclopedic book’s ready accessibility is due in no small part to its lucid prose and clear hallmark imagery. I anxiously await World Hallmarks – Volume II!

Read what the Assay Offices are saying about "World Hallmarks - Vol.I"

Meet the Authors 

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