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On French silver jewelry, the most often-seen mark is the boars head, the mark of the Paris Assay Office, indicating a fineness of 800 or higher on small articles (such as jewelry). Outside of Paris, the crab mark was used from 1838 to 1961, and since 1962, has also been used by the Paris Assay Office.
It is often a process of comparing known with unknown and making an educated guess.In 1932, 15 and 12 ct were abandoned in favor of 14 ct, which was also marked 585. In 1975, all gold marks were standardized, and the crown mark and the fineness in thousandths became the only marks to be used in addition to place of assay and date letter.On English silver, the lion passant (walking lion) is the symbol for sterling silver (925).If you can learn to recognize the French marks for gold, silver and platinum, you will have done well.The difficulty lies in the fact that the French never use numbers.
British hallmarks include a fineness or purity mark, an assay office mark, a date letter, and usually but not always, a makers mark.