Precious metal laws, regulations and decisions

Summary of main changes

 

[1473-1799] [1800-1899] [1900-1999] [2000- ]

 

1473

¤ Goldsmiths informed that they must move to the towns and cities. Practising the profession elsewhere is forbidden.

¤ The first gold fineness order: 19 carat (= 791/1000).

(Pure gold = 24 carats, 1 carat = 12 graania, or 288 graania = 24 carats)

 

1485

¤ Goldsmiths must now mark their products with their signature mark or initials.

¤ Fineness is now controlled by the guild association.

 

1489

¤ Silver fineness: 14½ luoti (906).

(Pure silver = 16 luoti, 1 luoti = 18 graania, or 288 graania = 16 luoti)

 

1529

¤ Gold fineness: 18½ carats (771).

 

1569

¤ Silver fineness: 14 luoti (875).

¤ Gold fineness: 22 carats, 2 graania (923).

 

1576

¤ A nationwide assaying system is now introduced. In practice this is administered by Oltermanni (similar to wardens) in the guilds.

 

1583

¤ Finland now has its own officials for assaying precious metal products.

 

1596

¤ Silver fineness: 13½ luoti (843).

¤ Town marks are now introduced (in practice town marks will only later become common).

 

1641

¤ Silver fineness: 12 luoti (750).

 

1661

¤ Silver fineness: 13½ luoti (843).

 

1689

¤ Decisions are made by the trade college on gold fineness: tukaatti gold: 23 carats, 6 graania (979), pistoletti gold: 22 carats, 6 graania (937) and kruunu gold: 18 carats, 5 graania (767).

¤ Town marks operate in practice 1689-1754. The punches are in the possession of the Oltermanni (similar to wardens) and are struck on a product after it has been assayed.

¤ Fineness assaying is performed by taking a metal sample from the product. This leaves a zigzag pattern called the Oltermanni line.

 

1752 (effective 1754)

¤ Fineness assaying is now handled by kontrollilaitos (control organisation - similar to the assay office).

¤ Every gold and silver product has to now be struck with a hallmark of three crowns. In addition, each has to be struck with town and maker marks.

¤ If you are now found guilty of having made a product of illegally low precious metal fineness, the punishment now (in addition to the confiscation of the product) is a fine of 200 riksdaler for first offence, 400 riksdaler for the second, and penal servitude for life for the third.

¤ Gold fineness: tukaatti gold: 23 carats 5 graania (976), pistoletti gold: 20 carats 4 graania (847) and kruunu gold: 18 carats 4 graania (764).

¤ Gold fineness marks: 23K, 20K and 18K.

¤ Silver fineness: 13¼ luoti (828) .

 

 

1755

¤ Small gold and silver products (rings, earrings and such like) are now made exempt from hallmarking.

 

1759

¤ Date marks are introduced using letters. Larger towns have already been using their own date marks before this time.

¤ The punishments for the manufacture of low-fineness products are reduced. 50 riksdaler for the first offence, 100 for the second offence and the loss of reputation and master rights after the third offence.

 

1787

¤ It is now compulsory to mark gold products over 1.74 grams and silver products over 3.32 grams (with the exception of so-called 'peasantry jewellery').

 

[1473-1799] [1800-1899] [1900-1999] [2000- ]

 

1804

¤ In order to safeguard domestic production, foreign imports of gold and silver objects are now banned. This restriction will apply until 1852 (with some minor exceptions).

 

1810

¤ Finland now establishes its own kontrollikonttori (assay office) in Turku.

¤ The hallmark is now changed to a single crown shape (previously three crowns).

¤ New date marks are introduced. The new letter-series begins again from 'A'.

 

1827

¤ The kontrollikonttori (assay office) now moves to Helsinki after the Great Fire of Turku.

 

1834

¤ Supervision of hallmarking is now passed to a government superintendent.

 

1853

¤ Silver fineness marks 13 and 13L (luoti) and 78 and 84 (Russian zolotnik) are in use concurrently.

(Fine silver = 96 zolotnik)

 

1884

¤ Hallmarking is passed to the assay office under the control of the Mint.

 

1886 (effective 1887)

¤ Due to the transition to the metric system, fineness now start to be measured in parts per thousand (millesimal).

 

1891 (effective 1892)

¤ New regulations on gold and silver fineness and the marks:

¤ Tukaatti gold: full fineness 976, but at least 969: 969 mark

¤ Pistoletti gold: full fineness 847, but at least 833: 833 mark

¤ Kruunu gold: full fineness 764, but at least 750: 750 mark

¤ Silver: full fineness 828, but at least 813: 813 mark

 

1893 (effective 1895)

¤ Gold fineness marks start to be shown in parts per thousand on an oval shield.

¤ Silver fineness marks start to be shown in parts per thousand with the letter H (for hopea, Finnish for silver) on a rectangular shield.

¤ It is only possible to use fineness mark punches that have been manufactured by the Mint.

 

[1473-1799] [1800-1899] [1900-1999] [2000- ]

 

1925

¤ To be classed as a gold product, it must now contain at least 200/1000 gold. To be classed as a silver product, it must contain at least 400/1000.

¤ Hallmarking becomes mandatory. Amongst others, gold products weighing less than 1 gram and silver products of less than 3 grams are exempt from hallmarking.

¤ The tarkastustutkinto is introduced (inspection exam - includes marking knowledge and proficiency).

¤ Products can now be hallmarked if the gold fineness is: 585, 750, 833, 875, or 969 and the silver fineness is: 813, 875 or 976.

¤ The fineness mark is now a three-digit number.

¤ Gold fineness marks now have an oval shield, silver fineness marks have a rectangular shield and the letter H (for hopea, Finnish for silver).

¤ Products must now display a fineness, responsibility (previously maker mark), locality (previously town mark) and date mark. The date and locality marks can be omitted if there is no room for them on the product.

¤ The responsibility mark must now contain the maker's first name and surname/initials or trademark.

¤ The locality mark must now contain the coat of arms or name or initial letter of the city, township, or municipality.

¤ The assay office now annually confirms each new year's date mark.

¤ The hallmark must now contain a crown on a heart-shaped shield or a crown on an oval shield for imported products.

¤ Other products can now no longer contain marks that can easily be confused with domestic fineness marks or hallmarks. This does not apply to imported products with marks approved in the countries of export.

¤ The above does not apply to bailiff authorities, estates of bankrupt or deceased persons and antique artefact.

¤ If you want to produce precious metals or sell such products in a marketplace, you have to inform the assay office in writing. The sale of products by peddling is now prohibited.

¤ The assay office director or his representative has the right to inspect gold and silver products at production/sales facilities and to remove them for assaying.

¤ Punishments for violation of the regulations are now usually 10 to 100 day fines.

¤ The assay office, under the control of the Mint, now has responsibility for hallmarking gold and silver products.

 

1942

¤ The assay office is now operated under the authority of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

 

1966 onwards (effective 1967)

¤ The filling of hollow jewellery with metal, resin, plastic or another materials is now forbidden.

 

1968 onwards (effective 1969)

¤ The tarkastustutkinto (inspection exam) is now changed to the leimaustutkinnoksi (marking exam).

¤ Fineness marks now changed to: gold: 585, 750 and 969, silver: 813, 830 and 925

 

1972 onwards (effective 1973)

¤ The letter H is removed from silver fineness marks.

¤ The locality mark now has to be struck (or cast) only when the assay office determines so. Previously it was compulsory.

 

1974

¤ Silver products under 5 grams are now exempt from marking. Previously it was under 3 grams.

¤ In 1972 the Vienna Convention became law. Products marked in the other countries of the agreement do not now need marking when imported.

¤ The former gold and silver assay office has now became the precious metals assay office.

¤ The lowest silver fineness is now 830 (previously 813).

¤ Fineness marks for gold: 585, 750, 969, and silver: 830 and 925. No other fineness marks can now be used.

¤ Hallmarks are now a crown in a heart-shaped shield for domestic products, a crown in an oval shield for imported products and (according to the Vienna Convention) a crown in a rectangular shield for products that do not meet the requirements of Finnish precious metal fineness.

¤ Products can no longer display marks that can easily be confused with Common Control Marks (CCM) or marks in use in the countries which signed the Vienna Convention.

 

1975

¤ The Vienna Convention comes into force in Finland 27/06/1975.

¤ Teknillinen tarkastuslaitos (Technical Inspection Department) operates as the assay office, under the authority of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, now has responsibility for all marking and assaying (in accordance with the Vienna Convention).

 

1977

¤ Gold products can now contain at least 200/1000 pure gold, silver and platinum products 400/1000. Coated (plated) products are now not considered to be precious metal products.

¤ Fineness marks for precious metal products: at least 585 gold, 830 silver and 950 platinum.

¤ Amongst others, the following are now exempt from marking: gold products of less than 1 gram, platinum and silver products of less than 5 grams, and CCM-marked products.

¤ Fineness marks: gold: 585, 750 and 969, silver: 830 and 925, platinum: 950.

¤ Fineness mark shapes: gold: oval; silver: rectangle; platinum: rhombus.

¤ In criminal cases, the penalties are now either a fine or (in extreme cases) suspension of marking rights until the accused is tried in court.

¤ The assay office can now allow regulation exceptions in special circumstances (in individual cases).

¤ Solders must be the same as the product itself, with the following exceptions: filigree work and watch-housings of 750 alloy must use 740 solder, 750 white gold alloy must use at least 585 solder, silver alloys must use 650 solder. All platinum products must use 995 gold, silver, platinum or palladium solder.

¤ A lower fineness solder can now only be used as required for soldering and fixing. Filling or increasing the weight using solder is prohibited.

¤ If the product contains a part that has been made from a base metal, it has to be marked with 'METAL' or an abbreviation for the metal. If neither of these can be used, the base metal has to visibly differ in colour from the precious metal. It can not be used for strengthening, filling or increasing the weight.

¤ Base metal materials can be used if they are visibly different from the precious metal, if they have not been plated or otherwise modified to look like precious metals, and if the quantity is clearly visible.

¤ Cutlery handles can include non-metallic materials if no more is used than is necessary for the fastening of the handle.

¤ Combining precious metals: gold can have platinum elements and white gold can be rhodium coated (plated), silver can have gold and platinum elements and can be gold or rhodium coated (plated), platinum can be rhodium coated (plated). For technical reasons, you can use parts made from lower fineness precious metals and/or base metals, but these parts have to be individually marked accordingly.

 

1992

¤ The assay office name is now called Tekninen/Teknillinen tarkastuskeskus (Technical Inspection Centre).

 

1995

¤ The assay office is now called Teknillinen tarkastuskeskus (previously it functioned as a controlling authority for inspection and marking).

¤ Previously the locality mark was used if the assay office specified, now it can be used only if necessary.

¤ If one intends to start to make precious metal products or sell them, a written announcement to the Safety Technology Authority (Tukes) has to be made before the operation can begin. The responsibility mark has to be accepted and registered by Tukes.

¤ The leimaustutkinto (marking exam) can now be taken at the assay office.

¤ Tukes now monitors compliance of regulations and can take market control samples.

¤ Tukes can now revoke marking rights (before inspecting products).

¤ Tukes now allows regulation exceptions in special circumstances (in individual cases) and give technical instructions.

¤ Tukes now has the right to limit precious metals trading and marking activities if deemed necessary in the public interest.

 

1998

¤ Teknillinen tarkastuskeskus (Technical Assay Centre) is abolished. An assay office can now only operate if approved by Tukes.

¤ Regulations are made specifying what the requirements of an assay office are. Assay office approval has to now be gained by an application submitted to Tukes. Acceptance is dependent upon all the requirements being met.

¤ If intended for general sale (and before hallmarking), precious metal products now have to contain 585 gold, 830 silver or 950 platinum. Pure gold, silver and platinum fineness can now be struck with the fineness mark 999.

¤ Now exempt from marking (amongst others) are gold and platinum products weighing less than 2 grams (previously 1 gram) and silver products weighing less than 10 grams (previously 5 grams).

¤ Responsibility marks are now approved by Tukes (previously the assay office). Tukes now also keeps the register of marks. Responsibility mark holders have to re-confirm their registration every two years.

¤ The maximum downward fineness variation is now 5/1000 of the product's weight (according to measurement method restrictions).

¤ Tukes now confirms date, locality and hallmarks (there are no longer any rule about mark appearance).

¤ Imported products no longer need to be assayed if they have been marked in another EU or EEA country, so long as the marks comply with domestic marking and the country of manufacture has an impartial assay office whose hallmark is registered with Tukes.

¤ Announcements of intent to manufacture or trade in precious metal products now need to be made to Tukes. Any changes have to be made in writing within 3 months.

¤ It was now possible to manufacture and import precious metal products so long as it is via a company registered with Tukes. The leimaustutkinto (marking exam) is no longer required and it is now possible to work from more than one location.

¤ Precious metal products can again be sold via peddling.

¤ Tukes can now request confidential company and/or personal information as part of any assay investigation.

¤ Fines and the cancellation of marking rights are now removed from the regulations.

¤ Solders used in precious metal products meant for general sale have to have the same fineness and metal as the actual product. Exceptions: gold: over 750; solder at least 750; silver: 550; platinum: 800.

¤ Base metals can no longer be used as a coating or interlayer.

 

[1473-1799] [1800-1899] [1900-1999] [2000- ]

 

2000 onwards (effective 2001)

¤ Coatings (platings): the fineness mark on a coated (plated) product has to indicate the fineness of the precious metal that has been applied.  No parts made from base metals or other materials and coated (plated) with a precious metal can be used in a product offered for sale as being made from precious metals. Acceptable coatings (platings) were listed previously (1977).

¤ The hallmark indicates the assay office. The hallmark has to always be struck onto the product and has a crown on a heart-shaped shield. The hallmark can also contain an assay office's unique identifier. The hallmark is now approved by Tukes upon application. Previously Tukes only accepted the hallmark.

¤ The responsibility mark indicates the importer, manufacturer or seller who is responsible for the product and its conformity with requirements. Only capital letters are approved for responsibility marks, though marks registered previously are still acceptable. Tukes now approves mark applications and keeps a register of responsibility marks. The owner of the mark has to notify of any changes and re-confirm the registration at intervals of three years (previously two years).

¤ The locality mark shows the locality of manufacture. The mark has to take the form of a coat of arms. A municipality can apply to Tukes for a locality mark. Previously only registered locality marks were valid.

¤ Other marks: other marks cannot bear confusing resemblance to marks used in Finland. However, marks in use in other EU/EEA countries can be used.

¤ Precious metal fineness is now - gold: 375, 585, 750, 916 and 999; silver: 800, 830, 925 and 999; platinum: 850, 900, 950 and 999. 969 gold is abolished.

¤ Now exempt from marking: gold and platinum products of less than 1 gram (previously less than 2 grams); silver products of less than 10 grams.

¤ A precious metal product can now voluntarily be hallmarked in the assay office (previously hallmarking was mandatory).

¤ Estates of bankrupt or deceased persons, auctions, etc. are omitted from the regulations.

¤ Previously, a precious metal product could only contain more than one precious metal in exceptional circumstances.

¤ Precious metal products can now be sold with a gold fineness of at least 375 (previously 585), silver fineness of 800 (previously 830) or a platinum fineness of 850 (previously 950).

¤ All precious metal products being sold have to now display a responsibility and fineness mark to show that the product is genuine. Previously, the date and location marks also needed to be present. Now these can be excluded if desired.

¤ Assaying of precious metal products and hallmarking by the assay office is now made voluntary. Previously, hallmarking was mandatory.

¤ Tukes is now entitled to take market samples of precious metal products for inspection. The samples have to be compensated at a fair price.

¤ If a product does not meet Tukes requirements, they have the right to forbid sales, to request product changes or to determine how one must act with regard to the product. The responsible party may also be required to cover the price of the product and assaying cost.

¤ The regulations can now be reinforced by a fine or the threat of having the product made by someone else at the offender's expense.

¤ Regulation breaches can now be punished with a fine, in which case the profits gained by the breach may be surrendered to the State.

¤ Products marked in other EU/EEA countries are accepted in Finland so long as the marks contain the same information required of Finnish products.

 

2004

¤ Cutlery, candlesticks, and similar products can now be made using reasonable amounts of lower fineness precious metal solder, metals or other substances. Product descriptions relating to the fineness have to be readily available in retail outlets.

¤ Hallmarking may now be made by a laser.

¤ Precious metals can now display marks used in other EU/EEA countries.

¤ Fineness deviation is not allowed.

¤ If a precious metal product on sale does not bear the required marks, customs, bailiff authorities, auction houses, pawnbrokers, estates of bankrupt or deceased persons and assay office have the right to provide a written certificate in place of the marks. Product fineness must be recorded in accordance with the actual fineness.

 

2005

¤ A precious metal product for sale must contain either a responsibility and fineness mark or a hallmark and fineness mark.

¤ The manufacturer or seller is responsible for ensuring that the product is properly marked.

 

2008 onwards (effective 2009)

¤ Palladium is added to the regulations: fineness must be at least 500.

 

2009

¤ The precious metal fineness of palladium solders must be at least 500.

¤ Responsibility marks can be used on non-precious metal products if the product clearly states that it contains no precious metals.

¤ Precious metals can now include marks in use in other EU/EEA countries (the list is not restrictive).

¤ Palladium fineness: 500, 850, 950 and 999.

¤ Fineness marks no longer need to be used with the base shield.

¤ Palladium fineness mark shape: symmetrical trapezium with three equal sides half the length of the base.

¤ Palladium marking is exempt on products of less than 1 gram.

¤ If a lightweight product is marked, it must have at least a fineness mark (previously also the responsibility mark).

NB: despite the Russian Ruble being the official currency of Finland from 1807 to 1860, the Riksdaler is the currency clearly listed in the regulations.

 

[1473-1799] [1800-1899] [1900-1999] [2000- ]