Countries that have silver hallmarks include Hungary, France, China, Australia and Egypt. In the United Kingdom, countries such as Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland also have silver hallmarks. Although Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have the most highly structured hallmarking system worldwide, France has the most complex system of hallmarks. Some examples of silver hallmarks include England's leopard head town mark for London, Egypt's cat figure and lotus flower, and Chinese export silver marks.
Silver hallmarking indicates the purity of the silver, the date of manufacture and the mark of the manufacturer. The manufacturer uses a hammer for the hallmarking, punching it into the object before the final polishing of the silver is complete.
The French hallmarking system is difficult to read because it does not involve numbers. Instead, it uses symbols in the form of heads of people or animals, birds, animals and insects. These symbols indicate the place of manufacture, imports, exports and fineness.
In France, the head of the goddess Minerva is used as the assay mark for sterling silver. On the other hand, Hungary uses the crescent moon crowned with the head of Diana, the ancient Roman goddess, as the hallmark symbol of legal silver.