In Europe, the branding of jewelry began in the 13th century, and the first Russian brands appeared only in the 17th century. The need for control the quality of precious alloys arose due to the fact that gold and silver products were potential raw materials for coins, and the extraction of these metals in the country was very small, so silver and gold were in short supply.
Russian brands of the XVII century.
The first decree on branding in Russia is dated 1613 . According to him, the silversmiths had to make products from the alloy, identical to the European silver thaler. This coin, called the "Lubsky Efimok", contained up to 93% pure silver.
Gold products were tested for "vzrz" – for softness, silver " after burning" – for color change when heated. In addition, an assay stone was used. The duties of testing and branding products were assigned to assay masters. The stamp certifying the proper quality of the alloy became known as a breakdown. The first brands denoting the sample, they began to put it at the end of the 17th century. Samples equal to Efim were in use from 1693 to 1697. They are a circle with the letters "ЄЌЌ".
In the 17th century, another standard of silver alloy appeared — the Dutch Levendalder (lion thaler). This coin was minted from more a base alloy (up to 74% silver), and was popularly called "levok" because of the lion depicted on the coin. Products corresponding to the alloy lion's thaler, branded until 1698 with round and oval stamps with the inscription "levok" and "lion".
In addition to the sample, there were city stamps with city coats of arms. The earliest known city stamps (1651-52) are Moscow stamps in the form of a shield with the image of a double—headed eagle and the date indicated in Slavic letters. The brands of the cities of Dorpat belong to the end of the 17th century ., Mitava, Narva, Revel, Riga. Also, for products up to 1741 annual stamps were applied in the form of a circle with letters inside.
Branding after the reform of Peter the Great
In 1700 in Russia, Peter I initiated a coin reform. In imitation of a foreign ducat, a Russian gold coin was minted – a chervonets. Further, the Kadashevsky Mint departed from the standards of the ducat. The new coin contained 78.1% pure gold, its weight was equal to a spool (4.26 g). In February 1700, a decree was issued ordering the establishment of stamps for gold and silver. Branding of products, supervision of craftsmen and merchants are entrusted to the assay elders. The samples were determined approximately.
- 1st – "above the red";
- 2nd – "against the red";
- 3rd, 4th – "below the red".
- 1st, 2nd – "fused silver";
- 3rd – "efimochnaya";
- 4th – "levkovaya".
In 1711, silver samples began to be installed in digital terms. The third sample was branded with the numbers "82". The fourth is "62", and after 1731 – "72". The spool system is fixed: the sample is equal to the number of spool of precious metal in a pound of alloy. Pure gold and silver is equal to 96 samples (as many spool in 1 pound).
The stamp with the breakdown of this period is made in the form of numbers enclosed in a rectangle. The stamping punches were made by the Mint. In addition to the sample, the product was stamped with a city stamp, the name of a jeweler, a workshop or a manufacturing factory, the stamp of an assay master. Branding was carried out in assay tents based in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The assay Charter of 1847 approved the samples:
- in gold – 56, 72, 82;
- in silver – 84, 88, 91.
The following statutes have increased the number of samples. A peculiar sign of the quality of the product in the 50s was the brand of Alderman - the head of the craft shop.
В 1896 г. принят очередной Пробирный устав. Россия разделена на 11 пробирных округов во главе с управляющими. Придворные мастера и фирмы получили разрешение ставить на свои изделия оттиск клейма с государственным гербом. Во 2.п. 19 в. проба часто размещалась в одном щитке с клеймом города, или в щитке с инициалами пробирного мастера.
С 1899 г. утверждено единое клеймо с контурным изображением обращенного влево женского профиля в кокошнике. В 1908 г. введено клеймо с рельефным женским профилем, обращенным вправо. Шифр окружного пробирного учреждения проставляется греческой буквой.Пробы и клейма
Branding of jewelry in the era of the USSR
In 1927, the spool system was replaced by a metric one. The steel sample is determined by the number of grams of precious metal in a kilogram of alloy. In the USSR , samples are installed for jewelry industry products:
- gold – 958, 750, 583, 500, 375;
- silver – 960, 916, 875, 800, 750;
- platinum – 950;
- palladium – 850, 500.
State assay inspections have been organized, performing the functions of probing and branding. Assay stamps before 1958 are presented the profile of the worker's head with a hammer in the shield in the form of a blade, oval, truncated oval or hammer. They are accompanied by a digital breakdown and a letter of the Greek alphabet – the cipher of the assay institution. Later, the image of the worker was replaced with a hammer and sickle in a five-pointed star. Products that do not correspond to the declared sample are branded with the letters "NP".
All products in assay inspections had to arrive with the birthday of the manufacturer. For the analysis of alloys are used methods:
- rubbing on assay stone
- muffle method
After the collapse of the USSR in 1994, the Soviet emblem on the Russian assay stamp was replaced by a female profile in a cocoanut, looking to the right. 585 samples were introduced instead of 583. Laser branding began to be used along with percussion.