I took a leading role in the Save The British hallmark Campaign in 2003. The EU under the Italian Presidency had a big push to abandon national hallmarks on gold jewellery and replace them with an EU marking system. The only way this could have been done was to permit manufacturers to mark their own gold jewellery, and trust them not to cheat.
This last aspect was a bit of a worry, as all over the world where there is not a well run state administered hallmarking system, where the gold content is verified by testing and marking by an authorosed third party, cheating is commonplace. In the US people buy mllions of gold items of jewellery every year which are ‘under-carat’ without having any idea they are being cheated.
The US trade have formed The Jewellery Vigilance Committee which can do nothing more than try to limit the damage and prevent the truth of this worldwide massive crime against consumers from spoiling their business.
In Europe most countries fortunately have a well established and functioning hallmarking system apart from Germany and Italy, where the same crime is also commonplace. Austria abandoned hallmarking in 2002 trying to curry EU favour and within a year 20% of all the gold items on sale did not have the right gold content.
The EU was keen to push ahead with its own system, despite the knowledge that the crooks would have a field day and honest traders would be marginalised, and it was only through a determined campaign started in Britain by a few dedicated people from the industry that it was stopped – and then only just and at the last minute when all had seemed lost.
The CE Marks
Seeing now that the toys from China which have high levels of lead in their paints, and which have small pieces which can block baby’s windpipes and cause instant death, carrying European Safety marks, the famous CE marks, it made me wonder if the same drop in standards has happened across many industries, in the same way that we saw with the attempt by the EU to hand over the gold busines to the crooks, as long as they promoted EU marks.
I spoke to a Trading Standards Officer a couple of years ago at the time of our campaign to save Hallmarking, and he told me that European Standards were invariably of lower quality than the British ones they replaced. I’ve heard of stories of European road standards like lorry wheel nuts for example failing , and the number of tyres that take off from trucks each year is nubered in the thousands. The British equivalents which worked well had to be got rid of in favour of EU Standards.
The question is how many people lose their lives every year of all ages, not just children, so that the famous CE mark and others can act as the propaganda for the EUSR? The stories of death and maiming are always kept out of the news, and no statistics are revealed.