How to identify French sterling silver ?

When a piece is made of sterling silver in France, it recieves a hallmark that certifies it is composed by at least 800/1000 sterling silver. 

Over the centuries, French silverware hallmarks changed. Here are the main hallmarks:

  • The Old Man (Vieillard) used from 1819 to 1838. There are four differents versions. Two parisians and two departemental hallmarks. First title (titre) is composed by 950/1000 sterling silver and second title is composed by 800/1000 sterling silver. 

Old Man Hallmark

  • The Minerva used from 1838 to 1973.

Minerve hallmark

For small pieces like jewelry, other hallmarks are used that certify that the piece is composed by at least 800/1000 sterling silver:

  • The Crab used from 1838 to nowadays 
Crab hallmark
  • The Wild Boar from 1838 to 1962
Wild Boar Hallmark
  • The Weevil (charançon) used for imported sterling silver pieces: 
Weevil hallmark
I hope that this small article helped you to understand how to identify French sterling silver. French silverware can bear other hallmarks that refer to the silversmith. You need to be careful, a piece can have a hallmark without being made of sterling silver. 

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  • What about the word France on the back of pewter/ silvers items?

    • Juan Navarro