SILVER made in London has borne the distinctive leopard symbol hallmark since 1300 AD, making it one of the earliest forms of consumer protection.
These seven centuries of London hallmarking is currently being celebrated in an exhibition in the foyer of the London Silver Vaults, at the corner of Chancery Lane and Southampton Buildings, WC2.
The show continues until September 10 and features London marked items drawn from the stock of many of the 30 dealers in the vaults. Everything is for sale.
The exhibition displays special pieces by notable London makers through five centuries, with leopard- marked work from 1600 to the present.
Since 1327 London's Goldsmiths' Hall has been empowered to mark silver after it is tested for purity. Many records were lost in the Great Fire of 1666 but since then every smith working in the capital has had to register every single piece made and have it hallmarked by the assayers.
In addition to the work highlighted in the exhibition there are hundreds of other pieces of London silver in the shops of the vault's dealers.