The King has handstamped the king’s mark on a cross – believed to be the first time a King has done so in British history.
The hallmarking took place at The Goldsmiths’ Centre where Charles met jewellery and silversmithing trainees and apprentices.
The silver processional cross, hallmarked by Charles, was commissioned by The Goldsmiths’ Company on behalf of the former Prince of Wales and is a gift from the King to the Church in Wales.
It was created by silversmith and master craftsman Michael Lloyd using traditional silversmithing skills, which are being taught to the young people who met the king during the visit.
Speaking at the hallmarking, prime warden of The Goldsmiths’ Company, Lord Bridges, said: “We believe, sir, that this is the first time that the king of this country has applied the king’s mark in the country’s history.”
Lord Bridges joked he did not want to “increase the pressure in any way” as laughter rippled around the room.
Charles was given the opportunity to try out the process in two practice runs before hammering the mark on to the cross.
He breathed a sigh of relief when told it was “perfect” – and then jokingly asked Mr Lloyd if he had “ruined” it.
The cross was created from silver sheet produced from recycled bullion – provided by the Royal Mint at Llantrisant – and a shaft of Welsh windfall timber.
The part of the hallmark Charles marked on the cross was the Leopard’s Head – or king’s mark – which is the town mark for London.
All items sold within the UK with elements of gold, silver, platinum or palladium are legally required to be hallmarked, regulated by the British Hallmarking Council.
Hallmarking is one of the oldest forms of consumer protection in the UK and the term comes from a mark being applied at Goldsmiths’ Hall.
The Goldsmiths’ Centre which Charles visited is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary.
It is an educational charity dedicated to improving skills and shaping the careers of jewellers, silversmiths and people working in the precious metals industry.
Charles was presented with a gold-plated pin designed to mark the centre’s decade and said: “I’m very touched.”