FAQ

FAQ

The “Frequently Asked Questions” refer only to the provisions of Decree-Law no. 120/2017, of 15 September, which makes the first amendment to the legal regime for goldsmiths and assay offices (RJOC), approved by Law no. 98/2015, of 18 August.

1. What economic activities are regulated by the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC)?

The RJOC regulates the exercise of the following activities:

 

Jewellery wholesaler
Acquires articles of precious metal for exporting and selling to other economic operators in the jewellery sector.

 

Artist
Designs and produces artefacts with precious metal that meet all the following conditions:

 

  • For sale.
  • Unique or limited edition.
  • A production limit of 15 articles per year.
  • Contain a maximum of 10 % precious metal.
  • They’re not for personal decoration.

 

Melter-assayer
Refines, melts and assays bars or sheets of precious metals, in legally authorised offices and laboratories, to supply other economic operators in the jewellery sector.

 

Industrial goldsmith
Produces articles of precious metal for sale, in a factory or workshop.

 

Lender
In addition to the activity of loans guaranteed by collateral, lenders exhibit and sell articles of precious metal directly to the public, which have been given as collateral.

 

Retailer buying and selling used articles of precious metal
They have an establishment open to the public, where:

 

  • used articles of precious metal are bought and sold
  • subproducts resulting from the casting of articles of precious metals are sold.

 

Jewellery Retailer
Sells one or more of the following articles directly to the public:

 

  • articles of precious metals
  • special interest articles
  • used articles.

 

The sale may take place in an establishment or by means without an establishment (e.g. at fairs, on the street or by distance selling).

2. How can I gain access to the activity of “jewellery wholesaler”, “jewellery retailer” or “retailer for the purchase and sale of used articles of precious metal”?

To commence one of these activities, you will have to submit a “simple prior notification” to us and pay the respective fees.

 

Where?

 

The simple notification will shortly be available online through the Entrepreneur’s Helpdesk. It should be made at one of the assay offices until this service is available:

 

Assay officeSimple prior notification submission methodsicação prévia
Lisbon assay officeIn person
Edifício Casa da Moeda
Av. António José de Almeida
1000-042 Lisbon by email
[email protected]
Porto Assay OfficeIn person
Rua Visconde de Bóbeda
4000-109 Porto by email
[email protected]
Gondomar BranchIn person
Praceta de S. Francisco, 21/25
4420-315 Gondomar

 

Required information and documents
The following information and documents (except those already submitted to request approval of the sponsor’s mark) must be submitted for each establishment:

 

  • the name of the entity or person carrying out the activity
  • the legal person identification number (if an entity) or the tax identification number (if a person)
  • the access code for the permanent business registration certificate (if an entity) or the declaration of commencement of activity (if a natural person)
  • the classification of economic activities (CAE) of the main activity and ancillary parts
  • the opening date of the business establishment (if it has an establishment) or the activity start date (if there is no commercial establishment)
  • the address of the commercial establishment (or warehouse) where the main activity is carried out, and any applicable ancillary parts
  • the dimensions of the retail area of the commercial establishment or premises where the ancillary part is performed, if applicable
  • the type of sale without commercial establishment (for example: at fairs, in the street and at a distance), if applicable
  • the website through which the articles are sold, if applicable
    or proof of ownership or legal occupancy (e.g.: land registry certificate or lease agreement) of the premises where the activity is to be carried out, if applicable,
    proof of approval of the sponsor’s mark, if applicable
  • the declaration of suitability (see FAQ no. 7).

 

How do I prove that I have a title for the activity?
Just submit the receipts for the simple prior notification and pay the fee.

3. How can I gain access to the activity of “lender”?

In order to exhibit and sell articles of precious metal that have been provided as collateral directly to the public, you must submit a “simple prior notification” to us and pay the respective fees.

 

Where?

The simple notification will shortly be available online through the Entrepreneur’s Helpdesk. It should be made at one of the assay offices until this service is available:

 

Assay officeSimple prior notification submission methods
Lisbon assay officeIn person
Edifício Casa da Moeda
Av. António José de Almeida
1000-042 Lisbon by email
[email protected]
 Porto  assay officeIn person
Rua Visconde de Bóbeda
4000-109 Porto
by email
[email protected]
Gondomar BranchIn person
Praceta de S. Francisco, 21/25
4420-315 Gondomar

 

Required information and documents

The following information and documents (except those already submitted to request approval of the sponsor’s mark) must be submitted for each establishment:

 

  • the name of the entity or person carrying out the activity
  • the legal person identification number (if an entity) or the tax identification number (if a person)
  • the access code for the permanent business registration certificate (if an entity) or the declaration of commencement of activity (if a natural person)
  • the classification of economic activities (CAE) of the main activity and ancillary parts
  • the opening date of the business establishment (if it has an establishment) or the activity start date (if there is no commercial establishment)
  • the address of the commercial establishment where the main activity is carried out, and any applicable ancillary parts
  • the dimensions of the retail area of the commercial establishment or premises where the ancillary part is performed, if applicable
  • proof of ownership or legal occupancy (e.g.: land registry certificate or lease agreement) of the premises where the activity is to be carried out, if applicable
  • proof of holding an authorisation title to carry out the activity of a lender, issued by the Directorate General of Economic Activities
  • the declaration of suitability (see FAQ no. 7).

 

How do I prove that I have a title for the activity?

Just submit the receipts for the simple prior notification and pay the fee.

4. How can I gain access to the activities of “artist”, “melter-assayer” or “industrial goldsmith”?

Before commencing one of these activities, you will have to submit a “simple prior notification” to us and pay the respective fees.

 

Where?

 

The simple notification will shortly be available online through the Entrepreneur’s Helpdesk. It should be made at one of the assay offices until this service is available:

 

Assay officeSimple prior notification submission methods
Lisbon assay officeIn person
Edifício Casa da Moeda
Av. António José de Almeida
1000-042 Lisbon by email
[email protected]
 Porto  assay officeIn person
Rua Visconde de Bóbeda
4000-109 Porto
by email
[email protected]
Gondomar BranchIn person
Praceta de S. Francisco, 21/25
4420-315 Gondomar

 

Required information and documents

 

The following information and documents (except those already submitted to request approval of the sponsor’s mark) must be submitted for each establishment:

 

  • the name of the entity or person carrying out the activity
  • the legal person identification number (if an entity) or the tax identification number (if a person)
  • the access code for the permanent business registration certificate (if an entity) or the declaration of commencement of activity (if a natural person)
  • the classification of economic activities (CAE) of the main activity and ancillary parts
  • the opening date of the establishment
  • the address of the establishment where the main activity is carried out, and any applicable ancillary parts
  • the dimensions of the area of the establishment or premises where the ancillary part is performed, if applicable
  • proof of ownership or legal occupancy (e.g.: land registry certificate or lease agreement) of the premises where the activity is to be carried out
  • or proof of approval of the sponsor’s mark
  • the declaration of suitability (see FAQ no. 7)
  • proof that you hold one of the following industrial activity licenses, from the Responsible Industry System (SIR), which you must request through the SIR platform, accessible through the Entrepreneur’s Helpdesk:
    • digital operating title (type 3)
    • digital installation and operating title (type 2)
    • installation and operating permits (type 1).

 

How do I prove that I have a title for the activity?

 

Just submit the receipts for the simple prior notification and pay the fee.

5. What is the validity period of titles that allow the activity to be carried out?

The titles are not valid. Therefore they don’t need to be renewed.

6. What does it mean to be suitable, or to be considered a suitable person?

To be considered a suitable person under the scope of the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC), you

 

must not be in any of the following situations

 

The person or entity may not:

 

  • have been declared insolvent by a court within the last five years
  • be in the process of liquidation, winding-up or closure of the activity
  • be subject to a preventive asset liquidation measure, in a similar situation or have a pending process of this nature (not applicable if covered by a special business recovery plan).

 

Have a record of a conviction for any of the following crimes

 

The person or entity may not have convictions in the criminal record for:

 

  • crime against property
  • crime of precious metal or gem trafficking
  • crime of criminal association
  • drug trafficking crime
  • money laundering crime
  • corruption crime
  • crime of counterfeiting
  • influence peddling crime
  • tax or customs crimes, provided for in the RGIT – General Regime of Tax Infractions
  • scams
  • fraud for obtaining an assay office mark, a sponsor’s mark or the respective formats
  • counterfeiting or imitation and illegal use of assay office marks.

 

It should be noted that:

 

  • only final convictions (i.e. no longer subject to appeal) are taken into account
  • only crimes which are punishable with a prison sentence of more than six months are considered
  • convictions in Portugal and abroad are taken into account
  • in the case of an entity, the suitability assessment is performed based on the criminal records of its administrators, directors or managers.

7. Is there a template for the suitability declaration?

Yes, you can use one of these texts found in annexes I and II of Directive no. 333-B/2017, of 3 November.

 

Text for legal persons (if an entity is making the simple prior notification)

 

“(Name), with tax identification number…, holder of citizen card/identity card no. …, in his/her capacity as…, of the company …, with head offices at …, with tax identification number … hereby swears on oath, under the terms and for the effects provided for in articles 30 and 42(1) of the legal regime for goldsmiths and assay offices approved by Law no. 98/2015, of 18 August, with the text given by Decree-Law no. 120/2017, of 15 September, and in article 4(k) of Directive no. 333-B/2017, of 3 November, that he/she is not in any of the situations that would make him/her or the company that he/she represents unsuitable under the terms of article 30 of the RJOC, and undertakes to inform the head of the assay office in the event of any supervening situation of unsuitability as provided for in that legislation.”

 

Text for natural persons (if an individual is making the simple prior notification)

 

“(Name), with tax identification number …, holder of citizen card/identity card no. …, residing at …, hereby makes a declaration under oath, under the terms and for the effects provided for in Articles 30 and 42(1) of the legal regime for goldsmiths and assay offices, approved by Law no. 98/2015, of 18 August, with the text given by Decree-Law no. 120/2017, of 15 September, in article 4(k) of Directive no. 333-B/2017, of 3 November, that he/she is not in any of the situations that would make him/her or the company that he/she represents unsuitable under the terms of article 30 of the RJOC, and undertakes to inform the head of the assay office in the event of any supervening situation of unsuitability as provided for in that legislation.”

8. What is the SIR licence?

The SIR (Responsible Industry System) defines the rules that must be followed by anybody who carries out an industrial activity. In the case of the activities regulated by the RJOC, “jewellery artists”, “melter-assayers” and “industrial goldsmiths” must have this licence.

This licensing is processed on the SIR platform that can be accessed through the Entrepreneur’s Helpdesk.

9. I already have an activity license. What do I have to do?

The assay offices automatically convert your licence to the current activity titles, free of charge. Your current licence remains valid until this conversion is complete. Use this table to confirm how the conversion is done and whether you have to submit more documents:

This licence
RJOC annexed to Law no. 98/2015
Is converted by a simple notification of the following activities
RJOC annexed to Decree-Law no. 120/2017
“Jewellery artist”“Artist” and/or “Industrial goldsmith”
Keep the following in mind:

  • If the activity does not fall into the framework of that stipulated for the activity of an “artist” (see FAQ no. 1, the licence is converted to that of an “industrial goldsmith”. However, can I keep both activities? one as the main activity and the other as an ancillary part.

Before converting the license, the assay offices may contact you to ask for proof of the industrial activity licence, from the Responsible Industry System (SIR).

“Jewellery wholesaler”“Jewellery wholesaler”
“Pawn shop”“Lender”
“Jewellery broker”“Jewellery wholesaler”
“Melter-assayer”“Melter-assayer”

Before converting the license, the assay offices may contact you to ask for proof of the industrial activity licence, from the Responsible Industry System (SIR).

“Industrial goldsmith”“Industrial goldsmith”

Before converting the license, the assay offices may contact you to ask for proof of the industrial activity licence, from the Responsible Industry System (SIR).

“Importer of precious metal articles”“Jewellery wholesaler”
“Jewellery retailer with establishment”“Jewellery retailer”
“Jewellery retailer without establishment”“Jewellery retailer”, for the respective type of sale without an establishment.
“Retailer for the purchase and sale of used articles of precious metal”“Retailer for the purchase and sale of used articles of precious metal”

 

What happens if you have several licenses?

 

If you have more than one activity licence for the same establishment, you will get only one activity title covering all of the activities (main activity and ancillary parts). The assay offices will contact you to ask which is the main activity and what the ancillary parts are. You will then be sent information about how the licence was converted.

10. Can I use the services of any assay office?

Yes. You can use the services of any assay office, regardless of the location of your establishment. Any citizen may also use the services of the assay offices, without any geographical limitation.

 

See assay office contacts

11. What is the maximum weight of an article of precious metal to be exempt from an assay office mark?

The assay office mark exemption depends on the total weight of the article. All of the component metals (precious and non-precious) are weighed to calculate the total weight of an article, with the exception of non-metallic materials.

 

The following exemptions exist:

Article fully or partially consisting of:Exempt with total weight equal to or less than:
Gold0,5 grams
Platinum0,5 grams
Silver2 grams

 

It should be noted that:

 

  • if the article is made up of silver and gold or silver and platinum, the total weight must be 0.5 grams or less for it to be exempt;
  • articles must always be presented in one piece for weighing (with precious and non-precious metals).

12. When are the assay and assay office mark optional?

The assay and assay office mark are optional for:

 

Artist artefacts

 

Precious metal artefacts that meet all of the following conditions:

 

  • Produced and signed by an artist.
  • Unique or limited edition for sale.
  • A production limit of 15 articles per year.
  • Contain a maximum of 10 % precious metal.
  • They’re not for personal decoration.

 

Special interest jewellery artefacts

 

Precious metal artefacts that meet all of the following conditions:

 

  • Of recognized archaeological, historical or artistic merit, manufactured prior to 1882.
  • Bear marks of closed municipal assay offices.

 

Used articles of precious metal

 

Articles of precious metal sold second hand, proven to be older than 50 years.

 

Raw materials intended for manufacturing objects

 

For example, bars, plates, sheets, laminates, wires, bands or tubes, provided that they are not intended for sale directly to the public.

13. Are articles exempt from the assay office mark also exempt from the sponsor's mark?

No. Articles must always have a sponsor’s mark before being sold. The sponsor’s mark is the mark identifying the economic operator who puts the article of precious metal on the market.

14. Can an assay office mark be applied to an article that is exempt from this mark?

Yes. The assay office mark can be applied as an option when the sponsor’s mark is applied.

15. Are mixed gold and silver items exempt from the assay office mark?

They are only exempt if they have a total weight of 0.5 grams or less. The total weight takes into account all the precious and non-precious metals that make up the article. For more information, see FAQ No. 11.

16. What activities are required to use a sponsor's mark?

The following activities are required to use a sponsor’s mark:

 

  • “industrial goldsmith”
  • “artist”
  • “melter-assayer”
  • “jewellery wholesaler” to mark articles of precious metal from other countries and that have not been legalised to be put onto the market
  • “jewellery retailer”, with or without an establishment to mark articles of precious metal from other countries and that have not been legalised to be put onto the market.

17. What activity title should be held by a wholesaler who purchases articles of precious metal from overseas?

He/she must hold the activity title of “jewellery wholesaler”. The amendment to the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC) (annexed to Decree-Law no. 120/2017) allows anybody exercising this activity to purchase articles of precious metal to sell to national or international economic operators.

18. Does the “lender” activity title allow the purchase of used articles of precious metal?

No. The “lender” activity title only allows the public exhibition and sale of articles of precious metal and coins of precious metal that have been given as collateral.

19. What activity title is required to sell articles at trade fairs, door-to-door, online or through other means of distance communication?

A “jewellery retailer” activity title must be held for each of the types of sale without an establishment.

20. Does a valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials have to be at the point of sale?

No. It is sufficient to have a list of INCM registered valuers so that the customer can select one if they wish to value the article before buying or selling it.

 

See the list of INCM registered valuers

21. How much do the services of a valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials cost?

Each valuer is free to set the price of his/her service.

22. Is a technical manager required for performing the melter-assayer activity?

Yes. The technical manager must hold a professional title of “melter-assayer technical manager”.

23. What are the obligations of the melter-assayer?

  • Mark the bars or sheets with the sponsor’s mark.
  • Mark the bars or sheets with punches indicating the precious metals that are present and their respective finenesses.
  • Issue an assay report for each bar or sheet that he/she melts and assays, with the design of the printed sponsor’s mark, the assay registration number, the assayed fineness and the weight of the bar or sheet.
  • If you suspect that the precious metal objects or fragments you have been given to melt have archaeological, historical or artistic value, you should not melt them and should report this situation to the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage and the police.
  • If you suspect that the precious metal objects or fragments that you have been given to melt are of criminal origin, you should not melt them and you should report this situation to the police.
  • If you are given used objects to melt, you must require written proof that the economic operator that gave them to you reported the existence of these objects to the Judicial Police at least 20 days ago.

24. Does the melter-assayer have to respect the REACH regulation?

Yes. The melter-assayer is liable if the bars or sheets melted at his/her facilities do not comply with the REACH regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals.

 

More information about the REACH regulation

25. Do used articles of precious metal have to be assayed and marked to be sold at auction?

  • The following are required to sell used articles of precious metal at auction:
    1. Guarantee the assay and marking of articles

     

    The items to be auctioned must be marked by an assay office. If they are not marked, the owner or auctioneer are responsible for requesting their assay and marking. Assay and marking are optional for:

     

    • jewellery artefacts of special interest– jewellery artefacts of recognised archaeological, historical or artistic merit, that are manufactured prior to 1882, or artefacts containing marks of closed municipal assay offices
    • used precious metal articles– articles of precious metal sold second hand, proven to be older than 50 years.

     

    1. Reporting the auction to official entities

     

    The lender or auctioneer responsible for the auction must send information about the auction (items to be auctioned, date and place) 20 days in advance to the following entities:

     

26. Can the “industrial goldsmith” and “artist” sell the articles of precious metal that they produce to the public?

No. To do this, they will have to obtain a title for the “jewellery retailer” activity (see FAQ no. 2).

27. Do Assay Offices have information or provide clarifications about the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC)?

Yes. You can get information or clarifications by the following means:

 

Infotainment

 

On the INCM website at https://www.incm.pt/portal/uco_atividade.jsp

 

By email

 

By writing to the following addresses:

 

At the customer service locations

 

  • Lisbon Assay Office – Edifício Casa da Moeda, Av. António José de Almeida – 1000-042 Lisbon.
  • Porto Assay Office – Rua Visconde de Bóbeda – 4000-109 Porto.
  • Gondomar Branch – Praceta de S. Francisco, 21/25 – 4420-315 Gondomar.

28. Are auctioneers equivalent to “jewellery retailers” with establishments and do they require a valuer?

No. The Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC) does not regulate the activity of auctioneers, who must obey the Legal Regime for Auctioneering Activity (Decree-Law no. 155/2015). However, the auctioning of articles of precious metals must take into account the rules of the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC) (See FAQ no. 29).

29. What are the rules for auctioning articles of precious metals?

The following are required to sell used articles of precious metal at auction:

 

  1. Guarantee the assay and marking of articles
    The articles to be auctioned must be marked by an assay office. If they are not marked, the owner or auctioneer are responsible for requesting their assay and marking. Assay and marking are optional for:

      • jewellery artefacts of special interest– jewellery artefacts of recognised archaeological, historical or artistic merit, manufactured prior to 1882, or artefacts containing marks of closed municipal assay offices;
      • used precious metal articles– articles of precious metal sold second hand, proven to be older than 50 years.

    If the article comes from another European Union Member State or Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, the rules set out in article 11(4) and (5) of the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC) annexed to Decree-Law no. 120/2017 apply.

  2. A scale and a magnifying glass must be available
    The following must be available to the public at the point of sale:

      • a scale inspected by the competent authorities (metrological control)
      • a magnifying glass.

    This equipment is not necessary if the auction is held at premises or public sale establishments of artists and jewellery retailers exclusively selling:

        • special interest jewellery artefacts
        • used articles of precious metal, proven to be over 50 years old.

     

  3. Report the auction to official entities
    The lender or auctioneer responsible for the auction must send information about the auction (items to be auctioned, date and place) 20 days in advance to the following entities:

  4. Provide information about the article
    Each article must be accompanied by the following information:

      • indication that it is for sale at auction
      • value of the minimum bid
      • characteristics of its component precious metals (type of metal, fineness, nature and weight)
      • other relevant characteristics of the article.

    This information can be provided in hard copy or digital format.

  5. Auction the articles individually, as sets or in lots
    Articles must be auctioned:

      • individually
      • in an individual set of identical pieces
      • in lots, but only if they are items of collateral (the lots may never exceed objections given in six collateral contracts).

     

  6. Keep an electronic record of articles to be auctioned or sold
    The auctioneer must keep an electronic record of mandatory communications submitted to the Judicial Police department in the area of its establishment (see FAQ no. 85).
  7. Use only permitted means of payment
    There is a maximum value for cash payments, which can be seen on the following table. If the amount to be paid is higher, payment must be made electronically (e.g.: bank card), by bank transfer or by cheque (indicating the beneficiary):

      PurchaserMaximum amount that can be
    paid in cash
    • Entity subject to corporation tax (IRC)
    • Person subject to IRS, who has or should have organised accounts
    1.000 €
    • Natural person resident in Portugal
    3.000 €
    • Person not resident in Portugal and not acting as a business person or trader
    10.000 €

    These limits are identical to those applicable by law to any commercial activity.

30. Can “jewellery retailers” import items from countries other than Member States of the European Union and sell them to the public?

Yes. It may import articles and sell them to the public.

31. Can articles of precious metal only be submitted to the assay office by holders of sponsor's marks?

No. Even if you do not have a sponsor’s mark, the owner or guardian of the following articles must submit them to the assay office for assay and application of the assay office mark:

 

  • duty-free goods
  • articles imported by private individuals for personal use
  • seized articles of precious metal (these must be submitted by competent official entities)
  • used articles of precious metal (must be submitted by auctioneers, lenders or retailers for the purchase and sale of used articles of precious metal)
  • articles of precious metal intended for auction (must be submitted by the owners).

32. What are the obligations set out in the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC) for those exempted from registration and licensing under the scope of the assay office regulation?

Entities that were exempt from registration and licensing, such as banks and other credit institutions, have been under the obligation to hold an activity licence since 2015 (article 3 of Law no. 98/2015, of 18 August). Therefore, all entities that are not yet licensed must obtain an activity title (see FAQ nos. 1 to 4).

33. Does an item with 4 grams of silver and 0.4 grams of gold need an assay office mark? If so, are both metals marked or just one?

The article has to be marked because its total weight (4.4 grams) exceeds the weight up to which gold articles are exempt from marking (0.5 grams). In this case, both metals are marked. For more information, see FAQ No. 11.

 

Even if exempt from an assay office mark, articles must always have a sponsor’s mark.

34. What activity titles must be held by anybody who purchases precious metals to recycle and sell them?

The required activity titles depend on the characteristics of the activity of the economic operator who buys, recycles and sells the metals. Confirm the titles on the following table:

Characteristics of the operator’s activityRequired activity titles
  • Uses an external melter-assayer to recycle the materials.
  • Sells the recycled metal to industries or other operators in the jewellery sector.
  • Does not sell the recycled material to the public (individuals).
Requires a “jewellery wholesaler” title.
  • Recycles the materials himself/herself (does not use an external melter-assayer).
  • Sells the recycled metal to industries or other operators in the jewellery sector.
  • Does not sell the recycled material to the public (individuals).
Requires these two titles:

  • “jewellery wholesaler”
  • “melter-assayer”.
  • Recycles the materials himself/herself (does not use an external melter-assayer).
  • Sells the recycled metal:
    • to industries or other operators from the jewellery sector
    • to the public (individuals).
Requires these three titles:

  • “jewellery wholesaler”
  • “melter-assayer”
  • “Retailer for the purchase and sale of used articles of precious metal”

35. Do recycled precious metals have to be assayed and marked?

The assay and marking of bars of precious material resulting from recycling are:

 

  • mandatory– if the bars are sold to the public
  • optional– if the bars are sold as raw material to other economic operators in the jewellery sector.

36. What is required to be a melter-assayer technical manager?

It is necessary to hold a professional title of “melter-assayer technical manager”.

The following is required to obtain the title:

  • be considered a suitable person (see FAQ no. 6)
  • pass the melter-assayer technical manager examination.

The rules for obtaining this professional title are set out in Directive 333-B/2017, of 3 November.

37. What are the requirements to be a valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials?

It is necessary to hold the “valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials” professional title.

 

The following is required to obtain the title:

  • be considered a suitable person (see FAQ no. 6)
  • pass the examination to become a valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials.

The rules for obtaining this professional title are set out in Directive 333-B/2017, of 3 November.

38. How can I take the melter-assayer technical manager examination?

Where to submit the application

You must submit your examination application at one of the assay offices, either in person or by email.

 

Required documents

The following documents must be submitted with the application:

  • registration form (download form)
  • updated criminal record certificate
  • one of the following two qualification certificates:
    • completion of the 12th year of schooling in the scientific-humanities courses, with a pass in the discipline of chemistry
    • completion of a qualification obtained through one of the double certification modalities of the Portuguese education and training system, including chemistry content, and that awards a qualification level 4 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF)
  • Certificate of qualifications proving the completion of the following short-term training units (UFCD) of the National Qualifications Catalogue (NQC), obtained through the assay offices or another certified entity:
    • UFCD 10644  –  Qualitative assay of precious metals (25 hours)
    • UFCD 8967 – Quantitative assay and casting of precious metals (50 hours)
  • Declaration of suitability (see FAQ no. 7).

39. How can I apply for the examination to become a valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials?

Where to submit the application

You must submit your examination application at one of the assay offices, either in person or by email.

 

Required documents

The following documents must be submitted with the application:

  • registration form (download form)
  • updated criminal record certificate
  • certificate proving the completion of the 12th year of schooling obtained through one of the modalities of scientific-humanities or double certification, with level 3 or 4 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF);
  • Certificate of qualifications proving the completion of the following short-term training units (UFCD) of the National Qualifications Catalogue (NQC), obtained through the assay offices or another certified entity:
    • UFCD: 10644  –  Qualitative assay of precious metals (25 hours)
    • UFCD 10645 – Valuation of articles of precious metals (50 hours)
    • UFCD 10646 – Gemological materials (50 hours).
  • declaration of suitability (see FAQ no. 7).

40. What is a double certification qualification?

It is a qualification that provides two certifications:

  • a professional certification
  • a non-higher level school certification.

These qualifications can be obtained by taking a training course at one of the following entities:

  • a training entity forming part of the National Qualifications System (NQS) network
  • a Professional Teaching and Qualification Centre (PTQC).

41. What is the National Qualifications Catalogue (NQC)?

An official document defining the Short Term Training Units (UFCD) necessary to obtain a national double certification qualification at a non-higher level.

42. If I have a qualification in the area of jewellery, other than UFCD 10644 10645, 10646 or 8967, can I apply for the examination to obtain the professional title?

No. You must have the necessary UFCD, which you can obtain if you attend a training course at our assay office unit or through another certified entity:

 

Desired professional titleRequired UFCD (published in the
Work and Employment Bulletin of 15/02/2020
Melter-assayer technical manager
  • UFCD: 10644  –  Qualitative assay of precious metals (25 hours),
  • UFCD: 8967 – Quantitative assay and casting of precious metals (50 hours).
Valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials
  • UFCD: 10644  –  Qualitative assay of precious metals (25 hours),
  • UFCD 10645 – Valuation of articles of precious metals  (50 hours)
  • UFCD 10646 – Gemological materials (50 horas).

43. Is there a minimum level of education for attending the UFCD 10644, 10645, 10646 or 8967?

Yes. To attend the training course, you must have completed at least the 3rd cycle of basic education (9th year of schooling or equivalent).

44. Is there a minimum age for attending the UFCD?

Yes. To attend the training course, you need to be at least 18 years old when you start the course.

45. Are UFCD 10644, 10645, 10646 or 8967 published in the National Qualifications Catalogue (NQC)?

46. How can I find out the date and location of the next UFCD 10644, 10645, 10646 or 8967 training courses?

Our Assay Office unit runs training courses in the following areas:

  • testing and casting
  • valuation of precious metals and gemological materials.

The courses and their conditions (program, date, location and cost) are announced on our website.

47. Can the professional titles of melter-assayer and valuer be suspended?

Titles can be suspended in three situations:

  1. If the holder is no longer considered a suitable person
  2. If the holder has committed a serious or very serious administrative offence as provided for in the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices RJOC and fined, the INCM or ASAE (Food and Economic Safety Authority) may also suspend his/her activity title if:
    • the holder is convicted, without any possibility of appeal, of a crime related to the activity that is carried out
    • it is proven, during administrative offence proceedings, that the holder repeatedly and seriously failed to follow the rules of the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC).
  3. If the holder makes more than two proven errors in the values of the valuations that he/she performs, even if this is due to negligence, the ASAE may suspend his/her title after an INCM hearing.

Suspended titles must be handed in to an assay office.

48. I was a melter-assayer or official valuer before the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC) (annex to Decree-Law no. 120/2017). Do I have to do anything?

No. If you have a registration to perform the activity, under the scope of the Assay Office Regulation (Decree-Law 391/79), it is automatically converted to the functions defined in the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC):

  • the melter-assayers will now have the functions assigned to the melter-assayer technical managers
  • the official valuers will now have the functions assigned to the valuers of articles of precious metals and gemological materials.

49. What are the functions of a melter-assayer technical manager?

A melter-assayer technical manager must ensure strict technical control over the activity of operators in the jewellery sector who test and cast precious metals. Their main functions are:

  • to assay precious metals according to the assay methods defined in the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC)
  • sign the test report issued for each bar or sheet that is cast and assayed
  • ensure the correct marking of the bars or sheets with:
    • the sponsor’s punch
    • punches indicating the precious metals that are present and their respective finenesses
  • melt precious metals to ensure homogeneity
  • refine the precious metals.

50. What are the functions of a valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials?

The valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials has the following functions:

 

  • value articles of precious metals
  • value gemological materials
  • for the purpose of exemption from customs duties, check articles of precious metals subject to a re-import or temporary import and export regime.

He/she is under the obligation to follow these rules:

  • issue certificates for any valuations that are made
  • keep an electronic record of valuations that are made, with the following information:
    • sequential order number
    • designation, quality, quantity and weight of the valued objects
    • designation of gemological materials
    • the name and address of the person requesting the valuation
    • the valuation and the amount charged for the valuation
  • must not value bars of precious metal that are not marked by the assay offices or by an independent testing and marking organisation recognised in accordance with the definition in the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC) [article 3(gg), and articles 7 and 8 of the RJOC annexed to Decree-Law no. 120/2017].

Valuers are responsible to the injured parties for any damages resulting:

  • from errors that they make in the valuations that they perform
  • from deviations in their valuations that exceed:
    • 1 % of its value, for bars
    • 10 % of its value, for artefacts without gemological material
    • 20 % of its value, for gemological materials or for the set of artefacts in which they are encrusted.

51. What precious metals exist and what are their legal finenesses?

Precious metals that form part of the composition of articles of precious metal to be put onto the market in Portugal have the following legal finenesses:

 

Precious metalLegal Finenesses
Platinum999 ‰, 950 ‰, 900 ‰, 850 ‰
Gold999 ‰, 916 ‰, 800 ‰, 750 ‰, 585 ‰, 375 ‰
Palladium999 ‰, 950 ‰, 500 ‰
Silver999 ‰, 925 ‰ 835 ‰, 830 ‰, 800 ‰

52. What are the legal finenesses of used articles of precious metal that are proven to be over 50 years old?

At the request of the interested party, any used articles proven to be over 50 years old can have the following approximate finenesses, with tolerances of 10 (per thousand) for clean metal.

 

  • Gold fineness: 800 ‰
  • Silver fineness: 833 ‰
  • Gold watches, glasses and bezels: 750 ‰
  • Platinum fineness: 500 ‰

 

These legal finenesses came into force on 31 October 2019 (in other words, two years after the publication of Directive no. 333-B/2017, of 31 October).

53. What assay office marks need to be applied to used articles of precious metal that are proven to be over 50 years old?

Type of articleApplied assay office mark
Platinum articles with a 500 ‰ finenessA butterfly based on the number 500
Gold articles with 800 ‰ finenessA dragonfly based on the number 800
Silver articles with a 833 ‰ finenessA ladybird based on the number 833
Gold watches, glasses and bezelsA bee based on the number 750

54. What are composite artefacts?

Composite artefacts are those whose composition includes precious metals and non-precious metals:

 

  • articles with precious metal parts and ordinary metal parts
  • watches with precious metal cases and ordinary metal workings
  • watches with ordinary metal cases and precious metal workings.

55. What are the technical rules for composite artefacts?

In composite artefacts:

 

  • the ordinary metal:
    • must be visible and distinguishable by colour
    • should not be used for technical reasons

 

  • the precious metal:
    • must be of a thickness that allows the legal fineness of the alloy to be determined by one of the analysis methods used by the Assay Offices (see FAQ no. 58)
    • if applicable, each metal must have at least the minimum required fineness (articles 14 or 15 of the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC) annexed to Decree-Law 120/2017).

56. What are mixed artefacts?

Mixed artefacts are artefacts consisting of different types of precious metals.

57. What are the legal finenesses of special interest jewellery artefacts?

If it is necessary to mark the artefact, the following rules apply:

Nature of the artefactLegal fineness
Special interest jewellery artefacts marked with punches of former municipal assay officesMetal fineness may not be less than 750 ‰
Special interest jewellery artefacts of recognised archaeological, historical or artistic merit, manufactured before 1882Metal fineness may not be less than 375 ‰

58. What analysis methods does the assay office use to determine fineness?

The assay office must use the most appropriate analysis method. The methods are described below:

Precious metalMethod used
GoldCupellation or microcupellation
SilverPotentiometric titration
PlatinumInductive Plasma Emission Spectroscopy (ICP)
PalladiumInductive Plasma Emission Spectroscopy (ICP)
All precious materialsX-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy

 

However, the Assay Office director may authorize the use of other analysis methods that are:

 

  • justified by scientific and technical advances
  • technically justified, if proposed by the laboratories and subject to the opinion of the heads of the assay office.

 

In each assay, the number of assay samples from each bar and the number of assayed articles of precious metal in each batch are as deemed necessary and sufficient to allow the assay office to conclude the following:

 

  • the homogeneity of the alloy over the entire length of the bar
  • the homogeneity of the batch, based on specific sampling criteria defined for that batch.

59. What are the technical rules for mixed artefacts?

In mixed artefacts:

 

  • the different precious metals must be distinguishable by colour
  • if applicable, each metal must have at least the minimum required fineness (articles 14 or 15 of the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC) annexed to Decree-Law 120/2017).
  • precious metal parts should only be marked if their thickness allows the legal fineness of the alloy to be determined by one of the analysis methods used by the Assay Offices (see FAQ no. 58).

60. What are artist artefacts?

Precious metal artefacts that meet all of the following conditions:

 

  • Produced and signed by an artist.
  • Unique or limited edition for sale.
  • A production limit of 15 articles per year.
  • Contain a maximum of 10 % precious metal.
  • They’re not for personal decoration.

61. Should economic operators in the jewellery sector respect the REACH regulation?

Yes. Holders of sponsor’s mark must respect the REACH regulations, provided that the articles that they put onto the market contain substances subject to the rules of this regulation.

 

More information about the REACH regulation

62. What is the minimum precious metal fineness of special interest jewellery artefacts marked with punches of former municipal assay offices?

The minimum fineness is 750 thousandths.

63. What is the minimum precious metal fineness of special interest jewellery artefacts of recognised archaeological, historical or artistic merit, manufactured before 1882?

The minimum fineness is 375 thousandths.

64. What is required to request the assay and marking of special interest jewellery artefacts?

A jewellery artefact of recognised archaeological, historical or artistic merit, manufactured before 1882, may be submitted to an assay office for assay and marking. For this purpose, it must be accompanied by:

 

  • a certificate proving its age, with a photograph of the artefact, issued by an external expert
  • the CV of the external expert.

 

Additionally, the assay offices may:

  • call upon another external expert or the Directorate General for Cultural Heritage
  • request an opinion from the Goldsmith Advisory Board.

65. What is the difference between “articles of precious metal” and “artefacts of precious metal or jewellery artefacts”?

“Articles of precious metal” include “artefacts of precious metal or jewellery artefacts”.

 

Articles of precious metal

The following are considered as articles of precious metal:

  • artefacts of precious metal or jewellery artefacts
  • composite artefacts
  • medals and precious metal commemorative objects
  • precious metal bars.

 

Artefacts of precious metal or jewellery artefacts

 

  • These can all be defined as “precious metal articles”.
  • These are artefacts consisting of precious metals or alloys of these metals, undecorated or decorated with stones, pearls, enamels or other non-metallic materials.
  • They include mixed precious metal artefacts and precious metal watches with cases made of precious metal (composite artefacts, medals and precious metal commemorative objects, and precious metal bars are not included).
  • Coated or plated articles whose base metal is a precious metal with a legal fineness are included.

66. What is the difference between “articles of precious metal” and “artefacts of precious metal or jewellery artefacts”?

Articles must be made such as to reduce the number of welds to the minimum strictly necessary; the rules set out in article 3 of Directive no. 374-A/2017, of 31 October, must be complied with.

 

The welds that are used must have the same legal fineness, with the following exceptions:

LocationException
In the filigree and gold watch casesThe use of gold welds is permitted with a difference of less than 10 ‰
In gold artefacts with fineness of 916 ‰ or higherThe use of gold welds with a fineness of 750 ‰ or higher is permitted
In white gold articlesThe fineness of gold welds is 585 ‰ or higher. Except for the 375 ‰ articles, in which the weld has the same fineness.
In silver artefacts with fineness of 925 ‰ or higherThe minimum fineness of silver solder is 650 ‰
In silver artefacts with a fineness of less than 925 ‰OThe minimum fineness of silver solder is 550 ‰
In platinum artefactsThe weld consists of precious metals with a minimum proportion of 800 ‰
In palladium artefactsThe weld consists of precious metals with a minimum proportion of 700 ‰

 

It should also be noted that:

  • any weld, including ordinary metal, can be used to weld precious metal to ordinary metal
  • other joining methods, such as laser welding or other technical feasible non-metallic joining methods may be used.

67. What coatings are authorised?

The following coatings are permitted:

Precious metal to be coatedPermitted coating
PlatinumRhodium, ruthenium and platinum
GoldRhodium, ruthenium, platinum and gold
PalladiumRhodium, ruthenium, platinum, gold and palladium
SilverRhodium, ruthenium, platinum, gold, palladium and silver

 

It should be noted that:

 

  • ordinary metal coatings over precious metal are not authorised, with the exception of cases indicated in the above table, where rhodium and ruthenium may be used.
  • surface chemical or heat treatments that change the colour of the alloy are permitted, provided that the fineness of the article is not altered by the coating.

 

Specific rules for mixed artefacts (made up of different precious metals)

The different metals that make up mixed artefacts must meet the following two conditions:

  • They may not be completely coated by any of the metals shown on the above table.
  • They may not be partially coated by any of the precious metals that make up the article

 

Specific rules for composite artefacts (consisting of precious metals and ordinary metals
The use of a precious metal coating on ordinary metal parts is not permitted on composite artefacts.

68. Are bilaminate or plated articles (precious metal and ordinary metal) composite artefacts?

No. Bilaminate or plated articles are not considered composite artefacts because:

  • composite artefacts are made up of precious metal parts and ordinary metal parts
  • bilaminate or plated articles are made from ordinary metal (aluminium or brass) coated with silver and they are therefore not considered as articles of precious metal and are not marked by assay offices.

69. What welds are permitted on gold chains manufactured by mechanical processes?

The following methods exist for making the assay office and sponsor’s marks:

  • punching
  • laser engraving
  • tagging (by stamping on tags)
  • any other marking method justified by advances in technology, provided that it is approved by the assay office director.

 

Economic operators may choose one of these methods for placing their sponsor’s mark. However, tagging is only permitted if the articles of precious metal are presented in aseptic packages. If the articles are not aseptically packaged, it is only possible to tag them if there are reasons to justify this, approved by the assay office director.

The marking method by tagging is in its implementation phase, which will be completed by 31 October 2019 (in other words, two years after the publication of Directive no. 374-A/2017, of 31 October).

70. If punching is not possible, what is the solution?

If the article cannot withstand punching, the assay office proposes one of the other methods:

  • laser engraving
  • tagging (by stamping on tags)
  • any other marking method justified by advances in technology, provided that it is approved by the assay office director

 

There are some specific rules for tagging:

  • It is only permitted if the articles of precious metal are presented in aseptic packages. If the articles are not aseptically packaged, it is only possible to tag them if there are reasons to justify this, approved by the assay office director.
  • Tagging may only be done by assay offices.

71. If an article has precious metal and ordinary metal, what mark is applied to distinguish the ordinary metal?

The mark to be applied depends on the type of article:

  • Composite artefacts (made up of precious metal and ordinary metal)must bear the mark “+ METAL” or “+M” to distinguish them from jewellery artefacts. This mark must be applied to the precious metal part, alongside the official mark.
  • Precious metal artefacts with an ordinary metal part, authorised due to technical reasonsmust be marked with “METAL” or “M”. This mark must be applied to the ordinary metal part.

72. Can I ask the assay offices to manufacture or refurbish my sponsor's punch?

Yes. The owner of a sponsor’s mark (or person authorised by the owner) may request the following from Assay Offices:

  • the manufacturing of sponsor’s dies and punches
  • the refurbishment of the sponsor’s punch (the die must be submitted for this purpose).

73. Can you put a trademark on an article of precious metal?

Yes, you can. Sponsor’s mark owners can mark their articles with their trademark (or with the trademark of others, if they are authorized to use it).

 

Trademarks can be affixed by marking, engraving or any other process.

74. What rules apply to trademarks?

Each item can only be marked with one trademark. This mark:

  • must be affixed to a place that is separate from the sponsor’s mark, to allow the assay office mark to be applied
  • must not be confusable with the assay office marks or the sponsor’s marks, and must not include any indication related to fineness.

75. Can other marks be applied? If so, what care should be taken?

Other marks may be applied. However, these marks:

  • must not be confusable with any other marks provided for in the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC)
  • must not indicate a fineness different to that represented by the assay office mark.

76. Can I send a composite artefact to an assay office with the precious metal parts already marked with “+METAL” and “+M”?

No. These marks can only be made by the assay office.

77. Is it possible to change an article after it has been marked by the assay office?

No. None of the following actions are possible once an article has been marked by the assay office:

  • adding or replacing any part or component
  • connecting it to other unmarked articles of precious metal.

If the article needs to be altered (e.g.: for repairs, such as enlarging a ring), it must be resubmitted to the assay offices to be assayed and marked. Any failure to submit the article is a very serious administrative offence.

78. I have an article consisting of several pieces, but they are not welded together. Do they all have to be marked?

Pieces which are usually components of other pieces (e.g. spring rings, carabiners, fasteners, latch springs and other items) must always be marked whenever they are submitted to the assay office without the other components (e.g. if the operator submits a batch of spring rings to be individually sold). Marking is only not necessary when they have a weight that exempts them from marking (FAQ no. 79).

79. I have an article of precious metal consisting of several pieces of precious metal. Is it mandatory to submit all the pieces to the assay office, even if their weight exempts them from marking?

The assay office mark exemption depends on the total weight of the article. All of the component metals (precious and non-precious) are weighed to calculate the total weight of an article, with the exception of non-metallic materials.

 

The following exemptions exist:

Article fully or partially consisting of:Exempt with total weight equal to or less than:
Gold0,5 grams
Platinum0,5 grams
Silver2 grams

 

It should be noted that:

  • if the article is made up of silver and gold or silver and platinum, the total weight must be 0.5 grams or less for it to be exempt;
  • articles must always be presented in one piece for weighing (with precious and non-precious metals)
  • in the case of articles containing parts that can be sold separately, these pieces may be weighed separately.

80. Can I apply the fineness marker to pieces that are exempt from marking?

You can. The application of the fineness marker is the responsibility of economic operators in the jewellery sector.

81. Can I ask an assay office to apply the fineness marker to pieces that are exempt from marking?

You can. The articles are assayed and the mark corresponding to the fineness determined by the assay is applied. This service has a cost.

82. What rules should I take into account to exhibit and sell articles of precious metal to the public?

Only articles of precious metal that are marked may be exhibited and sold to the public. You must provide certain information to exhibit or sell them. In particular, you must:

  • identify the precious metals and finenesses, the weight of the precious metal or metals and the types of gemological materials present
  • identify the country that governs the finenesses of each item on sale, if known
  • composite artefacts should bear the indication “consisting of precious metal and ordinary metal”
  • metal coated or plated artefacts should have the indication “coated/plated on ordinary metal”
  • if it is a watch bracelet or chain made from ordinary metal, it should have the indication “ordinary metal”
  • if it is a used article of precious metal, it should have the indication “used”.

 

This information:

  • must be provided, even if it is not requested by consumers
  • may be provided in hard copy or digital format.

83. Do all retailers have to display daily prices of precious metals?

Yes. All establishments selling articles of precious metals to the public must provide the daily prices of gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

These prices:

  • must be affixed, even if they are not requested by the consumers
  • may be provided in hard copy or digital format.
  • can be found on the Banco de Portugal

84. What activity title is needed to buy and sell new and used articles to the public?

A “jewellery retailer” activity title is required to sell articles to the public. However, if you want to buy items from private individuals, you need the title for the activity of “retailer for the purchase and sale of used articles of precious metal”.

85. What rules should be followed by anybody selling used precious metal?

Economic operators trading in used precious metal must submit records of the purchase and sale of used articles of precious metal to the Judiciary Police department in the area of their establishment. This information must be provided – by post, email or fax – using a form made available by the Judiciary Police.

In addition:

  • the articles may only be changed or sold (e.g: sold, exchanged, donated) 20 days after submitting the purchase records to the Judiciary Police
  • these records must be kept for 5 years
  • whenever necessary, they must provide these records to INCM, ASAE (Food and Economic Safety Authority) and to the Public Prosecution Service.

86. What is the maximum weight of an article of precious metal to be exempt from an assay office mark?

The assay office mark exemption depends on the total weight of the article. All of the component metals (precious and non-precious) are weighed to calculate the total weight of an article, with the exception of non-metallic materials.

The following exemptions exist:

Article fully or partially consisting of:Exempt with total weight equal to or less than:
Gold0,5 grams
Platinum0,5 grams
Silver2 grams

 

It should be noted that:

  • if the article is made up of silver and gold or silver and platinum, the total weight must be 0.5 grams or less for it to be exempt;
  • articles must always be presented in one piece for weighing (with precious and non-precious metals).

87. Are articles exempt from the assay office mark also exempt from the sponsor's mark?

No. Articles must always have a sponsor’s mark before being sold. The sponsor’s mark is the mark identifying the economic operator who puts the article of precious metal on the market.

88. Can an assay office mark be applied to an article that is exempt from this mark?

Yes. The assay office mark can be applied as an option when the sponsor’s mark is applied.

89. Are mixed gold and silver items exempt from the assay office mark?

They are only exempt if they have a total weight of 0.5 grams or less. The total weight takes into account all the precious and non-precious metals that make up the article. For more information, see FAQ No. 11.

90. I have an article of precious metal consisting of several pieces of precious metal. Is it mandatory to submit all the pieces to the assay office, even if their weight exempts them from marking?

The assay office mark exemption depends on the total weight of the article. All of the component metals (precious and non-precious) are weighed to calculate the total weight of an article, with the exception of non-metallic materials.

The following exemptions exist:

Article fully or partially consisting of:Exempt with total weight equal to or less than:
Gold0,5 grams
Platinum0,5 grams
Silver2 grams

 

It should be noted that:

  • if the article is made up of silver and gold or silver and platinum, the total weight must be 0.5 grams or less for it to be exempt;
  • articles must always be presented in one piece for weighing (with precious and non-precious metals)
  • in the case of articles containing parts that can be sold separately, these pieces may be weighed separately.

91. Can I apply the fineness marker to pieces that are exempt from marking?

You can. The application of the fineness marker is the responsibility of economic operators in the jewellery sector.

92. Can I ask an assay office to apply the fineness marker to pieces that are exempt from marking?

You can. The articles are assayed and the mark corresponding to the fineness determined by the assay is applied. This service has a cost.

93. What is credit granting?

It is a measure that allows the economic operator to pay invoices after the work is done with the aim of improving the Assay Office services, in particular the waiting time for customer service.

It is also a measure of economic support to the sector.

94. To whom does it apply?

It applies to all operators who, in the last 3 years, had an average invoicing of at least € 100,00/year.

95. What are the credit limits allocated?

The credit allocated depends on the average annual invoicing of each economic operator:

(Average annual billing time-lag)            Credit limit to be assigned

>€ 5,000/year                                              10% of the ascertained average amount

€ 1,500 – €5,000/year                                 € 500

€ 100 – € 1,500/year                                    € 100

< €100/year                                                   Not applicable

96. I have an average annual billing of € 4525.00. When the work is completed, how much may I have to pay later on?

You can pay up to € 500,00 within 30 days.

97. And if I'm a new client, can I have access to this measure?

Yes, new customers will be assigned credit limits according to the invoicing levels achieved.

98. I'm a new customer and I predict that I will reach the desired levels of billing. How can I have access to credit?

If you find that you will reach the billing levels described in the table above, you may apply for credit via email to: [email protected]

The application will be examined and decided in the light of each particular case.

99. Can the granted credit amounts be changed?

Yes. A re-evaluation of the credit limits and of benefitting customers will be made annually.

100. How and when can I pay the bills?

The invoices shall be paid by ATM reference (Multibanco) within 30 days after the work conclusion as follows:

  • By homebanking (Online bank transaction)
  • In an ATM (Cash Machine)

101. When the work is done, may I keep paying in cash?

Yes. You can continue to pay in cash and by ATM (Multibanco) when you get the work done.

FAQ INSPECTION AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFENCES

1. What inspection competences does Imprensa Nacional - Casa da Moeda have?

  • To inspect, investigate and decide on administrative offence procedures relating to:
    • Assaying;
    • Marking of articles of precious metal;
    • Titles for accessing activities regulated by the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices, approved by Law no. 98/2015, of 18 August, as amended by Decree-Law No. 120/2017 (RJOC).
  • Application of fines and ancillary penalties under the RJOC.

2. What is inspection?

Inspection is a group of procedures aimed at verifying that the inspected entity meets its obligations, as described in the Inspection Regulation, published in the DRE 2nd Series, no. 251, of 31/12/2018.

3. Who does it apply to?

It applies to all natural and legal persons engaged in activities subject to the RJOC.

4. What do the inspection and investigation powers consist of?

The inspection and investigation powers consist of:

  • Investigating and taking statements from offenders and witnesses;
  • Taking examples and samples of products or other goods that are produced;
  • Carrying out or ordering any analyses of these products that may be necessary;
  • Photographing, filming and other ways of collecting proof of offences;
  • Issue notices of administrative offences;
  • Prepare and perform all actions necessary for investigating and prosecuting administrative offences referred to during actions or notices of offences.

5. What is the purpose of inspection activities?

Inspection activities aim to collect data and ascertain facts, by means of procedures and techniques applied by the inspection team, with a view to verifying that the inspected entity meets its obligations.

6. Who is the Inspection Technician?

The inspection technician is an INCM employee who performs inspection actions and their related procedures.

7. How is an Inspection Technician identified?

The Inspection Technician can be recognized by a professional identification card:

 

8. What types of inspection actions are there?

There are two types:

  • In-person actions – The inspection team visits premises that are open to the public where articles of precious metal are bought and sold, and interacts with the economic operator;
  • Remote actions – information requests or other types of action without interacting with the economic operator.

9. What is an Inspection Report?

A document issued by the Inspection team describing the objective of the inspection activity, the results obtained and, if applicable, the existence of an offence, indicating the applicable regulations and penalties that are provided for.

10. What should be done if there are signs that an offence has been committed?

The inspection team issues a notice.

11. What is a notice?

A document describing the fact, the offence, the violated regulation and the corresponding penalty, drawn up by the Inspection team.

12. What are the rights of inspected entities?

Inspected entities have the following rights:

  • To request the identification of the inspection team;
  • To monitor the inspection process and the actions taken;
  • To be informed of the Inspection report;
  • To oppose any actions or measures that restrict basic rights;
  • To make statements and defend themselves during the proceedings.

13. What are the duties of inspected entities?

Inspected entities have the following duties:

  • To provide relevant data and information about their activity;
  • To allow the inspection team access to the premises;
  • To make a representative available to provide information during the inspection activity.

14. Is the confidentiality of the personal data of inspected entities guaranteed?

Yes. The confidential treatment of data and information resulting from inspection activities is guaranteed during the inspection procedure.

15. Do the assay offices have the duty to cooperate with other entities?

Without prejudice to their own powers, the assay offices work with the ASAE, with the Tax Authorities, with the Judicial Police and with police authorities under the scope of application of the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC).

16. What is the Annual Inspection Plan?

The Annual Inspection Plan is a document that sets out the objectives to be achieved and the planned inspection activities to be carried out during each calendar year.

17. Can the inspection team seize articles of precious metal?

Yes. The inspection team can seize articles of precious metal that have been used to, or are intended to commit a violation of the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC).

18. Is there guaranteed independence between the inspection team and assay office services?

The segregation of functions between the inspection team and assay offices is guaranteed by autonomous processes and teams and independent controls.

19. How will the inspection team operate?

During inspection activities, the team will act in a collaborative and informative way. However it will report all evidence that is found and will issue the corresponding notice whenever it encounters violations of the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC).

20. What is the procedure for inspections of unmarked articles that are over 50 years old?

The economic operator must submit evidence, by any appropriate means, or make a sworn statement that the article in question is over 50 years old, pursuant to article 2(3) of Directive no. 374-A/2017.

21. Is there any penalty if valuers of articles of precious metals and melter-assayer technical managers perform their respective activities without civil liability insurance?

Carrying out activities without civil liability insurance is a very serious offence, pursuant to article 54(6) of the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC).

22. What is an administrative offence?

Any unlawful, typical, and wrongful act punishable by a fine constitutes an administrative offence.

For an act to be classified as an administrative offence (due to an action or omission), it must meet the legal description of a prohibited behaviour that justifies the imposition of a fine.

23. What is the difference between a fine and a penalty?

A fine is a sanction applicable for a simple administrative offence. It is “a sanction of an administrative nature, applied by administrative authorities with the deterrent effect of an administrative warning”, resulting in a requirement to pay an amount established by law.

For an act to be classified as an administrative offence (due to an action or omission), it must meet the legal description of a prohibited behaviour that justifies the imposition of a fine.

24. What legislation applies to administrative offence proceedings?

Administrative offence proceedings are governed, in general terms, by Decree-Law no. 433/82, of 17/10, as amended by Decree-Law no. 244/95, of 14/09 and by Law no. 109/2001, of 24/12 (General Administrative Offence Regime).

In addition, the rules of the Penal Code and the Criminal Proceedings Code apply. The specific legislation classifying the offence as an administrative offence and setting the respective amounts of fines applies to each proceeding, depending on the subject.

25. What leads to administrative offence proceedings?

Administrative offence proceedings can originate in:

  • a private report,
  • an inspection or
  • a notice, issued by inspection or police authorities.

26. At what moment is the unlawful act considered to have been committed?

The unlawful act is considered to have been committed at the time when the inspection technician verifies the violation or, in the case of an omission, at the time when action should have been taken.

27. Who can be a defendant in an administrative offence proceeding under the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC)?

Administrative offence proceedings may be filed against both natural and legal persons who are economic operators in the jewellery sector.

28. How is the amount of the fine determined when a person commits several administrative offences?

A person who commits several administrative offences is punished by a fine with a maximum limit resulting from the sum of fines specifically applied to the combined violations. The minimum limit is the highest fine of those actually applied.

29. If the same act is both a crime and an administrative offence, what is the offender punished for?

If the same act is both a crime and an administrative offence, it is punished as a crime. Proceedings in these cases are referred to the Public Prosecution Service.

30. What administrative offences are provided for in the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC)?

Administrative offenceLegal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC)Designation
VERY SERIOUSArticle 8(4) – refers to paragraphs 1, 2 and 3;Requirements for placing articles of precious metal onto the market
Article 9(6) – refers to paragraph 1;Marking of articles of precious metal
Article 10(2) – refers to paragraph 1;Placing onto the market of articles from convention or international agreement signatory states
Article 11(6) – refers to paragraphs 1, 3 and 5;Articles from other Member States
Article 12(5) – refers to paragraph 1;Filing of sponsor’s marks
Article 14(5) – refers to paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4;Legal finenesses of precious metals
Article 15(3) – refers to paragraph 1;Legal finenesses of special interest jewellery
Article 16(7), (8) and (9), where this does not constitute a criminal offence:Assay office marks used in national territory
7 – (…) violation of the provisions of paragraphs 2 or 4;
8 – (…) the affixing of a false assay office mark on an article of precious metal;
9 – (…) public sale of articles of precious metal with a false assay office mark.
Article 20(6), if not a criminal offence, offering and selling unmarked articles or artefacts to the public;Marking methods
Article 22(3) – refers to paragraphs 1 and 2;Marking, enlarging and replacing
Article 26(5) – refers to paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4;Owners of sponsor’s marks
Article 26(5) – refers to paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4;Function of the sponsor’s mark
a) Affixing of a false sponsor’s mark on an article of precious metal;
b) The public exhibition and sale of articles of precious metal with a false sponsor’s mark.
Article 28(13);Procedure for approval of the design of the sponsor’s mark, the use of a sponsor’s mark that is not approved, as well as of a format that is not registered
Article 31(3) – refers to paragraph 1, without prejudice to the application of Article 35;Right to use the sponsor’s mark
Article 32(7) – refers to paragraphs 1 and 2;Mark vicissitudes
Article 34(6) – (…);Transfer of the sponsor’s mark use of the mark beyond the maximum extension period allowed in the final part of paragraph 3
Article 41(9) – refers to paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8;Start and exercise of the activity
Article 45(7) – (…) carrying out the activities provided for in paragraph 1 without the respective professional title;Professional title
Article 52(3) – refers to paragraph 1;Suitability
The professional activity of the melter-assayer technical manager and the activity of valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials may only be carried out by natural persons who are considered suitable
Article 54(6) – (…) performing the activities provided for in paragraph 1 without civil liability insurance;Lack of civil liability insurance
Article 62(8) – refers to paragraphs 1 and 4;Conditions for the exhibition of articles and sale to the public
Article 63(4) – refers to paragraph 2;Mandatory information whenever items are sold
AArticle 66(9) – (…) breach of obligations set out in paragraphs 5, 6 and 8;Obligations, registration and consultation
Article 69(4) – refers to paragraphs 1 and 2;Communication of the destination of articles to be melted
Article 72(5) – refers to paragraphs 1 and 4;Procedure for the import and export of articles of precious metal
SERIOUSArticle 27(3) – refers to paragraph 1(a), (b) and (c);Function of the sponsor’s mark
Article 28(14) – refers to paragraph 9;Sponsor’s mark design approval procedure
Article 35(5) – (…) using a sponsor’s mark whose usage right has been cancelled, in breach of the provisions of paragraph 2;Cancellation of the sponsor’s mark usage right
Article 38(4) – (…) the use of trade marks on articles of precious metal in violation of the provisions of paragraphs [1 to 3] above;Right to use a trademark
Article 39(4) – refers to paragraphs 1, 2 and 3;Trademark requirements
Article 40(4) – refers to paragraphs 1 and 2;Other permitted marks
Article 44(7) – (…) a breach of any of the duties set out in paragraph 1(a), (b), (c) and (e), as well as a breach of the provisions of paragraphs 3, 4, 5 or 6;Duties of the melter-assayer
Article 47(7) – refers to paragraph 2(c);Activity of the valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials
Article 52(4) – refers to paragraph 2;A supervening lack of the suitability requirement
Article 53(5) – (…) exercising the activity whose respective professional title has been suspended under the terms of paragraph 1;Professional title suspension
Article 62(9) – refers to paragraph 6;Establishments or points of sale of articles of precious metals to the public are under the obligation to have a magnifying glass and a scale, subject to metrological control
Article 64(4) – refers to paragraphs 1 and 2;Automatic, distance and catalogue sales
Article 65(11) – refers to paragraphs 1, 2, 5, 7, 8 and 9;Auctions
Article 67(4) – refers to paragraphs 1 and 3;Security system
Article 69(5) – refers to paragraph 3;The economic operator must organise and keep up to date a record of emails
Article 95(7) – (…) failure to provide, or providing inaccurate or incomplete information in response to a request from the Assay Office;Inspection and investigation of administrative offence proceedings
MINORArticle 34(5) – refers to paragraphs 1 or 2 and the first part of paragraph 3;Transfer of the sponsor’s mark
Article 43(5) – refers to paragraph 1;Changes and cancellation of the title
Article 47(6) – refers to paragraph 2(a) and (d);Activity of the valuer of articles of precious metals and gemological materials
Article 62(10) – refers to paragraph 2;Conditions for the exhibition of articles and sale to the public
Article 63(5) – refers to paragraphs 1 and 3;Mandatory information

31. What are the fines applicable to the offences provided for in the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC)?

In the case of natural persons, the minimum and maximum limits are as follows:

 

  1. From €300.00 to €1,000.00 for minor offences;
  2. From €1, 100.00 to €2,500.00 in the case of serious offences;
  3. From €2,600.00 to €3,700.00 for very serious offences.

 

In the case of legal persons, the minimum and maximum limits are as follows:

 

  1. From €1,200.00 to €8,000.00 for minor offences;
  2. From €8,200.00 to €16,000.00 in the case of serious offences;
  3. From €16,200.00 to €44,800.00 for very serious offences.

32. How is a defence filed?

The defence may be given either orally or in writing, within the periods granted for this purpose, after receipt of the preliminary hearing notification.

33. Who can consult the administrative offence proceeding?

The administrative offence proceeding may be consulted by the defendant and/or his/her lawyer with power of attorney. Consultation is allowed only from the moment the accused is notified to file a defence. The investigator and the competent body for investigating and decide on the proceedings are the only parties to which it is entrusted and who have powers to provide information about it.

34. What are the limitation periods for the administrative offence proceedings?

The proceedings lapse as soon as the following time limits have elapsed from the moment that the offence is committed:

 

  • 5 years, in the case of an administrative offence to which a fine with a maximum amount of €49,879.79 applies;
  • 3 years, in the case of an administrative offence to which a fine of €2,493.00 or more, and less than €49,879.79 applies;
  • 1 year in all other cases.

35. Can the administrative authority seize objects during administrative offence proceedings?

Yes, the competent administrative authority may provisionally seize articles involved in committing an administrative offence, as well as any other articles that may serve as evidence.

36. What is the normal sanction for administrative offences?

The normal sanction for an administrative offence is a fine.

When justified by the seriousness of the offence, the application of ancillary sanctions is possible, such as:

  • The loss of objects;
  • A ban on exercising activities;
  • Losing the right to subsidies;
  • Suspension of the validity of administrative titles (licenses, authorisations, permits, etc.);
  • The closure of the commercial establishment; these measures can apply for up to two years from the date of judgement.

37. How is the value of the fine determined?

The value of the fine is determined by taking into account the severity of the offence, the intent, the economic situation of the defendant, and the economic benefit that he/she got from committing the administrative offence.

38. What is a caution and in what cases can it be applied as a sanction?

A caution is a non-monetary sanctioning measure that takes the form of a warning, made to the defendant in writing, stating the objection to his/her behaviour and that he/she did not act legally. The administrative authority may issue a caution if the severity of the offence and the perpetrator’s intent is minor, if the damage has been repaired and there is no need to use another measure to adequately and sufficiently achieve the purposes of the punishment.

39. Can the administrative decision be avoided?

Yes, provided that the defendant voluntarily pays the minimum legally applicable amount of the fine. However, the voluntary payment of the fine is only possible when the administrative offence is punishable by a fine not exceeding €1,870.49 (natural persons) and not exceeding €22,445.91 (legal persons).

40. What are the amounts of fines applied under the scope of the Legal Regime for Goldsmiths and Assay Offices (RJOC)?

In the case of natural persons, the minimum limit is €300.00 and the maximum is €3,700.00; In the case of legal persons, the minimum limit is €1,200.00 and the maximum €44,800.00.

41. Can the defendant challenge the administrative decision imposing a fine?

Following the notification of an administrative decision, the defendant has a period of 20 calendar days in which to file a judicial challenge against the fine.

42. How is a judicial challenge filed against the administrative decision?

The judicial challenge must be made in writing.

43. When should the defendant pay the fine?

The fine must be paid within 10 days following the date on which the decision becomes final, in other words at the end of the appeal period.

44. Is it possible to pay the fine in instalments?

Yes. The defendant must request this and present the reasons that justify the deferral of the fine and its payment in instalments.

45. What are the consequences of not paying the fine?

If the defendant does not pay the fine within 30 days of being notified of the decision, the administrative offence proceedings are referred to the Public Prosecution Service, which enforces the fine through the competent court.