It is costly to get everything in place, roughly £180 or there abouts, thats for your registration and your stamp, but i think if you are going down the silver route then it benefits you and your customers to do this, simply because you have piece of mind knowing that you are selling the quality of silver that you are advertising, and your customers will have more confidence in buying from you.
I too have my items hallmarked even though they are less than 7.78 (not earrings unless they are tablet style or contain a wide enough are to stamp). I use Sheffield Assay Office and have my own makers mark JO I take mine in in batches of 15 upwards as the assay office do have a minimum spend per order, so if you are only wanting one item hallmarking it can prove costly.
As said cooksons will assay for you but then (if i’m not wrong) it will be their makers mark that is on the piece and not your own, another reason for getting your own stamp is the piece will always be credited to you.
At one time you could buy items with just the 925 stamp on them and never worry about them being anything other than silver, but now so much foreign jewellery comes in with the 925 stamp and i’m afraid to say they are not always what they seem, you could say the 925 on its own is a way of saying it should be sterling silver but has not been verified, this is the reason i decided to go down the hallmarking route, Piece of mind for my customers.
Good idea to practice on the copper and brass etc before jumping into silver, i can honestly say I melted quite a few pieces in my early days