Two words that are found on most swiss gold bars that are a constant source of interest for all non-French speakers. In fact the words also are a little tricky to understand even if you do speak French!
(Incidentally, in case you are wondering why French words are printed on swiss gold bars, it is because there is no ‘Swiss’ language. Switzerland has in fact four national languages. These are French, German, Italian and Romansh!).
In direct translation, ‘essayeur fondeur’ means ‘assayer founder’. The real importance of these two words however is that they are the official stamp of the refinery that manufactured the bullion bars on which they appear.
Of the 5 world-class bullion refineries in Switzerland, four of them use the mark ‘Essayeur Fondeur’ on their bars. Only Argor-Heraeus bars differ in that they use the English words ‘Melter Assayer’ which is probably a better and more accurate translation for ‘essayeur fondeur’.
Along with the these words, the remaining four refineries also print a logo in order to differentiate themselves. The logos are as follows:
- Cendres & Métaux SA
- Metalor Technologies SA
- PAMP SA
- Valcambi SA
Mark: CM Essayeur Fondeur in rectangle
Mark: Essayeur Fondeur with MP in triangle
Mark: Essayeur Fondeur in rectangle with PAMP logo
Mark: Rectangle enclosing CHI in a circle and Essayeur Fondeur
Thus all gold, silver and any other precious metals products manufactured by these refineries will feature the words ‘Essayeur Fondeur’ clearly printed on them.
It is worth pointing out that Credit Suisse gold bars are printed with the assaying mark of Valcambi as that is their place of manufacture.