The number of precious metals items hallmarked in Britain fell for a sixth consecutive month in July, dropping by nearly a quarter on the same month last year as the price of gold remained at record highs and the economy was sluggish.

The Assay Office, which tests jewellery and cutlery made from precious metals for purity and assigns a stamp with the manufacturer's brand, said on Wednesday the amount of gold hallmarked fell 11 percent year-on-year last month to 2,193,627 grams (70,526 ounces).

While the monthly figures have fallen on a year-on-year basis, they have risen on a month-on-month basis from January, when some 32,600 ounces were hallmarked in the first year-on-year rise in 11 months.

The price of gold has risen by over 17 percent in dollar terms in 2011 to a record $1,672.65 an ounce on Wednesday, while the price of gold in sterling has risen by 12 percent to a record 1,027.35 pounds an ounce , compared with a 4 percent drop this year in the value of blue-chip stocks .

The amount of silver hallmarked fell by a third year-on-year last month to 7,192 kg (231,000 ounces), while the price of silver in dollars more than doubled in the 12 months to July 2011 to around $40.00 an ounce.

So far in 2011, silver hallmarkings have fallen by over 30 percent.

Platinum hallmarkings fell 8.2 percent from July last year to 164,077 grams (5,275 ounces), while palladium hallmarkings fell 15 percent to 64,811 grams (2,083 ounces). (Reporting by Amanda Cooper, editing by Jane Baird)