The Birmingham Assay Office, a not for profit organisation founded in 1773, has a long established reputation within the jewellery trade for its excellence as an independent centre of quality assessment and expert opinion for precious metals, jewellery and gemstones.
In addition to its statutory duty to protect the consumer, The Birmingham Assay Office is committed to supporting the industry by providing appropriate services, expert opinion and information.
The global supply chain and UK retailing have seen significant changes recently and the Office has invested heavily in response to this. It has also continued to engage in the industry in order to understand the ever changing opportunities and challenges facing its customers. The Birmingham Assay Office is therefore well placed to offer education and training in many aspects of the jewellery, precious metal and gemstone industry.
Training offered by The Birmingham Assay Office is relevant, pertinent and interactive. Material is prepared by in house experts currently working in the operation. Courses are commercially focussed, topical and practical as opposed to theoretical and text book orientated. Course content is prepared in modules which can be mixed and matched to suit your needs. This flexible approach offers maximum return on your training investment.
The Birmingham Assay Office has five distinct but inter-related areas of expertise:
Hallmarking – Over 100 million items have been hallmarked here in the past ten years. The Birmingham Assay Office has a wealth of knowledge about applying and identifying current and historic hallmarks. They also have a sound understanding of current legislation, Convention marks and other hallmarks accepted in the UK.
The Laboratory is the UK’s leading test house for precious metal analysis and Nickel and Lead Compliance and is UKAS accredited to ISO 17025. Thousands of pieces of jewellery, both precious and costume, are tested here every year to make sure they comply with consumer protection legislation.
SafeGuard Valuations are the leading brand of independent jewellery and watch valuations in the UK with a network of over 1,200 retailers offering the service. SafeGuard valuers have unrivalled expertise in assessing jewellery, watches and silverware.
AnchorCert Diamond Certification authenticate diamonds, coloured gemstones and natural pearls offering a variety of reports. AnchorCert is one of few facilities in the world that can identify synthetic and treated diamonds and other gemstones. It is UKAS accredited to ISO 17025.
Heritage The private Silver Collection and Library at The Birmingham Assay Office chronicle the development of Birmingham’s silver-smithing industry. The Curator works in partnership with the local heritage community to maintain and share the benefits of this valuable resource.
Maximum class sizes vary according to content and some courses can only be delivered in Birmingham. All courses are tailored to suit the customer’s exact requirements and will be priced accordingly. Fees start from around £50 per delegate per day for large group sessions at The Birmingham Assay Office.
The following are examples of training modules available from The Birmingham Assay Office which can be mixed and matched or tailored to suit your needs.
Hallmarking for Beginners
A basic introduction to hallmarking in the UK. Outlining the benefits of hallmarking, understanding the hallmark, what constitutes a compulsory hallmark, current UK hallmarks, optional marks and exemption weights. Delegates will be shown a hallmarking DVD and will conclude with a brief tour of The Birmingham Assay Office’s hallmarking operation.
Hallmarking – Intermediate Level
Designed to broaden attendees’ knowledge of Hallmarking in the UK. An interactive hands-on Hallmarking session, a summary of the UK Hallmarking Act and an overview of the UK Jewellery Market. Different assay and marking methods employed by The Assay Office and an understanding of other Hallmarks recognised in the UK.
Historic Hallmarking & Real versus Fake Hallmarks
Specifically covering historic hallmarks and how to identify them, identifying and understanding hallmarks on antique jewellery and knowledge of the Hallmarking Act both pre and post 1950, 1975, 1999. Real versus fake Hallmarks and how to identify a fake mark.
Diamond & Gemstone Modules
Practical Diamond Training
For those who already have some experience of precious stones. A practical course providing sufficient knowledge to classify diamonds by clarity and colour and to identify simulants, treatments and synthetics which can be detected without the use of a microscope or high tech equipment. Content also includes the history of diamonds, major sources, rough diamonds and ethical issues.
Delivered by gemmological experts and designed to provide retail and other staff with a thorough understanding of the 4 C’s ensuring that those involved in selling diamonds are confident to close the sale but also to sell-up to a better quality product.
At the end of this practical two day course, delegates will be able to positively identify gemstones, will have a basic understanding of potential gem treatments and how to detect them where possible using the equipment available to them.
Silver Collection Tours
Silver Collection Tours are unique, informative and open to groups from the public and the trade. Three alternative standards of tour are available. The ‘Silver’ standard covers a concise history of hallmarking and The Birmingham Assay Office, a DVD of the traditional and modern processes of assaying and hallmarking, a tour of the Office’s Silver Collection plus an opportunity to view our collection of rare books and manuscripts in their historic setting. The ‘Gold’ standard includes a hands-on session which enables delegates a unique chance to handle and examine some of the rare items from the private Silver Collection. The Platinum Standard includes a bespoke presentation tailored to the Group’s specific interest.
Precious Metal TESTING
A range of courses topics include technical subjects such as the sampling and assaying of fine jewellery and commercial aspects relating to product safety legislation. Courses range from a half a day and include a combination of lectures and practical, hands-on training.
For more information please contact: The Birmingham Assay Office, PO Box 151, Newhall Street, Birmingham B3 1SB.
Tel: 0871 871 6020.