So Much More than Simply an Assay Office

The Birmingham Assay Office, now the largest Assay Office in the world, has broadened its range of services to include diamond certification, jewellery, watch and silverware valuation and a host of other product testing services.

This not-for-profit organisation has been a centre of expert opinion and independent assessment of jewellery and precious metals for over 235 years and prides itself on the high level of service and technology it offers its hallmarking customers.

Its investment in the latest laser equipment and in traditional techniques allows it to provide a speedy, value-added-service to manufacturers and importers alike. It also works closely with several large producers to run secure hallmarking facilities within their own operations.

Another great strength of The Birmingham Assay Office is its strong communications programme which offers its customers invaluable background information on the state of the market, as well as up-to-the minute news on legislation issues affecting production processes and changes to the hallmarking system.

Safeguard
SafeGuard is the UK’s leading jewellery valuation organisation, working for some 1150 independent jewellery retailers throughout the UK, as well as providing valuations directly to the public.

The company employs a team of expert, highly-qualified valuers with real expertise in the identification and valuation of both antique and modern items of jewellery, watches, silverware and objets d’art.

SafeGuard is accurate and safe. Each item submitted is digitally photographed on arrival and given its own unique ‘SafeMark’ identity number. It is then assessed to determine the average retail price required to replace the item. All customers are then presented with a valuation document containing a photograph and written description of their pieces. This information is also permanently recorded in the SafeGuard database. If the customer wishes, the ‘SafeMark’ number can also be marked onto suitable property to help trace the item in the event of loss or theft.

AnchorCert
AnchorCert is a comprehensive diamond certification service offering retailers, importers and manufacturers an accurate, independent assessment for both loose and mounted diamonds.

AnchorCert’s expert team of gemmologists offer ‘Mini’ reports for loose or mounted stones and a detailed ‘Diamond Report’ with facet diagram, ideal for large loose diamonds. Other services include Laser Inscriptions onto diamonds for personal messages and identification numbers as well as gem testing for fancy diamonds and other coloured stones and natural pearls.

A particular expertise is the grading of Tanzanite where AnchorCert® has developed its own easy-to-understand grading system based on colour intensity, clarity and cut.

AnchorCert has established itself as an authority on Diamond grading in the UK. It is one of only two diamond grading facilities in the world to be accredited by UKAS to ISO 17025, a guarantee of its consistent methodology and competence. AnchorCert has invested heavily in high-tech equipment and is the only UK gemmological facility that can identify synthetic diamonds and treatments. It now counts many well respected retailers and auctioneers amongst its clientele.

Laboratory Services
A plethora of health and safety rules and regulations now surround the production and sale of jewellery, especially jewellery for children. The Laboratory at Birmingham Assay Office is a fount of useful information on what companies must do to ensure that their products comply with all aspects of current legislation as well as providing the wherewithal to test for their compliance.

Services on offer include a new quick test for Nickel: developed by The Laboratory this makes the inspection process very much quicker and less expensive.
The Laboratory also provides a battery of useful tests to help producers and retailers to ensure that their items are suitably sturdy and safe and that all parts, including leather watch straps and bracelets, do not contain any banned substances or ‘heavy’ metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury.

The Laboratory can also subject products to tests that mimic the effects of wear and tear including perspiration, humidity, high temperatures, salt water and swimming pools. They will also test for flammability in accordance with legal standards.

Packing materials can have a profound effect on how much and how jewellery items tarnish and the Laboratory offers ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ testing methods for all types of packaging materials.

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