Independent centre of excellence

As BHC meets for its first meeting at the Assay Office Birmingham’s new premises in Moreton Street, Chairman Andrew Hinds makes his mark!

2015 is rapidly becoming a year of firsts for Assay Office Birmingham, with the successful relocation to Moreton Street running through as a central theme! Last week, the Assay Office team received a nomination for the Member of the Year category in the first ever National Association of Jewellers Awards. And this week, it hosted The British Hallmarking Council for the very first time at Moreton Street too.

The British Hallmarking Council is a statutory body created by The Hallmarking Act 1973. It is comprised of representatives from retail and manufacturing jewellers, Trading Standards, the National Measurement Office and lay people, with relevant experience, from outside of the sector.

Funded solely by the four Assay Offices, the BHC is responsible for:

  • working with the Assay Offices Council, and the Trading Standards Institute and its departments to ensure that hallmarking law is enforced
  • creating regulations to help the assay offices (the official UK bodies who test the purity of precious metals) in their work and to help the UK jewellery trade grow
  • proposing legal changes and advising the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • maintaining the high standards of the UK’s hallmarking facilities
  • monitoring the work of the UK assay offices and their established sub-offices (including any sub-offices offshore)

The four Assay Masters attend the meetings to provide technical expertise and input but do not have a vote, which means that the BHC is a truly independent body, supervising the activities of the Assay Offices and ensuring that consumers and all levels of the supply chain are protected as the legislation intended. Birmingham CEO Stella Layton personally took the three visiting Assay Masters on a tour around the new, state-of-the-art Moreton Street development – another first for the distinguished visitors.

Following the meeting, NAJ Chairman Andrew Hinds, who was elected to BHC as a key representative of the jewellery industry, took the opportunity to try out the laser marking equipment in the new, modern hallmarking hall at Moreton Street, marking a beautiful platinum diamond ring for his wife. Yet another first!

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