Independent centre of excellence

Upcycled jewellery has gained popularity for a multitude of reasons from its aesthetic properties through to its capacity for capturing a piece of history or personal story. Yet a growing reason that can perhaps explain the rise in Change of Use submissions at the Assay Office, is the environmentally friendly nature of upcycled jewellery.

Wednesday 5th June saw World Environment Day and undoubtedly it is becoming more and more important for businesses to be thinking about how to make their services or products more environmentally friendly.

Sustainability can come in many shapes of forms, for example, making jewellery out of raw materials that have been sustainably sourced like Fairtrade gold, to upcycling vintage silver and gold pieces and transforming them into something new and exciting.

For example, In the case of jewellery, upcycling a vintage silver spoon into a ring is by no means a new trend. In fact, the process of shaping a spoon into a ring is a tradition that dates from the seventeenth century when servants supposedly stole their masters silver spoons and fashioned them into rings to give to their betrothed. However, as consumers become more and more conscious about what impact their jewellery has had on the environment it is perhaps a trend that will only grow.

Under the Hallmarking Act, 1973 jewellers wishing to make alterations, additions or repairs to hallmarked articles have to seek written consent from one of the four UK assay offices. Or put more simply, jewellers using hallmarked precious metal items like vintage spoons or forks to make rings or bracelets must submit the items to an assay office for approval. Although the use of vintage materials in the manufacture of jewellery is not a new idea, our Birmingham Assay Office’s Change of Use department has recently seen a sharp rise in submissions of upcycled jewellery.   If you would like to find out more about Change of Use submissions or the legislation behind it, contact us on 0121 236 6951 or email

Image courtesy of Jasper Sparkle.



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