Sheffield Assay Office offers first-rate service, collection and delivery
By David Brough
SHEFFIELD, May 2019 – Sheffield Assay Office, one of four Assay Offices in the UK, offers outstanding customer service including fast and efficient collection and delivery, and hallmarking using state-of-the-art technologies and experienced staff.
With a dedicated work force of 70, many of whom have long service, the Sheffield Assay Office provides a comprehensive hallmarking service for gold, silver, platinum and palladium articles, as well as a metals analysis lab in a highly secure environment.
The Sheffield Assay Office, with a history approaching 250 years, has many clients among industry leaders, from Bulgari and De Beers, to Warren James and The Jewellery Channel.
“The point of difference (against the competition) is in the higher quality of our service, as well as cost of production and price,” said Ashley Carson, Sheffield Assay Master, who has held the position for 26 years, the longest serving Assay Master in the UK.
“We also pride ourselves on a low turnover of staff and a ‘family atmosphere’ here.”
The Sheffield Assay Office is currently seeing an increasing trend for hallmarking of 18-carat gold and platinum articles for the jewellery trade, and strong demand for hallmarking of 22-carat gold items submitted by the British-Asian trade.
Overall, the quantity of hallmarked items has dipped in the last few years, a reflection of how much disposable income British consumers will spend on jewellery during a period of economic uncertainty linked to Brexit.
Carson believes that hallmarking is a vital component in the quality and integrity of jewellery sold in the UK market, as it is a guarantor of authenticity, and is key to consumer protection.
Sheffield Assay Office is a member of the Hallmarking Convention and has applied for accreditation to the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC.)
Many of the articles that arrive for hallmarking at the Sheffield Assay Office’s one-acre site, come from manufacturers overseas, notably China, India and Thailand, highlighting that much of the jewellery sold in the UK was made abroad.
In the UK, the Sheffield Assay Office sends vehicles efficiently around the country, to centres such as Hatton Garden and Birmingham, to collect articles for hallmarking, with full insurance, and offers quick turnaround times depending on location.
Hallmarking takes place across a large space at the Sheffield Assay Office, using the latest equipment for detection of metals, and stamping of the hallmark by hand, carried out by experienced staff, or by laser.
Clients decide whether they want hallmarking by hand or by laser.
The Sheffield Assay Office also houses a laboratory, adjacent to the hallmarking area, offering a range of services in metals analysis and detection, including use of chemical techniques, and melting of bullion for hallmarking.
The Assay Office has the advantage of a vast office space and facilities, including opportunities for businesses and associations to rent its tastefully appointed and highly secure social and dining areas for corporate entertainment.
The Sheffield Assay Office has the unique advantage of a large car parking space on-site for the benefit of clients and visitors.