Hallmarking at Goldsmith's Company Assay Office with Joanna Hardy

By Juliette Perry

Within our visit at Goldsmith's Hall we were fortunate enough to explore the Goldsmiths Company Assay Office.

The Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office is where hallmarking began, and they have been testing and hallmarking precious metals for over 700 years. At the Assay Office they provide both traditional handmarking and the latest laser marking techniques across three key London locations with a choice of three priority services including one hour, same day and early hall. 

For Joanna Hardy's Jewellery Foundation Course we recorded both processes on camera with Dave Merry, Head of Training, Education & Trading Standards Liaison, explaining the process of hallmarking in sufficient detail. It was fascinating to witness the speed at which they work, the concentration of detail it must take, yet they look at such ease. If you've always wanted to know more about hallmarking, this lesson will be of great interest to you. You really get to see what goes on behind the scenes, the comparisons between the methods marking and how they are continuously developing hallmarking, now using Laser machines amongst the more traditional Fly Press and Struck Marks.

We were honoured to have Dave Merry be a part of this lesson as he is the longest serving member of staff since joining in 1971. Needless to say, having celebrated his 45th Anniversary as an employee of the Assay Office, he knew everything there is to hallmarking and that shines through in the detail you receive in this lesson. Dave also commented on how much hallmarking they complete in a year; they process 3 million articles a year, in 100,000 packets. 

To learn more about the Jewellery Foundation Course with Joanna Hardy, click here.

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