Proud To Be Part Of Birmingham's Heritage


Birmingham Assay Office was created in 1773, founded through an Act of Parliament following efforts led by renowned Birmingham silversmith and entrepreneur, Matthew Boulton. It has a statutory duty to assay and hallmark precious metals in accordance with Hallmarking legislation. We are incredibly proud of our heritage and history.

The need for the hallmark is as strong now as it was in the 18th century since the hallmark protects the public and the jewellery trade.  Precious metals are most commonly used as alloys; mixed with base metals, and even an expert cannot tell by looking whether an article contains the declared proportion of precious metal.

The UK system of statutory hallmarking by an independent Assay Office is rare in world terms, and it has contributed to the growth and success of the jewellery and silversmithing trades in the UK. Hallmarking severely restricts the opportunity for fraud, so traders compete on a level playing field and consumers can buy with confidence. Hallmarking is a living part of our heritage, and it is important that it stays that way.

The Birmingham Assay Office continues to test and hallmark millions of articles a year to confirm that they contain the required amount of precious metal. This is still carried out in much the same way it has been for 245 years, although the process is now assisted by the latest technology. 

In the 21st Century, Birmingham Assay Office continues to make bold innovative decisions to drive business and has diversified its services to include Consumer Product Safety, Diamond Grading, Coloured Gemstone Identification, Pearl Identification, Jewellery, Watch and Silverware Valuations, Consultancy and Training.





Our Heritage underpins our future, testament to our ability to adapt, innovate and fight to survive in an ever-changing world over the past 245 years. From our Oral Histories to the Private Silver and Research Library collections, our heritage artefacts are rich and precious remnants of our history which continue to inspire our future.

We enjoy sharing these with interested parties, so check our events section or follow us on Twitter for updates on our next heritage events.

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