Assay Office Birmingham and Birmingham City University have announced that they have partnered together to offer an educational hub in the heart of the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.
The university’s gemmology department will move into the new Assay Office Birmingham premises at 1 Moreton Street, enabling further development of gemmological training for School of Jewellery students. This also forms part of ambitious plans to establish a centre of learning excellence for the Midlands jewellery trade.
Set to be completed by the end of 2015, the relocation will provide facilities for 90 full-time and part-time gemmology students from Birmingham City University, as well as access to the highest specification of equipment available for gemmological education within the UK.
Through access to equipment for testing diamonds at Assay Office Birmingham’s AnchorCert Gem Laboratory, the School of Jewellery will also have increased opportunity for gemmological research, whilst combining the knowledge and expertise of subject specialist staff with a diverse, international student population.
Head of the School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University, Gaynor Andrews, says: “This partnership will provide students with access to resources they otherwise wouldn’t have had, as well as opportunities for members of the public and those seeking further personal development to access new training courses and work placements.
“Positioning an educational resource within a working environment will also stimulate Assay Office Birmingham employees to undertake continual professional development, therefore supporting an upskilling of the existing workforce.”
Stella Layton, Assay Office Birmingham chief executive officer and assay master, adds: “The School of Jewellery has an excellent reputation both in the UK and internationally and we see great value in this collaboration which will be of huge mutual benefit and contribute to the significant development of the School’s gemmological courses.
“Assay Office Birmingham has been a supporter of the School since its inception and we are pleased to still be working with them 125 years on.”
Founded in 1773, Assay Office Birmingham provides assaying (testing) and hallmarking of precious metal items, such as gold, silver and platinum, as required by the Hallmarking Act.
During recent decades, Assay Office Birmingham has expanded its services and hallmarking duties to include diamond, gemstone and pearl certification, watch and silverware valuations, analytical testing and specialist retail training.