Assay Office London undergoes lab refurbishment


New services relating to cadmium and lead testing a result of changes.

The Assay Office laboratory at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London has undergone a major overhaul, providing customers with new metal testing services for jewellery.

The refurbishment has bought with it new equipment including a high purity water supply and a microwave digester, the latter of which is used to help speed up the dissolution process of precious metal alloys in acids, particularly platinum and palladium alloys.

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The new kit has allowed testing times to be shortened from overnight to just a few hours and the digester also helps to ensure that all contents of the alloys are dissolved, giving more confidence that determinations are accurate. The digester will facilitate the testing of lead and cadmium, a service offered owing to changing legislation relating to these metals.

The Assay Office in London said: "The ability to detect lead and cadmium in jewellery items is becoming more important due to the harmful effects that these toxic elements can have. In the EU, cadmium is already restricted by the REACH regulations and lead will be included from October 2013.

"Our fully independent laboratory now provides a lead and cadmium testing service for precious metal and costume jewellery in line with REACH regulations."

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