Assay Office unveils new gem and hallmark courses


One-day courses suitable for new employees or as a refresher.

The Birmingham Assay Office (BAO) has introduced two new one-day training courses to its programme with a view to giving students commercially-focused product knowledge to help boost their confidence when selling or assessing jewellery.

The courses cover gemstones and hallmarks and will commence in the spring of next year, based at the Birmingham headquarters.

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The first – Understanding Coloured Gemstones – will deliver technical information in a digestible way, taking students through the most common of gemstones used in jewellery including rubies, sapphires, emeralds and tanzanite and their unique selling points.

The one-day course will also include a practical session looking at gemstones and their imitations and has been described as both a good starting point for new employees or an excellent refresher for those who may want some new approaches to selling.

The gemstone course will be led by Marie Chalmers, FGA DGA, an expert in precious and semi-precious gemstones, with experience gained working in Antwerp, India, Israel and the UK.

The second course, Identifying Hallmarks and Important Gemstones, will be delivered by Chalmers and Sally Hoban, the BAO’s recently-employed Heritage and Training Officer.

The course is targeted at retailers selling second-hand jewellery as well as pawnbrokers. Delegates will learn about the history of hallmarking, gain an insight into the assaying process and take part in a practical session looking at diamonds and coloured gemstones.

Michael Allchin, chief executive and Assay Master of the BAO said: “These two new courses add to Birmingham Assay Office’s popular portfolio of training programmes.

“We know from delegate feedback that our courses get results. For example, previous training undertaken by retailers at The Assay Office has resulted in significant increases in diamond sales.”

This Understanding Gemstones course will run on February 21 and June 12 2012, while the Identifying Hallmarks and Important Gemstones course will take place on March 27 and May 22.


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