Assay Office

The Assay Office Birmingham was founded in 1773 to provide assaying (testing) and hallmarking of precious metal items (gold, silver, platinum and palladium) as required by the Hallmarking Act.

During recent decades it has expanded its services far beyond its statutory assaying and hallmarking duties to include ‘diamond, gemstone and pearl certification, jewellery, watch and silverware valuations, non-precious metal testing, product safety and quality assurance testing as well as educational training and consultancy’.

Goldsmiths' Hall

How to spot faked or forged antique silver hallmarks

16 April 2024

Delegates attending the latest Goldsmiths’ Company London Assay Office seminar on April 12 were warned to be alert for faked objects purporting to be by the preeminent 18th century Huguenot silversmith Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751).

Sheffield Assay Office

Plea to help find stolen silver from Sheffield Assay Office

19 January 2023

More than £100,000 worth of silverware has been stolen from the Sheffield Assay Office after a group of burglars broke in using an angle grinder.

Goldsmiths' Hal

Promotions and events – a round-up of appointments and news

31 August 2021

A round up of the latest appointments and events from across the art and antiques sector.


Warning over Brexit effect on British hallmarking

12 July 2021

The British Hallmarking Council (BHC) is to raise concerns with the government about the impact of Brexit on antique gold and silver exports into the EU.


Assay Office crackdown on illegal silver

05 February 2018

The London Assay Office (LAO) is to launch a crackdown on what it says is a rise in illegal antique silver being offered for sale.

Birmingham anchor hallmark

‘Outsourcing’ of hallmarks: the trade view

02 September 2016

Opposition to the ‘outsourcing’ of UK hallmarks overseas is gathering momentum in the trade. Campaigners say the use of British hallmarks in India threatens a 700-year-old system for stamping precious metals.

UK silver hallmarks

Backlash from silver and jewellery trade over ‘offshore’ hallmarking

24 August 2016

A group of British silversmiths, jewellery retailers and manufacturers has launched a campaign against the ‘outsourcing’ of UK hallmarks overseas.

Appeal for auctioneers to attend Fakes and Forgeries seminar

28 July 2014

The Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office want to help more UK provincial auctioneers spot fakes by inviting them to their Fakes and Forgeries seminars at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London.

Sale of Birmingham assay office clears way for relocation plan

29 May 2014

Plans to relocate Birmingham’s Assay office can now go ahead following the sale of its landmark building in Newhall Street.

Assay Office to run course on buying scrap gold and silver

29 November 2011

THE Birmingham Assay Office is launching a new one-day course, Buying Scrap Gold and Silver, on January.


Ashley-Russell’s fake punches are published

30 March 2009

Six months after the most significant hallmarking deception case in living memory, the Assay Office has published a guide detailing many of the Peter Ashley-Russell fakes and forgeries. The document is available to download for free at

Plate committee step in to halt sale of silver whistles

12 May 2008

A rare intervention by the London Assay Office has resulted in the wholesale withdrawal of a 124-lot collection of silver bosun’s calls scheduled to be sold in London last week.

Fakes and forgeries seminar in January

11 September 2006

Assay Office London will hold their next Fakes and Forgeries seminar at Goldsmiths’ Hall on Wednesday, January 24.

London authorities tell silver buyers to beware of forged spoons

07 February 2006

The London Assay Office is advising extra caution when buying antique silver following the assessment of spoons bearing forged marks submitted by four auctioneers last year.

A gem of a reference work

05 July 2002

Bradbury’s Book of Hallmarks, revised edition 2002, published by the Sheffield Assay Office, Guardians Hall, 137 Portobello Road, Sheffield Sl 4DS. Tel: 0114 275 5111 Hardback £16 ISBN l872212026. Paperback ISBN 1872212034 £5.50