About us

We supervise the hallmarking activities of the 4 assay offices in the UK to ensure there is adequate provision of hallmarking within the UK.

Responsibilities

We are responsible for:

  • working with the Assay Offices Council, and the Trading Standards Institute and its departments to ensure that hallmarking law is enforced
  • creating regulations to help the assay offices (the official UK bodies who test the purity of precious metals) in their work and to help the UK jewellery trade grow
  • proposing legal changes and advising the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • maintaining the high standards of the UK’s hallmarking facilities
  • monitoring the work of the UK assay offices and their established sub-offices (including any sub-offices offshore)

Priorities

In 2015, our priorities will be:

  • reviewing and implementing the recommendations of the triennial review of the Council undertaken by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • continuing to support the assay offices and trading standards departments in monitoring compliance with, and enforcement of, the Hallmarking Act and in raising awareness of it
  • continuing to establish the equivalence of European Economic Area hallmarks with a view to publishing a list of approved national marks, as well as ensuring the list of countries covered by the International Hallmarking Convention published on our website is up-to-date

Who we are

We have between 16 and 19 members, 10 of whom are appointed by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. We always have 3 members with consumer protection experience and 4 who trade or produce articles of precious metal.

The assay offices appoint 6 members to the council, 2 from Assay Office London, 2 from Birmingham Assay Office and 1 each from the Sheffield and Edinburgh assay offices. We may co-opt (elect people from outside the Assay Offices) up to 2 further members. The members hold office for terms of 3 years. The assay masters (assay office chief executives) can’t be council members, but they have a right to attend and speak at meetings.

We are funded entirely by the 4 UK assay offices who split the costs between them.

We normally meet twice a year where we receive a report from each assay office on its activities, and are supplied with statistical information which includes the number of articles assayed.