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Have you ever wanted to go behind the scenes at the Birmingham Assay Office and see how the hallmarks on your jewellery and precious metals are applied? Or even have a go at hammering a Hallmark yourself? The Assay Office is pleased to announce a series of Understanding Hallmarking days for 2013, which will enable members of the public to see inside the Hallmarking operation. Participants will take part in a special guided tour of the Hallmarking floor and will also be given the chance to ‘have a go’ at Hallmarking themselves. Understanding Hallmarking will provide a unique opportunity to find out more about Hallmarking, including the history of Hallmarking in the UK, an overview of the Hallmarking Act and current legislation, how to understand a Hallmark, the different testing methods used in the assaying and Hallmarking process (including XRF, cupellation and titration) and the methods used to apply Hallmarks (including hand, press and laser Hallmarking). The Understanding Hallmarking events are part of the Assay Office’s growing Education and Training division. Michael Allchin, Chief Executive and Assay Master, says: ‘We have been welcoming visitors to our historic silver collection and library for some time, however we felt that we wanted to offer our visitors a little bit more and take them on a behind the scenes tour of the Hallmarking floor. Many people will look at the marks on their precious metals and jewellery and wonder how and why they were applied – all will be revealed during these new visits.’ Dates for 2013 are 6th February, 17th April and 19th June. The events start at 10am and finish at 1pm. Understanding Hallmarking will be hosted by Sally Hoban, who is the Heritage & Training Officer at The Birmingham Assay Office. She has an in-depth knowledge of antique silver and jewellery, with a particular specialism in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Understanding Hallmarking costs £75 per person plus VAT, with a minimum of six and a maximum of ten people per day. For further information or to make a booking visit http://www.theassayoffice.co.uk/understanding_hallmarking.html, call 0871 871 6020 or email gem@theassayoffice.co.uk

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