The ancient tradition of hallmarking is Roshan Nightingaleâs forte. Here, with insightfulness that can only come from decades of experience, she gives us a glimpse of life on the Birmingham Assay Officeâs marking floor. August 2013.
Eagle-eyed hallmarking supervisor Roshan Nightingale is happy today. Thereâs a mountain of work to be getting on with, and as another tub of impossibly fiddly articles lands on her trolley, she shouts âbring it onâ, a favourite expression of hers. Nightingale has worked at The Birmingham Assay Office (BAO) for more than 26 years and recalls a time when there were more than 100 hallmarking staff (20 of them handmarkers) working the floor. In those days, most of the work came in from the local trade unfinished, a far cry from the highly polished items that are submitted for hallmarking today.
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There may be fewer now, but they are no less busy. Nightingale is responsible for allocating the flow of work to the team of highly experienced operators. In fact, such is the skill and dexterity needed from every member of the hallmarking team, that her most recent recruit was hired 10 years ago â no room for the mistakes that come with lack of experience. The markers make it look easy, but on close inspection, the complexity of decision-making and depth of expertise they deploy when stamping the tiny symbols that constitute a hallmark, is remarkable.
Items submitted to the BAO for hallmarking are booked in, weighed, and .... ToÂ read more about the hallmarking process andÂ to get a further glimpse in to a day in Roshin'sÂ work life make sure to visit the meet the experts page on The Birmingham Assay Office website â http://www.theassayoffice.co.uk/meet_the_experts/day-at-the-office_baoexpert.html