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Assay Badge edit The Birmingham Assay Office’s Assay Master’s ‘Badge of Office’ will feature in a special edition of BBC Midlands Today this evening, 27th February, at 6.30pm. The programme has gathered together 100 items that have been ‘Made in the Midlands’ to celebrate the creative and manufacturing skills of the region. The Badge of Office was made using skills and expertise from the Midlands as well as in-house expertise from The Assay Office itself. It was commissioned by the Wardens of The Birmingham Assay Office in 2009 to commemorate the advent of Palladium hallmarking and its components were the first items marked in Birmingham with the new Palladium hallmark. Designed and made by silversmith Martyn Pugh, the design depicts the structure of the Palladium atom, vibrant coloured flames to represent the traditional  cupellation method of fire  assaying and a typical “read out” from an X Ray fluorescence machine which uses the latest technology to assay pieces prior to hallmarking. The most prominent symbol is the Anchor, the town mark of the Birmingham Assay Office hallmark since it was founded in 1773. The badge was constructed in the classic tradition of the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter with highly skilled specialists all making their own contribution. Cooksons Precious Metals, in the heart of the Quarter, supplied the Palladium and casters Jewelcast provided components for the spectacular badge and its chain. The Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre used the latest technology to produce CadCam designs from Martyn’s sketches, then rapid-prototyping to produce hard wax masters. Their laser welding facility also proved useful in assembling the various complex components.  Rachel Gogerly skillfully applied the enameled “flames” and The Birmingham Assay Office used one of our hallmarking laser machines to etch the enamelling recesses – a highly skilled process that we were proud to be able to do in-house. We are looking forward to watching the programme this evening!  

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