Protecting the Consumer and Servicing
the Trade with Independence and Integrity


The call has gone out to Birmingham's creative talent to design a stunning new name plate for the entrance to the city's historic Assay Office.

Designers are being given free rein with their ideas for the silver plaque that will replace the one stolen from the office's premises at Newhall Street in the Jewellery Quarter by metal thieves earlier this year.

Local bullion dealer The Bullion Room, based in Spencer Street, has offered to manufacture the plaque using silver and studded diamonds that it has gifted to the Assay Office after sharing the community's outrage at the theft.

It will be mounted on one of the two stone pillars flanking the grand entrance to the UK's largest Assay Office where hallmarking has continued since 1773, with increased
security provided by The Bullion Room.

Eamon Gaughan of The Bullion Room said: “We want designers to have as much scope as possible so there are very few restrictions on design. The only criteria are that the plaque is suitable to be fixed securely, includes the words 'The Assay Office', and leaves space for a large hallmark including the Diamond Jubilee Mark.”

Michael Allchin, Chief Executive and Assay Master, added: “We appreciate this extremely generous offer from The Bullion Room. The new silver plaque will become part of our heritage and although we are sad to have lost the original, which had been in place for decades, we are pleased that we can offer such a great opportunity to the pool of talent that we have in Birmingham to create a brand new design.”

Designers interested in entering the competition can find full details on the Birmingham Assay Office Website or by email The closing date for entries is Thursday 30th August 2012.

[caption id="attachment_1460" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Front Entrance The Birmingham Assay Office"]Front Entrance The Birmingham Assay Office[/caption]



1. Designers must be operating from an address with a Birmingham postcode.
2. The plaque must be a maximum of 19cm wide but could be deeper
3. It must be suitable to be securely fixed to the stonework flanking the doorway
4. It should be made from materials suitable for exterior signage. Increased Security will also be provided courtesy of the Bullion Room so designers should not be concerned about creating a high value item.
5. The item must be suitable to be hallmarked sterling silver ie with a fineness of at least 925ppt.
6. The item will also carry a Diamond Jubilee Hallmark. The last date for striking this is 1st October 2012.
7. This is an official company sign; The words The Assay Office must be clearly legible
8. The design should be appropriate to the status of the UK’s largest Assay Office whose mission is to champion high quality standards in the jewellery, precious metal and gemstone industry. Further information about the work of The Assay Office can be found at
9. The designer is not required to manufacture the final article, as this will be undertaken by The Bullion Room. However, the design must be accompanied by a clear technical specification as to its intended method of manufacture.
10. Applications should include a full size drawing/impression/image of the finished item
11. The technical specification should detail method of construction, type and quantity of materials to be used and suitable points of fixing.
Designs should be submitted as hard copy to The Assay Master by 12 noon on Thursday 30th August 2012 to the following address:

The Birmingham Assay Office • PO Box 151 • Newhall Street • Birmingham B3 1SB

[caption id="attachment_1459" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Who stole our Plaque ?"]stolen assay office plaque[/caption]

About The Birmingham Assay Office.
Now the largest Assay Office in the world, this not-for-profit organisation has been a centre of expert opinion and independent assessment of jewellery and precious metals for nearly 250 years. The Organisation takes pride in its high level of service and the use of the latest technology by all its commercial divisions, from Hallmarking, Diamond and Gemstone Certification, Jewellery, Watch and Silverware Valuations through to precious and non precious metal testing, product safety and quality assurance testing as well as educational training and consultancy.



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