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The Four UK Assay Offices sponsor the BHC’s Touchstone Award

28 Nov 2012

The Touchstone Award, initiated by the British Hallmarking Council (BHC), is a national award for Trading Standards, in respect of Hallmarking. The Chairman of the BHC’s Education and Enforcement Committee, Mike Drewry, presented the ‘Touchstone Award’ at the Annual Conference of the Trading Standards Institute in June and the winners (Birmingham City Council) attended another presentation at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London on Thursday 22 November. The event included the re-presentation of the Touchstone Award, by Christopher Jewitt, Chairman of the BHC, a full day hallmarking training session at the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office and a prestigious award winners’ luncheon at the Hall. At this event we also launched the Touchstone Award for 2013 and said a fond farewell to Chairman of the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office Management Committee, Sir Jerry Wiggin, who will shortly be replaced by silversmith, Grant Macdonald.

The Winners

Birmingham City Council was the well-deserved winner of the Touchstone Award. The winning entry was received on behalf of Birmingham City Council by Head of Trading Standards, Sajeela Naseer. It featured an exercise managed by Trading Standards officer, Gary Singh, who has developed an effective long term enforcement project targeting the significant Asian jewellery community in Birmingham, where un-hallmarked and under-carated goods are commonly found. Previous enforcement activity has driven a significant improvement in the level of compliance.

The UK has one of the most rigorous and long established hallmarking regimes in the world which delivers clear benefits to UK consumers and jewellers. With precious metal prices at an all-time high, the hallmark is more important than ever and the BHC is keen to encourage Trading Standards Authorities to continue to enforce this important legislation.

BHC member, Robert Grice, who has driven the Touchstone Award from inception to presentation commented, “Birmingham’s entry was first class. It detailed a well-planned, long term exercise which is being regularly monitored to measure its success.” Two further Authorities, Wandsworth Council and the London Borough of Croydon were Highly Commended for their entries. 

Birmingham City Council is the first to receive this Award, which consists of a Silver Plate which bears the inscription, ‘The British Hallmarking Council, Touchstone Award, sponsored by the Assay Offices of the UK for the most innovative initiative in relation to hallmarking.’ The four UK Assay Offices, Sheffield, London, Birmingham and Edinburgh, all funded the initiative. The name of the local authority which won the award was engraved, together with the year and Diamond Jubilee mark, on the plate.

Support and Sponsorships

The Touchstone Award is sponsored by the four UK Assay Offices and is presented annually to the Trading Standards Department, or individuals within the Trading Standards Service, for the most innovative initiative undertaken in relation to hallmarking, which could include an Enforcement Activity, an Educational Activity, an Information Activity or a Published Article.

Sales of precious metal articles occur every day so it is important to know that these items are in fact precious metal. The Touchstone Award encourages entrants to express what single course of action they would take to improve hallmarking in the UK.

2013 Applications

The Application Form for the Award in 2013 can be obtained from the Secretary of the British Hallmarking Council, care of Lyn Mills, Goldsmiths’ Hall, Foster Lane, London EC2V 6BN, T: 020 7606 8971 or from: www.bis.gov.uk/britishhallmarkingcouncil

Completed Application Forms should be submitted to the British Hallmarking Council by 30 April 2013.

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