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Sheffield Assay Office hosts Antique Metalware Society conference

Published: 10th June 2019

Antique Metalware Society

Sheffield Assay Office were delighted to host the two day conference of the Antique Metalware Society. The event took place on the 6th and 7th of June and members came from all over the country to attend.

The first day of the event consisted of a welcome from the Chairman, Geoffrey Draughn. Followed by a introductory talk from Emma Paragreen, Curator and Librarian of the office, entitled Cutlery to the Cutting Edge. This set the scene for a wonderful couple of days in the City of Metal. Geoff Smaldon introduced the events of the day and Lawie Trask gave an overview of the latest developments of the AMS website and the future use by members and interested researchers. The group enjoyed a delicious lunch before heading off to Kelham Island Museums for the afternoon. 

Friday, the event's final day, began with an early start at Sheffield Assay Office. Emma gave a fascinating talk on the history and work of the Assay Office, followed by a tour of the facilities. Dr Belan Morales, head of Analytical Services here at Sheffield Assay Office, then gave the guests a tour of the laboratories and the members were most impressed with the high calibre and variety of testing offered. Simon Oxley followed with a fascinating talk on Copper alloy candlesticks. A few silver examples were also on show and the variety of designs and features were quite incredible. Members of AMS will not look at a candlestick in quite the same way again!

 AMS Candlesticks Antique Metalware Society

After lunch, the group were delighted to welcome the UK’s authority of Old Sheffield Plate, Gordon Crosskey. Gordon kindly brought a selection of his private collection for members to view and, as always, Gordon eloquently disseminated his knowledge to the ASM members. The final session of the event was a discussion of personal objects the member's had brought with them, much XRF testing was undertaken whilst at the Assay Office and some of the objects included candle snuffers, spoons, and boxes. The guests were delighted to see such rare objects and have the opportunity to discuss them amongst friends and in a building with so much history in the field of metalwork. 

Chairman Geoffrey Draughn said “Our visit to Sheffield Assay Office has been hugely enjoyable; an insight into an aspect of the world of metal which many may have heard of, but relatively few are privileged to study in detail. Very many thanks to the Assay Master, Ashley Carson, Emma and her colleagues for a knowledgeable and charming welcome and great hospitality”.

The Sheffield Assay Office was established in 1773, under an Act of Parliament and today the company assays and hallmarks the precious metals - silver, gold, platinum and palladium. Sheffield Assay Office is one of only four UK assay offices who all work to uphold the Hallmarking Act of 1973 and continue to ensure consumer protection for customers purchasing precious metals.

To find out more about the whole range of services offered by Sheffield Assay Office, such as our hallmarking and analytical services, please email us at or complete the contact form on our website at,

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