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Our time on the Understanding Jewellery course at the Birmingham Assay Office

Birmingham Assay Office is long-established as an independent centre of excellence and quality assessment within the precious metals industry. Their Academy division translates expertise and experiences into a range of training courses focused on the jewellery industry.

The Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) appointed a new Marketing and Communications Executive, Lauren Scattergood, back in December. Lauren is new to the industry and had the opportunity to attend Birmingham Assay Office’s  ‘Understanding Jewellery’ course to learn more about precious metals and the jewellery making process.

The course covers topics from various metal alloys and their different characteristics to jewellery components and terminology. It also focuses on ways in which jewellery is made and how this affects the quality, durability and appearance, techniques such as engraving and diamond milling, some fundamental rules about working with gemstones as well as costing and pricing.

Lauren Scattergood, Marketing and Communications Executive at CMJ, said: “The course is a fantastic way to learn the basics of precious metal types and their properties, typical alloys and the metals used within them, hallmarking, casting and jewellery production. I found it incredibly informative and I gained a great understanding of precious metals and the process of making jewellery.

“I would recommend this to someone who is new to the industry or looking to gain confidence in selling jewellery in a retail store. Being new to the industry, I was looking to gain more knowledge of metals, alloys and the process from metal to product. Approaches to costing and pricing to reach a commercial retail price were also covered, which helped me comprehend how our retail members decide on pricing for various metals.

“Allyson Thomas, who delivered the course, had a great depth of knowledge and was passionate about the subject which made the day very engaging.  She helped link the theory to practice within my specific job role and welcomed any questions to ensure I felt confident once the course was finished. There were materials to touch and activities to help put theory in to practise which I found to be a helpful learning tool, especially when studying the weights and properties of metals and looking at different setting styles.

“I was also given the opportunity to embark on a hallmarking tour where I could see first-hand the different hallmarking stamps and techniques including lasering.

I would recommend this course to anyone who is starting out in the industry or needs a good understanding of the jewellery making process.”

For more information on this course, please see the  website:

 The Academy is also currently offering the Understanding Hallmarking course for free while businesses are closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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