Chief executive and Assay Master of the Birmingham Assay Office, Michael Allchin has announced his retirement.
Mr Allchin, who is only the 12th Assay Master in the office's 240-year history, will step down in 2014 after nearly 16 years in the business.
He has spent his entire career in the jewellery industry and has worked with the British Jewellers’ Association and the Goldsmiths’ Company to encourage the re-introduction of apprenticeships, while also supporting the work of the Birmingham School of Jewellery.
Concerns, also, about the long term survival of the Jewellery Quarter has seen Mr Allchin become heavily involved in the foundation of the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust, a Community Interest Company which enables the local community to drive the regeneration of the area.
The Birmingham Assay Office in in the process of a move to a new purpose-built building.
Mr Allchin said: “We all regard ourselves as temporary custodians of this unique institution.
“The Birmingham Assay Office is only still here because of our great team of people with their innovative thinking and classic Brummie entrepreneurial spirit.
"The jewellery industry has changed incredibly and unexpectedly over the last ten years, largely due to the drastic increase in precious metal prices. Through the commitment and enthusiasm of the whole team we have successfully retained Hallmarking and delivered four new strands to our business model, developing new niche services for the wider jewellery, watch, precious metal and gemstone industry.”