Birmingham's first new Assay Office in 137 years has opened its doors after a multimillion-pound move.
The office, founded by industrialist Matthew Boulton in 1773 to provide a hallmarking facility to the rapidly expanding local silver trade, had been based in Newhall Street for more than a century.
However, its new home in a purpose-built facility in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter is now operational.
The new Assay Office is in a designated enterprise zone area bounded by Icknield Street, Pope Street and Moreton Street.
Assay Master Stella Layton said operations like hallmarking and valuations were shifting across.
She added: "Given that the Assay Office has four large divisions to consider, with myriad complexities with regards to relocating equipment and high value goods, this really was no mean feat."
The prominent new facility is almost 65,000 sq ft over three floors, including a mezzanine.
Ms Layton said the new state-of-the-art building opened up new opportunities for the organisation.
It will see the four operational divisions – hallmarking, analysis, the gem lab and valuations – re-housed.
But she said the move also opened the Assay Office up to Birmingham and the Jewellery Quarter communities with space for training, conferences, meetings and other events.
The relocation has been a massive project, as decades of archives, paperwork, staff records and other treasures have been carefully reviewed and the significant items repacked.
Favourite punches, pinkies and tools have been carefully bubble-wrapped and labelled, bringing some familiarity to the shiny new building. Hi-tech equipment has been dangled from a crane and deposited gently into its new position and all divisions of the Assay Office are continuing business without any disruption.
Ms Layton added: "We're looking forward to the opportunities for new business, service development and continuous improvement that this state-of-the-art facility brings to the Assay Office Birmingham team as well as to existing and future customers too."
Work on the scheme was carried out by Trebor Developments, Glazzard Architects and Galliford Try.
Meanwhile, the move means a new future for the former Assay Office on Newhall Street. The Post reported last year the scheme was being sold to mixed-use developer TCN UK.
Earlier this summer, it emerged that new plans had been lodged to convert the Grade II-listed building into 30,000 sq ft of offices and 32 one- and two-bedroom apartments with private gardens and parking.
Subject to planning permission, the intention is to start work on site in the autumn and for the offices to be operational by next spring.
The building has been extensively extended and adapted from 1890 through to the mid 1970s and was awarded Grade II listed status in 2004.