Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

STASH SECRET; Janice Morley Reveals How She Found the PS1,000 That Paid for Her New Pair of Curtains

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

STASH SECRET; Janice Morley Reveals How She Found the PS1,000 That Paid for Her New Pair of Curtains

Article excerpt

Byline: Janice Morley

DECLUTTERING creates welcome space in your house, and a sense of satisfaction in your mind. I had been bothered about all the odds and sods cluttering up the jewellery drawer -- the sort of stuff that was never going to be lovingly left to anyone if I got run over by a bus. Stuff just hanging about in an "I don't know what to do with it" sort of way.

Stuff I had not worn for years; gifts I'd never really liked; love tokens from old boyfriends from my twenties; brooches (yuck) left from aunts; loads of single earrings, the other one lost. A motley collection BUT with an intrinsic gold and silver value. So, having decided to declutter, I Googled the Goldsmiths' Company, one of the 12 top livery companies of the City of London, which has been overseeing the trade of gold and silver in the UK for centuries, and asked for its advice.

The advice was to come to a valuation day, or ring up and make an appointment to meet a valuer, who would weigh, value and assess each item for a charge. If requested, the valuer could write a report on each item. The charge for my small stash was PS250.

Prices are based on a percentage of the value of items. It does not have to be jewellery. Experts will assess all gold and silver household items, too. Then, if I wanted to cash it in, I would know the true value of the stock, just in case I encountered a less-than-honest broker. They suggest selling to a local jeweller, or to go to the old London jewellery quarter of Hatton Garden. So this is how I ended up one Thursday morning, walking up the imposing stairs and into the marble hall of the Goldsmiths' Company, Foster Lane, EC2 for an appointment with Rupert Huddy, an accredited jeweller, expert valuer and a silversmith of 39 years' experience, whose father was a watchmaker.

Huddy visits the assay office of the Goldsmiths' (where hallmarking gold and silver began) every Thursday. Though the Goldsmiths' hosts these valuations, the actual organiser is the Guild of Valuers and Jewellers.

Huddy guided me to a small workroom where he had his professional instruments laid out, among them a magnifying glass, scales, methods of measurement, and a refractometer -- an instrument that measures the refractive index of an item, which to a lay person means it can distinguish between different gems. …

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