Ahead of the Goldsmiths’ Company Jewellery Materials Congress in July, Deputy Warden Dr Robert Organ explains why the international conference is set to innovate the trade.
Q: Why is the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office hosting the Jewellery Materials Congress?
A: The Goldsmiths’ Company has always been a leader in the support of the trade, including educational and technological development. To ensure that it maintains relevant and effective in the future, and to place the UK at the cutting edge of new technology, it decided to instigate two game changing activities: The Congress and to fund, via a gift from the Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, a number of PhD studentships in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge. The department in Cambridge is a historical partner of the Company and the first laboratory there was set up with a donation from the Company 100 years ago. There, PhDs have been set up in the first tranche of funding and, like the Congress, will concentrate on development and understanding of jewellery alloys.
Q: The Jewellery Materials Congress is a new venture, why do you feel it’s necessary?
A: The advent of technology has changed the industry in recent years - rapid prototyping, laser sintering, coloured alloys in gold and platinum show that the progression of new technologies and materials seem never ending. The difficulty for the trade is that there is a huge shortage of expertise to understand the materials properties and their processing at a fundamental level. This shortage is not just in the UK but also globally.
The Congress will support the jewellery and silverware community through providing a collaborative, non-commercial forum to share knowledge and foster technological and operational innovation in materials development. It will be the largest jewellery technology conference held in the UK and the largest specialising in jewellery materials in the world.
Q: How will the new partnership with The Santa Fe Symposium help the Goldsmiths’ Company?
A: The Santa Fe Symposium® is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA and is now in its 33rd year. The Symposium is internally renowned as the leading jewellery technology event in the world. It is a privilege that we are able to partner with it. There is huge synergy - we both share the same goals to share information, allowing networking of leading players and educate the trade. The main difference between the events is that our Congress is focussed on materials technology while the Santa Fe Symposium® covers a much wider range of technology uses.
Q: How will this congress promote technological innovation and support the trade in the future?
A: The pool of expertise available to the UK precious metals industry has reduced in recent years, with fewer younger technical experts coming in to the field, and the PHDs and the Congress will help to grow capacity and contribute to the UK’s standing as a centre of excellence.
Q: Who will the Congress appeal to?
A: The presentations to be given at the Congress will have widespread appeal, ranging from practising craftsmen, fundamental academic research, industrial material manufacturers and material processing technologies.
Q: Why should members of the trade attend?
A: It gives the unique opportunity to learn from 17 impressive international industry experts who will present their research, techniques and findings over two days. (The full list can be found on our website.) They can network within a unique gathering of like-minded jewellery manufacturing colleagues and build industry relationships. They can discuss innovation, research and the future of the industry in an educational forum and exchange information with fellow professionals. A broad range of topics within our field will be covered, from benchtop practice, industrial development and fundamental research.