Heritage Crafts and The Royal Mint have launched the inaugural Precious Metalworker of the Year award as part of their ongoing partnership, with a £2,000 prize for the winning entry, as well as a trophy specially designed by Paul Morgan, the Kings Assay Master and Head of Technical Design at The Royal Mint, to be presented at a high-profile reception at the Vicar’s Hall, Windsor Castle, in November.
This award celebrates a heritage craftsperson who has made an outstanding contribution to working with precious metals over the past year. It recognises a contribution that is far beyond the ordinary, based on a proven dedication to a particular metalworking skill.
The award is open to practitioners of any craft that uses precious metals as its primary material. Examples include (but are not limited to) jewellery making, silversmithing, gilding, hand engraving, medal making, silver spinning, metal thread embroidery, engine turning (guilloché), concert flute making, etc. This year Heritage Crafts will also award a Young Metalworker of the Year Award chosen from nominees aged 25 years and under and supported by Heritage Crafts Benefactors Lucy and Lawrence Butcher with a prize of £1,000.
To be eligible, the objects that the nominee makes must be made primarily of precious metals that has been worked using skilled hand techniques. Makers of composite objects are eligible as long as precious metals are used prominently. Anyone, including the maker themselves, can nominate for this award. Nominations close on Friday 15 September 2022 at 5pm.
Judges for the new award will be:
- Paul Morgan – Paul is the King’s Assay Master at The Royal Mint, appointed to serve the reigning monarch and to ensure the integrity of the British coinage. The Assay Master role tests the quality of the coins and precious metals, underpinned by traditional craftsmanship and innovation at The Royal Mint, as well as upholding the integrity of UK Hallmarking standards by annually auditing the four UK Hallmarking offices.
- Dr Rebecca Struthers – Rebecca is watchmaker and founder of Struthers Watchmakers, a traditional workshop and studio in Leek, Staffordshire, set up with husband and partner Craig. Rebecca is the first, and currently only, watchmaker to have earned a PhD in horology, and in 2021 won the Heritage Crafts President’s Award for Endangered Crafts, set up by The Prince Charles, The Former Prince of Wales.
- Leighton John – Leighton is Director of Operations at the Royal Mint, joining the company in 1991 as an Engineering Apprentice. With a BEng in Integrated Engineering from Cardiff School of Engineering, Leighton held all the major production and engineering management roles in the business before becoming Head of Production and Operational Excellence in 2010.
To nominate yourself or someone else, complete the nomination form before the deadline of 5pm on Friday 15 September 2023.
The Royal Mint and Heritage Crafts launched their partnership earlier this year, announcing four bursaries at an event held at the House of Lords. Since then, five bursaries have been awarded to those wanting to train or further develop skills in precious metals, along with expert support from the team at The Royal Mint. As an exemplar of British craftsmanship, The Royal Mint is committed to protecting and celebrating craftspeople and developing skills wherever possible.