A few words from Halls’ Silver and Jewellery Specialist Maryanne Lineker Mobberley FGA DGA and how she got to be where she is today – head of Halls’ Silver and Jewellery department.
People often ask me how I got into the auction business. Did you know at school you wanted to be an auctioneer? What qualifications do you need? Where do you go to learn about the trade? The long and short of it is, that in this profession there is no structured route to take. For example, if you want to become Doctor or a Lawyer you know exactly what grades you need, which degree to take and how long it will take you to get there, in the auction business, however, the majority of one’s education is gained ‘on the job’.
After studying History of Art at Reading University I returned to my home county of Shropshire to pursue a career, but in which industry I was unsure, all I knew is I wanted to be in the cultural field. Following what turned out to be some very sound advice from a relative I decided to undertake a work experience placement at Halls. This proved to be the catalyst to begin a profession I now love. A year later I had joined Halls as a member of their fine art team of which I am still part of today. I soon learned that your knowledge as a valuer is based on both your daily experiences in the auction house, together with guidance from those who have been in the occupation for years!
Of course, there are some qualifications that a valuer can embark upon if they wish to expand their knowledge further and this is particularly important my specialism of jewellery. Most people will have heard of diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds, some may also know the colours and appearance of other gemstones such as amethyst, opal, garnet, peridot, jade, amber, jet…to name but a few! There are actually hundreds, if not thousands of different varieties of gemstones and from an appraiser’s point of view it is vital you know what you are looking at. Is the stone what it appears to be? Has a stone been treated or enhanced in some way or has it been grown in a laboratory, rather than naturally deep in the ground? These are just some of the questions I need to ask myself when I’m valuing someone’s piece of jewellery.
Arguably, the most respected qualification and perhaps a must for the budding or experienced jewellery valuer is to gain a diploma in gemmology. As gemmology is a specialist field, really, the only ‘body’s’ that offer recognised educational training are the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) and the Gem-A (Gemmological Association of Great Britain). Courses of varying levels are offered by both of these organisations and their diplomas, which in the case of the Gem-A take a minimum of 2 years to achieve, are internationally acknowledged.
In 2014 I completed my diploma following 2 years of evening classes and weekend study…not for the faint hearted but definitely worth it and necessary if you are interested in a jewellery focused career. Following this, in 2015 I also completed the diamond specific qualification. Both of these achievements are identified by the use of the letters ‘FGA’ and ‘DGA’ and are a must to look out for if you are considering getting you jewellery assessed, be it for insurance purposes or their open market value.
I feel very lucky that a sporadic internship (and a very wise relative!) has led me to pursue a career that I am not only passion about but enjoy every day.
Maryanne is now consigning for her next Fine Silver and Jewellery Auction on 21st June. Entries close 22nd May.
If you require a valuation come see Maryanne at Halls Fine Art, Battlefield, Shrewsbury on our weekly Monday Antiques Valuation day 10am – 1pm or for a free appraisal or home visit call Maryanne 01743 450 700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org