- Summary (about us)
- Mail Order
- Timeline (history of Quicktest)
- History of the Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook
- The Staff
About us: summary
Contact: 01923 220206 or firstname.lastname@example.org
QUICKTEST manufactures the QUICKTEST and TROYTEST brands of tester for gold and silver (and other white metals: platinum, Palladium, steel); they are used by every major chain of jewellers and pawnbrokers in the UK, over 650 stores. That is why these testers are regarded as the 'industry standard', they are even used for training at the Birmingham Assay Office.
Our straight-talking style tells you exactly why a product is good, and if it's not good we tell you that too! We publish the definitive guide, The Gold and Silver Buyer's Handbook (see the reviews ); see our many information articles - magnifiers, scales, gem testers, UV lights, winders etc.
We have been selling by mail since 1986. We are small enough to be able to follow every order and to know about every product; we are large enough to actually stock the items (97% of items are in stock at any one time).
Most mail order companies take items off the shelf then simply put them in a box and post them. We don't do that, we check the goods before dispatch! As a result, our customers rarely have to telephone us because they don't understand how to use the products, and rarely return items because they are faulty or too difficult to use. See our feedback.
Timeline: the history of Quicktest
QUICKTEST was founded by Raffi Katz. In the 1970s / early 1980s he worked in a jobbing workshop for jewellery, then a retail jewellers, a watch company and a scrap/bullion company. All of this came in useful for his book, The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook.
Late 1970s - early 1980s. Raffi would take time off from his job at a jewellers in London's Leicester Square to work at antiques fairs. He sold jewellers' loupes, weighing machines (spring balances) and Troytest acid testers to the antiques traders; he dabbled in microscopes, binoculars and telescopes.
These were also the early days of selling by mail. With an advert it Exchange & Mart, the mailing list grew until it had dozens of customers and mail order sales grew to several orders per month - all from Raffi's tiny flat in North London.
In those early days, QUICKTEST's 'official' address was an accommodation address in Covent Garden, London, near the jewellers where he worked.
1986. In addition to selling loupes and balances, Raffi produced the first QUICKTEST acid tester for testing gold, made in a portable fume cupboard his dad had built, which he set up in in his mum's kitchen (having considered it too dangerous to handle the dangerous chemicals in his flat). These were the days, long ago, when you could actually buy chemicals from a local chemist shop.
However, QUICKTEST's main project, at this time, was the development of the very first miniature digital weighing machine for gold. This was six years before the first mass-produced balance, made by the Japanese company TANITA. The project failed but Raffi was left with a detailed knowledge of how weighing machines work.
It was this same year (1986) that saw the first edition of The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook; and it was this year that QUICKTEST was registered for VAT. But Raffi was still working from home.
Late 1980s. Raffi's flat became too small to store the stock, so he borrowed space in a friend's storeroom and QUICKTEST had its first 'proper' address, in Hendon, North London. However, QUICKTEST needed a more 'permanent' address: PO BOX 180, WATFORD. This is our 'mailing address' today, forty years later (though, today, visitors are welcome at our street address).
In the 1980s Mail Order was not the main part of the business. The antiques fairs were booming and QUICKTEST exhibited at two or three per week, from Devon to Kent to Staffordshire to Southern Scotland. With the collapse of the Soviet Union Raffi started dealing in night vision equipment, first as it came out of the Russian military bases in Eastern Europe, then directly from a factory in Russia.
1988 saw the second edition of The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook, with a third edition in 1993. Raffi also took to writing for the antiques press, with two regular columns for the Antiques Dealer newspaper (one humorous, one serious) and occasional articles for The Antiques Trade Gazette. At the same time, the mail order side of the business grew, QUICKTEST employed a part-time packer, it was no longer a one-man business.
1990s. QUICKTEST moved to an industrial unit in West Watford and developed a large collection of part-timers to help in the office and at the fairs. We had now become a 'proper' mail order company, sending the parcels out on contract with Royal Mail.
2000-2005. We moved three times, each time into slightly larger premises (but keeping the Box Number address for continuity). Chris was the first full time employee. It was hard work with two people processing and packing orders, Raffi writing articles and producing mail order catalogues, plus designing and maintaining a website and working at the antiques fairs.
2006-2007.Chris left, Mac jointed QUICKTEST and took charge of the storeroom and dispatch; various part-time workers helped with packing.
2008-2010. We buy our competitor Troytest (the founder, L T W Hansen invented the tester in 1949), and we supplied Troytest and Quicktest precious metal testers to most jewellery wholesalers in the U.K. We take over the warehouse next door.
2011-2019. With the antiques fairs going into a slow decline, we concentrate on mail order, developing a clientele of trade customers, from one-man antiques traders to small companies with a handful of shops to large companies with hundreds of shops.
2020-2023. We survive covid, largely because we already imported goods from China and used our contacts to find reliable suppliers of masks. New web site. We win a Gold Trusted Service Award for the FEEFO feedback service.
In the aftermath of Brexit and covid there is economic and political turmoil, this is good for the price of gold, we get busier and busier. QUICKTEST now employs three permanent staff, two part-time casuals, two occasional casuals and three freelancers.
The Staff Today
Here is a guide to the staff, and also a guide to who you might wish to speak to on the phone.
Raffi , the 'boss'. (that's me): founder of Quicktest, designer of this website, writer of articles and catalogues, I know most things about the products and most things-technical. I rarely answer the phone.
Sandra: administrator. In charge of orders from wholesalers and the big chains of stores, very good at troubleshooting, knows about most products and all suppliers, very good on the telephone.
If you own (or buy for) more than ten stores, ask Sandra about our 'call-off' system, you send us a weekly spreadsheet, we send the orders out to the stores, no need for you to get 'accounts' to authorise each order.
Diana: in charge of warehouse, production and returns; does order processing for retail orders (including most telephone orders); good at general enquiries, very good on the telephone.
If you have a query about a dispatch or about a returned item; if you need advice about stock or delivery times, then Diana is your person.
Lesley and Andy: picking and packing, very good at preparing bulk orders. They might answer the phone if nobody else is available.
Amy, Spencer, Megan and Jacob: they work hard in the background preparing orders and helping with general office work. They are unlikely to answer the phone.
Chris: works in the lab, on Sundays (you might get to speak to him if you phone on a Sunday).
- Karen (bookkeeping), complicated accounts queries must wait for Karen, please allow a few days for a reply.
- Phil (marketing), if you think you need to speak to Phil, I will ask him if wants to speak to you.
- Stephen (computer), if you really think there's a problem with our server, (website access) I will ask Stephen.