Jewellery and Silversmithing - HND

UCAS Code:
Full Time (2 years)
September 2016

A combination of creative design skills and practical workshops on our Jewellery and Silversmithing HND will help you become a successful designer and manufacturer.

Based in the heart of Birmingham’s thriving Jewellery Quarter, you’ll benefit from unrivalled expertise and facilities. Our course is renowned for its strong industry connections and excellent skills tuition.

That’s why our graduates go on to work for companies like Tiffany & Co, Goldsmiths, Fei Liu and Weston Beamor, or set up their own successful businesses.

What's covered in the course?

Our course will immerse you in the world of jewellery and silversmithing as you create pieces in precious and non-precious metals. You produce pieces by hand and by mechanical means, with a particular focus on manipulating metal.

The practical, design led nature of the course gives you plenty of opportunity for hands on workshop experience to hone your skills. You’ll develop practical experience of materials and tools alongside techniques in drawing and model making to develop your design processes.

You’ll have access to the latest equipment such as laser welders and 2D and 3D CAD software packages, as well as casting and plating workshops.

Dedicated staff with professional experience will offer advice, support and industry contacts. You’ll be encouraged to enter national and international competitions and have fantastic opportunities to work on live projects with industry.

Field trips and study visits add colour and relevance to your studies and support an understanding of commercial jewellery manufacturing environments.

You’ll study at our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery, in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, where much of today’s jewellery is still made. The historical facade of our Vittoria Street building conceals a contemporary environment including workshops, a specialist library, an atrium gallery and exhibition space.

“The course allowed me to gain confidence in hand skills whilst exploring many new technologies. I am now able to create individual designs combining several techniques and have progressed on to the top-up degree Design for Industry where I can build greater expertise in CAD and laser technology.” Liz Rollo

Why Choose Us?

  • Founded in 1890, our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery is the largest in Europe, located in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. An estimated 40 per cent of British jewellery is still made there today and you’ll gain contacts, inspiration and experience.
  • The course has an excellent reputation for producing highly employable graduates with a practical understanding of the needs of the industry.
  • Our well-equipped studio workshops offer a laser welder and a dedicated CAD facility, using the latest relevant CAD packages to enhance the traditional techniques and hand skills learned.
  • An opportunity to showcase your work to industry at a trade fair in Birmingham gives you the chance to get noticed, make valuable connections and even gain employment.
  • Sponsorship and support from associated companies gives the course industry relevance and insight.
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Grants and Scholarships

Want to join us in September 2016? Undergraduate students can receive up to £4,000* in non repayable financial support.

*(criteria will apply)

This course is open to International students

School of Jewellery

Discover the School of Jewellery

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Thomas Glodsmiths
  • Cartier
  • H&M

And in jobs such as:

  • Apprenticeship - Jeweller
  • Bench work designer
  • CAD designer/technician

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students

In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio.

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2016/17
GCE A Level/ AS Level DD at A-Level or 120 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 1 A-Level
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Must be in a relevant subject pathway
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) MP - 120 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) PPP - 120 UCAS points
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) D - 120 UCAS points
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Pass
International Baccalaureate Diploma 24 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 120 UCAS points - Higher Levels
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 120 UCAS points- two Advanced Highers grade DD
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) 120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2016/17
IELTS Non English speakers require IELTS 6.0
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 24 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.


International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 1 A Level

New UCAS tariff

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
HND Sep 2016 FT 2 years £6,000 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
HND Sep 2016 FT 2 years TBC Apply via UCAS

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Portfolio Guidance

We invite all eligible applicants to the HND Jewellery and Silversmithing course for interview. Overseas applicants are advised to provide a digital portfolio where the opportunity to attend an interview in person is not possible. We accept four digital formats of portfolio:

Uploading either a PDF or PowerPoint document
Please include a minimum of 12 images and a statement about the work including your name and the course you have applied for. Moving image work may be included but should be in either QuickTime or mpeg format.

Online Portfolios
We accept portfolios created on Go to the site and create a profile. Upload a minimum of 12 images and a statement about the work including your name and the course you have applied for. Moving image pieces can also be embedded in the blog.

Email Portfolio
The file size must be below 2MB and must be generated as a PowerPoint or PDF document. Please include a minimum of 12 images and a statement about the work including your name and the course you have applied for.

Portfolios on a CD
Ensure files are mac and pc compatible, and organize files logically, ideally in a PowerPoint presentation. Include a minimum of 12 images and a statement about the work including your name and the course you have applied for. Moving image work may be included but should be in either QuickTime or mpeg format.

Your Portfolio should include work which indicates the following:

  • Creativity and imagination - sketchbooks are a useful way of demonstrating your thought process and ability to generate and communicate ideas.
  • Design development - presentation sheets and design sheets demonstrate your ability to generate ideas, solve three-dimensional problems and present final proposals / solutions through any media including drawings, models, technical working drawings, CAD development, formal renderings, use of Photoshop etc.
  • Experience of three-dimensional work - this may be displayed through a breadth of art and design activities and should show your ability to consider shape, form and construction of three-dimensional products.
  • Knowledge of metalworking/jewellery – it is useful, but not essential, to demonstrate some familiarity with basic Jewellery and Silversmithing techniques and processes used for the manufacture of metal products.
  • Evidence of a working familiarity with basic drawing and artistic concepts – exploration of colour, texture, pattern, dynamics, structure etc. Mark making techniques, observational drawings and experience in a variety of media can be useful indicators of enthusiasm for creative activity.
  • An indication of enthusiasm and motivation towards, plus enjoyment of, the discipline of Jewellery and Silversmithing – an inquiring attitude to the creative process is likely to result in knowledge of the work of contemporary Jewellers and Silversmiths, designers, visits to exhibitions, personal research, evidence of work experience. Questions at interview will be asked relating to this but logbooks and journals are a good method of evidencing your knowledge and experience.
  • Evidence of research and written work - include at least one example of your written work to show intellectual engagement, ability to critically analyse information and articulate your opinions.

A few tips to consider

  • Work should be ordered so that it is easy to navigate.
  • Edit your work fully as you can be judged by the worst piece of work as well as the best. Your portfolio should contain a selection of work representative of you, NOT everything you have ever done.
  • Images of three-dimensional works should try to depict a sense of scale, texture, material, colour and context.
  • Consider the ideas/ skills that each piece of work demonstrates and how this is relevant to your application and chosen course.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Guidance for UK/EU students


UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office.You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Grants and Scholarships

Want to join us in September 2016? Undergraduate students can receive up to £4,000* in non repayable financial support.

*(criteria will apply)

Year one

You’ll be given an introduction to the industry and the tools, materials and processes used. The course is based around traditional techniques and projects, with hands on workshops.

Each project involves a new jewellery-making technique or process. You’ll work on both large and small scale metalwork and related design processes.

Demonstrations from experts, as well as field trips, will help you understand jewellery processes and gain networking opportunities.

Modules explained:
Industry Studies 1

An overview of the industry and the tools, processes and materials used.

Introduction to Small-Scale Metalwork

Honing your skills to create individual pieces of jewellery.

Traditional Techniques

Workshop based practical work to learn the fundamental techniques you’ll need.

Introduction to Large-Scale Metalwork

Developing your metalwork on a larger platform.

Multiple Production

Creating pieces in different materials.

Specialists Techniques 1

Workshop based skills development.

Year two

You’ll develop your skills in CAD work and build up your professional portfolio. This year also develops your advanced jewellery skills relating to traditional diamond mounting and diamond grading.

A live project forms a compulsory part of your studies this year. Birmingham-based precious metal casting and rapid-prototyping company, Weston Beamor submit a brief to create jewellery and give you the chance to gain recognition, prizes and valuable work experience.

Awards are presented at a prestigious trade fair in Birmingham providing great publicity and networking opportunities.

Modules explained:
Applied Technology

The Applied and Information Technology modules introduce the use of 2D software such as Photoshop and Illustrator. The focus is to develop professional presentation skills for the creation of promotional material and a personal portfolio, in preparation for interviews and the graduate exhibition. You are encouraged to develop these skills by participating in national and international competitions.

Live Project
Industry Studies 2
Design Development and Realisation

The final two modules of the HND Jewellery and Silversmithing course are designed to give greater freedom and self-direction, and therefore relate to personal career ambitions. The resulting outcomes should be an amalgamation of craft and design skills, innovative ideas and well-considered functional products, at a scale of your choosing.

This module will develop your product portfolio and creativity.

Specialist Techniques 2

The course is based around traditional jewellery techniques and projects, which also involve new jewellery technology including lasers, Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture.

This is a design-based jewellery HND course, which encourages students to be creative within structured projects. Each project involves a new jewellery-making technique or process. This enables individual, functional jewellery pieces to be constructed in precious and non-precious metals.

Knowledge and skills of jewellery-making are developed through ‘hands on’ experience in the workshop and jewellery students benefit from demonstrations given by experienced practitioners in the field. These practical experiences help jewellery students to decide on their preferred scale of work, whether jewellery or silversmithing.

The course is assessed via coursework and you will undertake practical and written modules. Alongside workshop practice and demonstrations you’ll learn through a mix of lectures, seminars, critiques, team work, presentations, tutorials, online learning, and self directed study.

Ideas are developed and problems solved through drawing, model making and practical experience of materials, tools and techniques.

The practical focus of the course is balanced with personal research to develop intellectual thinking.

Teaching breakdown

51 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
49 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

1 Written exams DarkOrange
80 Coursework FireBrick
19 Practical exams #fece5a

Student stories - Daisy Grice

Student Daisy Grice tells us why she loves studying the HND Jewellery and Silversmithing at the School of Jewellery. She says: "It's so full of energy and you can really tell that people here have a passion for what they do."

Further Study

Graduates from the HND can apply for the BA (Hons) Jewellery and Silversmithing – Design for Industry top-up degree course. There’s no automatic progression but strong candidates from the course have a high success rate.

If you wish to push the boundaries of jewellery and silversmithing, challenge traditional conventions, and create experimental objects in materials other than metal we suggest you visit our BA (Hons) Jewellery Design and Related Products course.


The 2015 Weston Beamor Design Competition presented a brief for our students to design an engagement ring and matching wedding band. Lucy Whitehouse’s unusual vintage style creations got her noticed and she won a £500 cash prize and a work placement with the company.

Enhancing your employability skills

Our course has an excellent reputation for highly employable graduates with knowledge of the processes and commercial awareness to help them succeed.

You’ll develop good communication skills through sketching, 3D models, technical drawing, photographs, written and verbal presentations. This variety of media will enable you to demonstrate your creativity and personal characteristics.

You’ll also have skills in wax carving, tool making and metalwork and be proficient in laser welding and colouring technology. The course also gives you knowledge of the casting process.

Instruction in 2D and 3D CAD software programmes help jewellery students to build a professional portfolio. This is used for a mock interview and is excellent preparation for employment within the industry.

Your practical and commercial understanding will be complemented by essential networking, communication and presentation skills that are required in a competitive industry.

By working on live briefs you’ll learn how to generate a range of potential ideas and apply this to the production of creative work.

You’ll also develop a range of transferable skills, such as how to communicate ideas and solve problems, as well as developing negotiation and planning skills.

Hilary's story

Hilary Ogden graduated in 2015 and has set up her own workshop in the garage at home. She's now starting to sell her jewellery from her business 'His, Hers, Ours Jewellery'. "The course gave me the confidence to set up my own business because it made you feel like you could make stuff that would sell."


Although we don’t offer a formal placement year as part of this course, our students are offered a range of opportunities thanks to the outstanding industry links our respected staff have nurtured.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

We have an excellent success rate for graduate employment. A variety of career opportunities exist within the jewellery and silversmithing industry including: bench work, designer, CAD designer/technician, independent designer/manufacturer, production technician and in retail and marketing.

Our graduates work for commercial and specialist companies including GETi in the Jewellery Quarter, Fei Lui (who is also a graduate from the School), Fattorini, Goldsmiths and Castle Galleries, part of the Halcyon Group, one of the largest and most prestigious art groups in the world.

Many of our graduates also set up their own successful jewellery and silversmithing businesses, or work freelance and take deign commissions.

Graduate Kevin Grey is a relative newcomer to the silversmithing trade but is already enjoying a successful career. He retrained with us after 25 years in the automotive industry.

Kevin sells bespoke pieces through his website and via a gallery in New York, where many of his buyers are based, and has ambitions for further international expansion in the future. After graduation, Kevin also took up a Residency at the School of Jewellery, sharing his skills and knowledge with other students.

He was awarded the prestigious Goldsmiths Company Award at the Design & Crafts Council Awards.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our jewellery and silversmithing course is most popular with international students from:  


Vittoria Street building

The School of Jewellery's Vittoria Street building is inspirational and functional. A blend of traditional historic and cutting-edge contemporary, it is light, spacious and extremely well-resourced.


An extensive refurbishment programme integrated the Victorian Gothic building of 1863 with the adjacent 1912 extension and a site further down the road. The architects’ success in doing so resulted in awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Civic Trust.

Equipment and Machinery

The Basement contains machinery and equipment that requires higher levels of supervision. As well as conventional tool room machines such as lathes and milling machines, this area includes rooms for casting and electro-plating, and a tool and material store.


Our atrium area is a lively exhibition space with a frequently changing range of shows and displays.

Horology facilities

Horology students also have dedicated areas, as well as the latest CAD equipment. You’ll also have access to specialist equipment, a subject specialist library, seminar rooms and lecture theatre.

Studio Workshops

Studio Workshops provide cut-out work benches with lights and gas torches plus design work stations. Students can use these rooms between 8am and 8pm (5pm on Fridays), independent of staff supervision.

Process workshops

Process workshops contain larger soldering hearths under extraction hoods with pickling and cleaning facilities. These workshops also have polishing machines and other bench mounted powered equipment. Each studio workshop has access to one of the process workshops.

Our staff

Our staff are experts in their field and support students on their journey through their chosen course into professional life.

Jo Pond


Discovering jewellery during her formative years at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Jo Pond progressed through Berkshire and Loughborough Colleges of Art and Design, establishing her design process some years later during her Master's at The School of Jewellery, Birmingham.

Her work has been exhibited internationally, showcased at selected exhibitions such as Schmuck in Munich, the V&A Museum London, Price Tower Arts Centre Oklahoma, Galerie Rob Koudijs Amsterdam and Contemporary Applied Arts in London.

Born in Chiswick, London, Jo is now based in rural Staffordshire. Alongside her practice as a studio jeweller, she is employed as a full-time lecturer at The School of Jewellery.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

+44 (0)125 350 2917

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389


Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295