Jewellery and Silversmithing - HND

Course Overview

The essential course information

UCAS Code:
Full Time (2 years)
School of Jewellery
School of Jewellery

Previously part of:

Birmingham Institute of Art and Design

Blending the latest design skills with workshop practice, this course guides you towards a high level of professional competence. You produce pieces by hand and by mechanical means, with a particular focus on manipulating metal, using processes relevant to the jewellery and silversmithing industry.

What's covered in the course?

This is a design-based course where each project involves a new technique or process, resulting in individual, functional outcomes. You will be constructing pieces in precious and non-precious metals, and in materials associated with the traditions of the industry.

You learn how to apply your creativity through problem solving, and developing your knowledge and skills through hands-on workshop experience.

You will also learn how to communicate design ideas effectively and, with instruction in two-dimensional and three-dimensional CAD software programmes, you will create a professional portfolio.

Trade professionals recognise the relevance this course has to current industry practice. Encouragement to enter national and international competitions, and participation in live projects boosts your employment prospects further.

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

Liz Rollo

Why Choose Us?

  • 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.
  • Sponsorship and support from associated companies gives the course industry relevance and insight.
  • Based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, where an estimated 40 per cent of British jewellery is made today, you are among potential industry contacts, inspiration and experience.


Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

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

Typical UK QualificationRequirements 2015/16

In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio. See Portfolio Guidance tab.

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) Pass = 120 UCAS points, only considered in combination with other Level 3 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.

Typical EU/Non-EU (International) QualificationsRequirements 2015/16
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 24 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

How to Apply

Full Time: Apply through UCAS.
UCAS Code: 72WW.
Apply via UCAS

Non-EU (International) students:. There are three ways for international students to apply: direct to the University, through a country representative or through UCAS. Please read our guidance on how to apply.

UCAS Information

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

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

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

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.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 2 years HND £6,000 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 2 years HND TBC

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.

For information on fees for the HND in Jewellery and Silversmithing course please contact the Admissions Office: Tel: +44 (0)121 331 5150. Email:

Additional costs

You will need to invest in basic hand tools and precious materials.

Financial Options and Advice

We have deliberately tried to set fees that reflect the cost of course delivery in order to help our students avoid debt.

Full-time students won't have to pay for tuition fees until after their studies - there are government tuition fee loans available. If you are a full-time student, after leaving university you will start to pay back your loan once you are earning over £21,000 a year, at a rate of nine per cent on any income above £21,000. So if you were earning £25,000, you would pay back nine per cent of £4,000, or £30 per month.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis offers key facts on fees, loans and grants:

Financial Support

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

International Students

International Students at BCU

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 reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

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

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Employment Opportunities

Our graduates work for companies such as Cartier, H&M, Domino and Bicknells.

Graduates can apply for the BA (Hons) Jewellery and Silversmithing – Design for Industry top-up degree course. Other 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.

Further Studies

For further information on courses at the School of Jewellery, call +44(0)121 331 5595 or go direct to the courses section of the website.

Full Time

"We have loads of specialists that give us good advice on how to get our project done, and overall excellent student experiences."
BTEC HND Jewellery and Silversmithing student

About KIS data

From September 2012, all universities and colleges are publishing standardised information for all undergraduate courses in the form of a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS data is designed to meet the needs of prospective students and allow for informed decision-making when choosing a university course.

Putting our students first

We pride ourselves on our student satisfaction levels which have risen from 73 per cent to 83 per cent between 2010 and 2012. Our dedication to improving the student experience is illustrated by our award-winning student engagement, our close links with business and industry and our £180 million investment in new facilities.

We encourage you to follow your own interests and passions, as HND Jewellery and Silversmithing student Helen Dobson did when she concentrated on sourcing her materials and manufacturing ethically. She started her own jewellery business, Opulent Ethics, during her time at University and has continued to build it up since leaving.

Employability facts

90.8 per cent of leavers from the School of Jewellery who responded went into either employment and/or further study. The average full-time salary for a jewellery course graduate was £18,100. Cartier and Goldsmiths were just some of the jewellery companies hiring graduates from the School, in positions such as watchmaker and diamond specialist.

Working with your Students’ Union

Improving student satisfaction is a priority commitment shared by both Birmingham City University and its Students’ Union. In its strategic planning, the Union has pledged to be more accessible, more relevant and provide more opportunity to engage with a diverse student community.

The Students’ Union is already a key stakeholder in supporting an excellent teaching experience at Birmingham City University, through joint projects such as the Extra Mile Teaching Awards and the Student Rep scheme, which allows students to share their ideas on how they are taught.

As Birmingham City University moves towards a two campus strategy where it can better support enhanced learning and student support facilities across a two-mile radius, the Students’ Union will also be better able to implement its commitment to improve communication and engage with its valued student membership.

Course Structure

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.

Your learning experience at the School of Jewellery

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.

Almost 80 per cent of respondents to the National Student Survey praised the enthusiasm of Creative Arts and Design staff, and the clear way they explained their subject.

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.

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

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 or progression to the BA Jewellery and Silversmithing - Design for Industry top-up degree course.

The HND Jewellery and Silversmithing course has forged strong links with industry through live competitions, which has led to employment opportunities for graduates.

The practical focus of the course is balanced with personal research to develop intellectual thinking. Field trips and study visits support an understanding of commercial jewellery manufacturing environments.

Alongside workshop practice and demonstrations, a variety of different learning and teaching methods are employed on the Jewellery and Silversmithing course. These include lectures, seminars, critiques, team work, presentations, tutorials, online learning, and self directed study.

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.

On successful completion of the HND course in Jewellery and Silversmithing you may wish to further your studies and progress to the BA (Hons) Jewellery and Silversmithing - Design for Industry course. This is not an automatic progression and has to be applied for through UCAS, however HND students who have achieved consistently good results and show an aptitude to using new technology are highly favoured applicants.

Course Modules

Year 1
  • Industry Studies 1
  • Introduction to Small-Scale Metalwork
  • Traditional Techniques
  • Introduction to Large-Scale Metalwork
  • Multiple Production
  • Specialists Techniques 1
Year 2
  • Applied Technology
  • Live Project
  • Industry Studies 2
  • Design Development and Realisation
  • Specialist Techniques 2
Course Highlights of the HND in Jewellery and Silversmithing

Level 4 (Year 1) introduces jewellery students to the tools, materials and processes used for the manufacture of jewellery and larger scale functional objects. This provides students with the technical knowledge to create individual jewellery designs using a range of manufacturing techniques.

Within these modules you will be encouraged to develop good communication skills through sketching, three-dimensional models, technical drawing, photographs, written and verbal presentations. This variety of media will enable you to demonstrate your creativity and personal characteristics.

Demonstrations of technical jewellery processes are an important part of learning new skills. Experienced jewellery practitioners are often used to carry out these demonstrations and are digitally recorded to create useful learning resources for our electronic learning site, Moodle.

Field trips and study visits may form part of an introduction to a module to help contextualise a jewellery process and offer networking opportunities.

Level 5 (Year 2) this year broadens and develops your learning through the introduction of current day technologies used for manufacturing within the jewellery and silversmithing industry. These include Computer Aided Design, photo-etching, and laser marking cutting and welding processes. Alongside these innovative techniques, advanced jewellery skills relating to traditional diamond mounting and diamond grading form part of the curriculum.

A competition with one of the largest manufacturing companies in the UK forms the Live Project module. This opportunity has led to several job opportunities for jewellery and silversmithing students in the past and provides an introduction to Computer Aided Design. Winners of the competition receive monetary awards, have their jewellery designs produced in precious metal and are invited to undertake work experience as part of their prize. Awards are presented at a prestigious trade fair in Birmingham providing great publicity and networking opportunities.

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.

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.

Gaynor Andrews

Staff position: Deputy Head of School of Jewellery. Course Director for HND Jewellery and Silversmithing and BA Jewellery and Silversmithing - Design for Industry courses.

Gaynor Andrews is a full-time lecturer at the School of Jewellery with several years experience in running jewellery courses and collaborations with the jewellery industry. Gaynor introduced new technology to the School, working closely with the Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre (JIIC). She developed jewellery courses responding to the needs and expectations of the current jewellery manufacturing industry, which have gained an excellent reputation for producing graduates respected for their knowledge and employability.

Gaynor’s passion for contemporary jewellery design, traditional skills and intrigue for technology is the driving force behind her longevity at the School of Jewellery, involvement with WorldSkills competitions and membership of the Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council. In addition to this she has been involved in consultancy work and has considerable experience in the role of external examiner at home and internationally.

Jo Pond

Staff position: Lecturer and HND Jewellery and Silversmithing Level 2 Coordinator

Jo Pond is a full-time lecturer at the School of Jewellery alongside her practice as a Studio Jeweller. Her process of artistic enquiry is explored through the creation of narrative jewellery pieces and her work is exhibited internationally.

“I come from a family of ‘Ponds’ who appear to have a genetic necessity for hoarding and a passion for objects which others might not quite appreciate. I dabble in the potential for wearable items to become vehicles for communication”.

Establishing a personal design process during her Master’s Degree, Jo now combines her methodologies, considerable bench skills, a sound knowledge of casting and expertise in laser technology with her passion for teaching.


Mark Lewis

Staff position: Lecturer

Mark Lewis studied at the School of Jewellery and after qualifying with a degree in 3-Dimensional Design in 1978 and winning several local and national design awards, he worked for a major silver and jewellery manufacturer in Covent Garden, London.

Subsequently, Mark established his own studio in the London Docklands before entering teaching and and his most recent full-time post was principal lecturer in the Sir John Cass Department of Art Media and Design, London Metropolitan University until 2009.

Mark also teaches part-time at the Goldsmiths' Centre and Holts Academy of Jewellery in London and continues to maintain a freelance practice. He has a particular interest in drawing and is currently exploring contemporary approaches in both metalsmithing and fine art contexts.

"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 HND Jewellery and Silversmithing

Our Graduates

Please find links and information below which showcases our graduate successes, exhibitions, awards and news stories, some of which are featured through web links.

Information correct at time of publication.

Graduated 2012
David Hubble – Casting Technician, Weston Beamor
Jessica Nam – Own Business
Craig Archer – Bench Jeweller, Peg Rex, Oldbury
Rosie White – Own Business
Graduated 2011
Nicole Iredale – Own Business
Rob Casson – Own Business
Ana Ostrom – Own Business
Kelly Jenner – Designer at XMC
Graduated 2010
Siobhan Mayher – Designer, Domino
Kimberley Yates – Enameller, Fattorini
Eloise Bowler – CAD Operator, Outwork Jewellery Services
Bobby Jennings – Laser Engraving Technician, Geti
Graduated 2009
Kevin Grey – Own Business
Brenda Yates – Own Business
Liz Evans – Wax Carver until 2012, Centre Jewellery
Graduated 2008
Sophie Cudworth – Designer, Fei Liu
Amanda Pullin – Manager, Castle Galleries
Hannah Hossack-Lodge – Own Business
Rebecca Tucker – Workshop Manager, C.W. Sellors
Graduated 2007
David Robert – CAD Designer, Weston Beamor
Katie Roberts – Own Business
Helen Puxley – Own Business
Kathleen Baird – Own Business

Many of our HND Diplomats progress to the Design For Industry Degree Course.

Our Facilities

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.

The building has attracted many visitors, architects and educators from across the world.

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 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.

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.

Also available:
  • areas specifically dedicated to horology and gemmology
  • CAD/CAM equipment
  • a subject specialist library
  • seminar rooms and lecture theatre
  • atrium area is a lively exhibition space with a frequently changing range of shows and displays


Prospective students on the Jewellery and Silversmithing HND course from the UK or EU may enquire online by using the Course Enquiry Form or call +44 (0)121 331 5595.

Prospective students on the Jewellery and Silversmithing HND course from non-EU countries may enquire via the International Enquiry Form or call +44 (0)121 331 6714.


For an overview of our undergraduate courses and a range of other information order a printed Prospectus or download a PDF of our Prospectus (16Mb).

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