Jewellery team designs official medals for Birmingham 2022

Two students and a recent graduate from our School of Jewellery have designed the official medals for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The medals were created by Amber Alys, Francesca Wilcox and Catarina Rodrigues Caeiro, and revealed in a special ceremony that took place in the Boardroom of the Curzon Building on Wednesday 4 May.  

The team took inspiration for the medals from the journey that athletes take to reach their goal of competing at the Games. The design symbolises an aerial map of the region’s road and canal network, marking this journey. The medals have also been embossed, which makes them tactile for all athletes, especially those with visual impairments.

The team also designed the ribbon and the presentation box for the medals. The ribbon attached is adjustable to allow the medal to sit comfortably when worn, regardless of the height of the athlete wearing it.

Amber, Francesca and Catarina entered the medal design competition individually, along with dozens of others. The competition was organised by the School of Jewellery and the Birmingham 2022 team, and as they moved through the judging process, the students were brought together as a team.

As well as honing their design skills, the competition provided the opportunity for them to learn how the industry works and has also helped them to understand more about the manufacturing process and how an initial design can be brought to life.

Toye, Kenning and Spencer, a company based in the Jewellery Quarter, is manufacturing the medals ready for winning athletes this summer.

Recent graduate Amber, who spoke for the team, said: "It has been incredible to see our designs come to life, and we're delighted with the medals, ribbons and presentation boxes.

“We really thought about the athletes when designing the medals – the connection between athletes and the journey they go on to achieve their dream of standing on top of the podium.

“We wanted to create something with a jewel-like quality, so that the athletes had something that they could treasure for the rest of their lives. We really hope the athletes like them.”

Senior Lecturer in Jewellery and Silversmithing Dauvit Alexander said: “This is the first time in the history of the Commonwealth Games that the medals design was contested exclusively by students, and that’s testament to the faith that the Games’ Organising Committee placed in the University’s School of Jewellery. Our designers worked to a strict industry brief and have produced an outstanding collection of medals. This has been an incredible experience, which has showcased the creativity, dedication and talent of our students.”  

Minister for the Commonwealth Games Nigel Huddleston said: "This is the prize that athletes from across the Commonwealth are training so hard to win. The medals demonstrate the design talent we are blessed with in the UK and will be a lasting symbol of what I know will be an incredible eleven days of sport.”

Chief Creative Officer, Ceremonies, Culture and Queen’s Baton Relay for Birmingham 2022, and Chair of the Medal Design Judging Panel Martin Green said: "The medals, ribbons and boxes are absolutely stunning, and we would like to congratulate Amber, Catarina and Francesca for creating such a fantastic collection of items.

“We would also like to thank all of the students from the School of Jewellery who took part in this competition. Their enthusiasm and passion were wonderful to see, and the quality of designs made it extremely difficult for our panel of judges to choose a winner."

Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council Deborah Cadman said: "These medals are a statement and a showcase for the skills, creativity and heritage of our Proud Host City. They will be a bold and enduring symbol of our Games for those who earn the right to wear them.

"I congratulate everyone who has played a part in their production - and I cannot wait to see them being presented at the medal ceremonies this summer."