Sue Wu

Jewellery and Objects BA (Hons)

After discovering an interest in jewellery design, Sue chose BCU thanks to the impressive facilities at our School of Jewellery and its strong reputation. Nowadays, she’s juggling a Master’s degree whilst also creating jewellery for a Chinese brand. 

“I always knew that I wanted to go to university, I just didn’t know what I wanted to study. But whilst studying a foundation degree in 3D design at the University of Creative Arts, I realised my interest in jewellery design, and so my tutor recommended BCU to me. She told me what a beautiful city Birmingham is, and about the School of Jewellery. So, I started researching the city and university’s ranking for jewellery courses is high, so BCU became my first choice.

The reason I chose BCU is because the craftsmanship and skills were those that I wanted to learn; I knew that this is the place to build up my knowledge of jewellery making.

What I found the most useful in these three years of my undergraduate study is that during the first two years, we were taught to build our skills in craftsmanship. In the final year, we were trained in cycles of thinking to build up a collection, and the tutors were guiding us to work logically and critically, which trained us to be individual designers after graduation.

After I worked with a jewellery company, I found out that the making progress for a collection has similar steps to what we had been taught, which allowed me to adapt quickly to my role and communicate design ideas and professional knowledge with customers.

During my studies, I even had the opportunity to complete an internship with the Jewellery Quarter Heritage Trust in the Jewellery Quarter to research information for a podcast about women’s roles in jewellery making.

I have also been chosen to do an internship and work placement and got an offer of being a Designer Assistant at the Jewellery company Annxu in China, where me and a design team are working together to design a collection which will be launched very soon.

My metal working skills, and knowledge of techniques, I learned on my course have given me a professional knowledge background in the designing process, which gives me the confidence to communicate with designers and interpret customer requests. The course has even widened my career choices to stone selecting and testing too.

After graduation, I stayed at BCU to continue to study the Jewellery and Related Products MA course, which is where I am currently. I am exploring kinetic movement and the use of mechanisms in jewellery.

When I don't have a lecture, I normally spend the morning working with the jewellery company in China to communicate design ideas with team members and make changes, and after the meeting ends, I travel to the workshop to explore the mechanism skill in kinetic jewellery.

In the future, I hope to have my own jewellery brand as a designer and maker.

The Jewellery School is a building sitting in the Jewellery Quarter, with a basement full of machines which is unique to other universities. I have had professional technician support in the past three years, and enjoyed the school’s library too, which has a large collection from around the world, which helps us to build up theory knowledge.

My advice to fellow BCU graduates is to not limit yourself to a specific role. Even though I’d like to eventually be a designer, I also have the skills for sales, craftsmanship, polisher, stone selector, designer, CAD designer, wax graver and so much more.

I also adapt my portfolio for different jewellery companies, so if my collection doesn't have a similar style as theirs, I will show my skills in drawing and 3D modelling, to maximise their interest.

For anyone planning to study Jewellery at BCU, the university can help you become an individual designer, teaching you to think in a logical and critical process, as well as improving your skills.”