Based within a stimulating and dynamic environment, the School of Jewellery’s HND course is unique within the UK and has an excellent reputation within the industry, with our students and graduates employed at all levels, locally and internationally.
As an HND student, you will be working on live, collaborative and customer-facing projects, broadening your experience through our industry-focussed curriculum. Working at authentic jewellers’ benches, you will develop traditional skills alongside knowledge of contemporary cutting-edge technology.
Our graduates are shaping the world, achieving things they never imagined.
Andrew Howard gives you his top tips on how to get ahead in Jewellery and Silversmithing and succeed in your chosen career.
Our course will immerse you in the world of jewellery and silversmithing as you create pieces in precious and non-precious metals. You will 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 you’ll also 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, a state-of-the-art technology hub, an atrium gallery and an exhibition space.
"Through a variety of exciting and challenging projects, I developed both hand and design skills enriched through an introduction to specialist techniques. Inspired by the enthusiasm, advice and support from expert tutors, I felt motivated to develop and expand my knowledge. The opportunity to participate in selling events and live projects has been an invaluable experience. Overall, this course has given me the self-confidence and skills to follow my aspirations to be a confident and independent jewellery designer-maker.” Vanessa Miller
Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 25 November. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.
To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2017 or 2018, we're giving at least £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials. Even better, it doesn’t have to be repaid.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our students have gone on to work in jobs such as:
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio or relevant industrial experience.
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2018/19|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||DD at A-Level or 48 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 - 48 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||PPP - 48 UCAS points|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||D - 48 UCAS points|
|BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design||Pass|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||24 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||48 UCAS points - Higher Levels|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||48 UCAS points- two Advanced Highers grade DD|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||Minimum of 48 tariff points|
|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/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2018/19|
|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
|HND||Sep 2018||FT||2 years||£6,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|HND||Sep 2018||FT||2 years||£12,000 per year|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
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.
If your application is progressed, you will be asked to submit a portfolio of your creative work. This can be submitted digitally or you can physically bring it in. Your portfolio is your opportunity to show us examples of your work and creative interests to support your application.
Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips and advice on putting your portfolio together.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
The personal statement 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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
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.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
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 your course. 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.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
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.
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 or silversmithing 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 the techniques and processes and gain networking opportunities.
Fundamental Hand Skills
In this module you will learn the fundamental hand-skills required for a career in the jewellery industry. Throughout the hands-on learning processes you will cover the key elements of traditional jewellery techniques, including the cutting and forming, soldering, cold fixing and finishing and polishing of metal. You will also develop an understanding of some of the technical aspects and working properties of precious metals.
At the end of the module, you will have a portfolio of completed jewellery pieces, alongside a knowledge of the range of catches and clasps specifically manufactured for jewellery.
Fundamental Production Processes
In this module you will be introduced to the techniques used for batch and quantity production in metal. You will learn the principles of the casting process and will explore the creative potential offered by the lost-wax casting technique.
In addition, you will learn how new products are developed using CAD and rapid prototyping. You will experience using 3D CAD software packages and understand how these files are transformed into jewellery.
Fundamental Silversmithing Skills
In this module you will learn the basic principles and techniques of making larger-scale silverwares including raising, spinning and sinking. You will develop an understanding of the design principles behind making fine silverwares. At the end of the module, you will have a portfolio of designs, samples and at least one finished large-scale piece.
You will have a choice of one of the following optional modules:
Introduction to Gemmology
This module is designed to provide you with an introduction to the most regularly-encountered gem materials, and a basic knowledge of their properties, together with the correct terminology to use when dealing with these materials.
These fundamental principles will be expanded to give you an overview of the most commonly encountered gemstone synthetics, simulants and treatments. You will develop this knowledge to help you understand how gemstones and gem-set jewellery should be handled in the workshop environment, and how they should be cleaned, stored and maintained.
CAD for Bespoke Production
In this module, you will learn how to use CAD as a tool for supporting and supplementing traditional bench skills. This module will introduce you to the very basics, quickly building up your skills and allowing you to design and develop sophisticated 3D digital models which are suitable for production through the myriad of new technologies becoming increasing available in CAM.
Fine Jewellery Techniques
In this module you will be introduced to fundamental hand-making skills through the production of samples, test pieces and finished jewellery. You will develop an understanding of traditional jewellery techniques and finishes that represent the term fine jewellery. This terminology is associated with bespoke, handmade jewellery, including mounts for precious gemstones, often referred to as diamond mounting.
The module is designed to broaden your knowledge of the techniques and processes that are fundamental to the skills of a crafts person. You will learn how to use the tools and materials that have been used by traditional jewellers throughout history, through hands-on experience at the jeweller’s bench.
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.
Advanced Production Processes
In this module, you will develop a more in-depth understanding of manufacturing techniques, which will include laser technology and advanced CAD. There will be a greater focus on the commercial applications of lost-wax casting as a means of multiple batch production.
You will also learn how to use the laser-welder. Laser technology opens up unique creative possibilities within the design process and this module provides you with the opportunity to combine production processes, in order to create a collection for sale in a real-world commercial environment.
The purpose of this module is to provide you with an overview of the industry context, in order to prepare you for employment post-graduation. It will ensure that you have an awareness of the complex nature of the jewellery industry and you will be encouraged to begin to develop networks of contacts in order to raise your profile as you identify a career path and launch your career as an industry graduate. It will also assist you to develop the transferable skills that will ensure you can function successfully within this professional context.
The module will require you to explore the relevance of the practical skills acquired in Level Four, with a particular focus on how they can be applied to careers within industry. Insights into the industry will be acquired through visits, and you will gain first-hand experience of different market sectors, modes of production, use of technology.
This module gives you the opportunity to develop your own unique product range, where you will identify your chosen direction and target market within the specialist field. This is a culmination of your learning experience by bringing together all of the knowledge and expertise you have gained on the course. The ultimate aim is to design and manufacture a market ready product range realised to a high professional standard.
This module aims to develop self-confidence and is an opportunity to promote your products and showcase your personal achievement, professionalism and suitability for employability or further study.
You will have a choice of one of the following optional modules:
Luxury Jewellery Branding
This module allows you to start to think about the idea of luxury and how it can be defined. You will expand your thinking to encompass the luxury sector of the market and explore the global significance of luxury jewellery brands, particularly how celebrity endorsement impacts on the perceptions of what luxury is.
You will consider the significance of brand heritage and examine whether reliance on loyalty to a brand can be maximised. You may also investigate how luxury brand extensions can be utilised. You need to understand how an emerging brand can find their identity through innovative and luxury marketing strategies.
This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation.It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University.
Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other programmes. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the creative industries.
Practical Stone Setting
In this module, you will learn how to set gemstones. Using traditional workshop skills, you will develop an understanding of the principles of stone setting, giving you the ability to set a range of gemstones into a variety of settings. You will also learn about the specialist tools required for stone setting and how to prepare, sharpen and maintain them. This practice will enhance your workshop skills and develop your knowledge of the working properties of gemstones.
You will develop an understanding of the commercial applications and constraints of stone setting and you will understand the variety of readily available commercial mounts on the market and gain an insight into the importance of material tolerances
This practice-based course will introduce you to techniques and processes associated with the traditions of the jewellery industry, enabling you to construct pieces in both precious and non-precious metals.
The knowledge and skills of jewellery-making are developed through ‘hands-on’ experience in the workshop and you will benefit from demonstrations given by experienced practitioners in the field. These practical experiences help you to decide on your preferred scale of working, whether that is jewellery or silversmithing.
Our uniquely well-equipped studio workshops offer a range of equipment from traditional Victorian fly-presses to cutting-edge laser-welding and advanced CAD CAM technologies, enabling you to not only learn about the traditional techniques of the bench jeweller but to enhance those skills with the most contemporary processes, through projects which incorporate new jewellery technology.
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.
A design focus encourages you to be creative within structured projects. Each project involves a new technique or process, and 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.
You will be expected to attend on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, between 9.30am and 4.30pm, with the occasional event being planned in on a Wednesday.
|51||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|49||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
We are proud that the HND course is highly practical and workshop-based. As a student on the course, you will be in the workshop for the majority of your time and will be learning by actually making real jewellery and silverwares in a real jewellery workshop. Within a few days of starting, you will have created your first piece of jewellery!
The course is designed to give you the chance to work with industry and in your ‘Live Project’ module, you will get the chance to design work in collaboration with a commercial jewellery house, making pieces which will be showcased as part of their presentation at the International Spring Fair in Birmingham. Previous students who have taken part in this project have sold their work through the company and have been employed to create further collections.
We want the workshop to feel as similar to the real-world as possible and you will be invited throughout to engage with the relaxed but focused environment which we try to create. As part of the course, we have informal chats about all aspects of the industry and we welcome your thoughts and feedback at all times about your work and the work of your colleagues, which includes the staff.
As part of creating this nurturing environment, we have occasional informal lunches, evening events and visits from a wide range of people, including stone-dealers, famous jewellers and booksellers. The workshops are open for you to use from 8am in the morning to 8pm at night and you will have the opportunity to make your own work.
The course is taught through a wide range of methods but mainly by demonstration and by hands-on experience. The staff at the School of Jewellery have enormous experience of all aspects of making and where specific expertise is needed, we bring in Visiting Tutors. This could mean that you find you are being taught silversmithing by Kevin Grey or enamelling by Jane Moore.
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."
If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.
It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.
Our HND course has been designed to allow for the natural progression to the BA Design For Industry course which builds your skills by enhancing the specific areas that you are interested in. Many of the students at this point decide to explore the world of CAD/CAM but you would be able to direct the focus of this course in any direction in which you are interested.
It is also possible for our HND graduates to progress through the School to complete the MA in Jewellery Design and Related Products.
We organise at least one major trip every year as well as many smaller trips. As the School of Jewellery is within the historic Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, we take the opportunity to introduce you to the many companies, makers and suppliers who are about the area. You will also have the chance to visit the enormous ‘Spring Fair’ ” at the NEC and the New Technology ‘TCT’ show in Coventry, both of which keep you informed with developments in the jewellery world.
Major trips in the past have included visiting the legendary jewellery gallery at the V&A in London and Hatton Garden, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and research trips to places of historic interest.
We have designed the course to make you the most employable jewellery graduate possible.
In addition to all the basic metalworking skills, you will learn about hallmarking, the history of jewellery and silverwares, gemstones and gem-setting, CAD software, and all about the newest types of digital production technologies. We pride ourselves on the fact that you will learn most of this in a practical way, by actually doing the work and our many connections to the jewellery industry support us in this.
Many of our graduates are now prestigious makers and designers in their own right. Kevin Gray was recently the highlight of the Silver Speaks exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Agnieszka Maksymiuk runs her own successful company. Naomi Newton-Sherlock has become the director of casting company Weston Beamor, while Jack Row runs his own bespoke pen company, which is sold through prestigious outlets such as Harrods.
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."
You will be encouraged to take up any opportunities which are available to you, and the jewellery industry frequently contacts us when they are looking for employees. It is not uncommon for our students to be working in the industry part-time while studying with us, and we have put people into companies as diverse as Weston-Beamor (casting) and Thomas Fattorini (medal-making,) as well as into smaller workshops doing repairs, commercial stone-setting and small-scale manufacture.
Our students are also in demand for retail work as their experience in handling jewellery and their knowledge of gemstones and other materials is helpful in the retail environment.
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.
Naomi Newton-Sherlock - Director, Weston Beamor
Naomi studied at the School of Jewellery in the mid 2000s, having already graduated with First Class Honours in languages. Education, work experience and networking have been valuable investments for Naomi, from the practical bench experiences with jewellers Cellini and James Newman, to studying additional courses to gain further skills such as gemmology.
After winning prestigious competitions, and working with both luxury and high street jewellers, she applied for a design position at Domino. Evolving the bridal and diamond ring mounts and growing the business, her professional and creative aptitude soon had her promoted. In 2015, she became Director of the brand’s sister company Weston Beamor.
Nicole Iredale - Company founder, Nicole Iredale Designs
After graduation, Nicole started her own business, Nicole Iredale Designs, sharing a workshop as part of the Design Space scheme. In order to fund her business, she took a part time job at Kokkino. This proved invaluable, from the cash flow injection to the experience of assisting at trade and retail shows, giving her confidence to take her own jewellery to the British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF). The success from exhibiting at the BCTF resulted in a number of shops and galleries stocking her jewellery.
Joseph Jackson - CAD Designer, Shaun Leane
Joseph worked as Shaun Leane’s CAD designer in London for 18 months straight after University (2014) and learned a lot about the bespoke process, getting to work on multi million pound pieces. Joseph studied first on the HND course before being accepted on the DFI top-up year, giving him dedicated access to new technologies. Joseph is also exhibiting at this year’s Goldsmith Fair and has recently completed a commission for a £34,000 diamond bracelet.
Jack Row - Award winner
Following successful graduation in 2007 and winning a number of awards, Jack entered employment for one of Europe's leading jewellery manufacturing companies. Experimenting with the application of CAD technology, Jack became fascinated with its potential for the creation of innovative, exciting products. He returned to study the DFI course, combining his traditional skills with the innovative application of CAD and RP (Rapid-Prototyping) technologies. Graduating with a First Class Honours degree a year later, Jack won the coveted British Jewellers Association prize for his precious metal fountain pen design concept. Six months later, he was awarded a Gold Medal prize by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, one of the established Livery companies of London, for his 'Architect' prototype fountain pen.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Our graduates fulfil many roles in the jewellery industry and at all levels, from bench-work in small companies to directors of big companies and throughout the course it is possible to specialise in areas of work which will direct your future employment.
Many of our graduates are self-employed as designer/makers but for those who are not interested in self-employment, opportunities exist for setters and mounters, medal-makers, finishers and polishers, casting technicians, CAD designers, repairers and fine-jewellers, as well as opportunities in retail, both customer-facing and as buyers for retail companies.
Every year we partner with Weston Beamor to provide a live project competition, in which you will be given the chance to design and make a commercially-viable product which will then be showcased at the International Spring Fair.
The first year of the HND course has sponsorship from both Allied Gold and from Cookson’s Precious Metals, which allows you the chance to work in precious materials without having to worry about the costs.
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:
We pride ourselves on our international reputation and the School of Jewellery was rated one of the top three places to study jewellery anywhere in the world. The HND course is all about skills and learning to make fine jewellery and silverwares and, as such, fits into the tradition of European schools where a foundation of craft-skills is paramount.
Over the years, we have had many students from all over the world, and in 2016 our classes were made up with people from China, Taiwan, Korea, Norway, Poland, Iran, Russia and, of course, the UK.
We love the international mix of students on the course and it makes for an exciting dynamic. The staff are experienced in dealing with students from around the world and we will do everything we can to make you feel welcomed and at home.
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.
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.
You’ll have access to industry standard equipment, studio workshops with specialist tools and a shared machine workshop with a wide range of powered equipment, a casting facility and an electroplating laboratory. The School’s main computer suite includes CAD design software and Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll have access to a specialist library.
We have a small staff team of Jo Pond, Dauvit Alexander and Kate Thorley. Jo and Dauvit have strong international reputations as makers and Dauvit has a background in the practical jewellery industry. Kate is known for her experience in business and enterprise, and is well-known and well-respected throughout the industry. Additionally, you will be taught by a number of highly experienced subject experts, including Jane Moore, Kevin Grey and Sam Chilton and you will be supported by our team of expert technicians, Paul, Alan, Karen, Pete and Abbie, all of whom are practical makers.
Jo Pond is a Studio Jeweller and a lecturer at the School of Jewellery who brings twenty-one years of educational experience to her role. Prior to joining the University she worked as a Technical Instructor at Loughborough University School of Art & Design, specializing in Casting and Laser Welding. Jo completed her MA in Jewellery Design & Related Products at Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, where she established her personal design process.
Jo now combines her methodologies and considerable bench skills with her passion for teaching at the School of Jewellery and is involved in tutoring, programme development and management.