On November 4, 1889, the Birmingham Jewellery and Silversmiths Association (now the British Jewellers Association) held an historical meeting attended by representatives from the principal jewellery and silverware manufacturing companies.
The purpose was to discuss setting up an exclusive school for the jewellery making industry. The Association achieved its objective and a new school opened in the factory building at 84 Vittoria Street, which it still occupies, on September 18, 1890.
In 1951 all jewellery and silversmithing teaching at the College of Art in Margaret Street was moved to Vittoria Street and a single School was created.
Significant developments include a major exhibition Finely Taught, Finely Wrought, celebrating the School’s centenary, which was held at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, with a preface to the catalogue written by HRH Prince Charles.
In 1995, an extensive building and refurbishment programme was completed, creating the largest teaching institution for the specialisation in Europe. Another major aspect of the School – the Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre – opened in 1997.
Now and next
From September 2014, the School became part of the Faculty of Art, Design and Media. This Faculty embodies the strong creative and cultural offering of the University and we play a highly significant role in that.
The school is located primarily on our City Campus and so retains our magnificent Vittoria Street base but students benefit from shared space and facilities. We are constantly evolving, developing and keeping ahead of current techniques and industry developments in jewellery making and design. We are constantly developing new courses such as our International Jewellery Business BA (Hons).
We celebrated our 125 anniversary in 2015, along with a visit from Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex and opened our Gemmology Department in the Assay Office early 2016. HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited the School of Jewellery in November, gaining first hand insight into the quality of creative talent produced by its staff, students and graduates. We continue to hold exciting exhibitions and events to showcase the successes of our students and alumni, so watch this space...
A Royal Visit to School of Jewellery
Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex visited the School of Jewellery, meeting staff, students and graduates and gaining a special insight into their work.
Birmingham jewellery icons join up
Assay Office Birmingham has announced a new collaborative tenancy and partnership with Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery.