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Gemmology and Jewellery Studies - BSc (Hons)

Our BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies degree is one of the only courses of its kind in the world. This gemmology course will enable you to gain the highest level of professionally-recognised gemmological skills....

Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses.  Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.  

 

Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • School School of Jewellery
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

Our BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies degree is one of the only courses of its kind in the world. This gemmology course will enable you to gain the highest level of professionally-recognised gemmological skills.

Based in the heart of Birmingham’s thriving Jewellery Quarter, you’ll benefit from unrivalled expertise and facilities as you explore precious gems and all relevant aspects of the jewellery trade.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Our highly practical Gemmology and Jewellery Studies degree offers an introduction to gemmological theory and testing, diamond grading and jewellery valuation.

With our fully-equipped gem labs at your disposal, you’ll be able to carry out a range of standard and advanced gemmological tests used in the identification of gemstones.

You’ll have the chance to put gem materials under the microscope, from natural and synthetic gemstones through to imitation. There will also be a chance to learn complementary skills such as photography.

You’ll study at our brand new purpose-built facilities at the Assay Office, just a few minutes’ walk from the School of Jewellery and in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, where much of today’s jewellery is still made. Our staff team are all experts in their field, and have extensive industry experience. Our graduates go on to work in a wide variety of roles in the jewellery industry throughout the world.

We really enjoy studying on such a unique and specialised course, and find the different areas of study really interesting. We particularly like the diamond grading classes, and also the opportunity to handle so many different varieties of gemstones.

Edward Ferder and Maxwell Burden

Why Choose Us?

  • This Gemmology and Jewellery Studies degree is one of the only courses of its kind.
  • It is taught by industry experts and leading academics in their field.
  • You’ll work in state-of-the-art, purpose-built facilities, with an extensive range of both standard and advanced gemmological equipment.
  • You will have the opportunity to continue your study at postgraduate level with our ground breaking research team.
  • Our department has extensive links with industry, and sponsors include Garrard and Fellows.
  • You study where the industry practices – the course is based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, where an estimated 40 per cent of British jewellery is made today.
  • Founded in 1890, our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery is the largest school of its kind in Europe. 

Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels.

Applications taken to the next stage must attend an interview in order to receive an offer.

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5
  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Maths at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
IELTS 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • BBC / 112 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.
AS and AS VCE Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • BA (Hons) Textile Design, BA (Hons) Fashion Design, BA (Hons) Garment Technology, BA (Hons) Costume Design and Practice - Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • BA (Hons) Fashion Branding and Communication & BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion - Arts, Media, Publishing, Retail, Commercial Enterprise & Business subjects subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies - Arts, Media and Science subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
DMM
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
  • Distinction
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 112 pts
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 UCAS Tariff Points
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers) Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language and Maths taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016.
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma DMM
Scottish Advanced Higher
  • Achieve a minimum of 112 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades CCD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers).
T-Levels Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts Merit overall
Other 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.

Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

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).

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including a basic gem testing kit which is available from Gem-A for £260 for a complete kit including carry case.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Conferences (optional)

You may wish to attend conferences, at extra cost.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Guidance for UK students

UK 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.

Applying through UCAS

 Register with UCAS

 Login to UCAS

 Complete your details

 Select your course

 Write a personal statement

 Get a reference

 Pay your application fee

 Send UCAS your application

International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Interviews

Please note that the application process for this course includes an interview stage. If your application is successful, you will be contacted and invited to select a suitable interview date.

Personal statement

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:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

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.

Course in Depth

Year one

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Earth Processes and Mineral Properties 20 credits

Introduction to Gemstone & Diamond Practical 20 credits

History and Culture of Jewellery 20 credits

Synthetic, Simulant and Treated Gemstones 20 credits

Practical Gemmology 40 credits

Year two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

This module is designed to build on the Level 4 modules to further expand your knowledge of gemstone properties and characteristics, and to increase the range of gemstones that you are familiar with.

On completion of the module, you will be able to describe a wide range of gemstone phenomena and properties, and build further on the knowledge gained at Level 4 to explain more advanced gemmological concepts and theories. You will develop your basic gem testing abilities so that you can undertake critical analysis of testing techniques on a wide variety of organic, non-organic, ornamental, natural, artificial and treated stones, in rough and fashioned forms, both loose and mounted in jewellery.

Organic materials are amongst some of the earliest gem materials used by man. This module is designed to develop your specialist knowledge of a range of organic gem materials (pearls, coral, shell, jet, tortoiseshell, ivory, horn, and amber), to learn methods of identification, treatments, simulants, and methods of pearl culturing. Additionally, you will explore and debate the ethics surrounding the use of various materials, protection of endangered species, and restrictions in dealing and shipping of organic materials. The practical element of this module will teach you to detect organic gems by observational features, and the principles of pearl grading.

Jade is a gem material with huge commercial and cultural importance. Its history stretches back for thousands of years, and has not only been used in jewellery, but for ornamental purposes, religious artefacts, and even weaponry. This module is designed to enable you to explore jadeite and nephrite in greater depth, their history, geological origins, treatments, and common simulants, and to analyse and understand the cultural significance of these unique gem materials.

This module invites you to reflect on your intended position within the industry post-graduation, and to engage in a cycle of experiential learning to ensure that you capitalise on the opportunities available once you have left the programme.

Year three

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Advanced gemmology and analytical techniques is designed to equip you with both the theory, intellectual context and application of the ‘state of the art’ scientific testing techniques utilised in both the gem and diamond industries. It will also provide you with the intellectual skills and confidence required to tackle challenges you will encounter in your future career. The module is designed to encourage you to explore, investigate and research as inherent aspects of the learning process. To allow you to develop the transferable skills of problem solving and self-reliance.

In commerce value is an intrinsic and fundamentally important aspect, therefore the skills and knowledge you gain within this module can find useful application in many aspects of the industry.

This module builds on your knowledge of the concepts of valuation covered in modules from level 4 and 5 of the degree Your knowledge and understanding of gemstones, jewellery, metals and their relative valuations introduced at levels 4 and 5 will be enhanced in both breadth and sophistication.

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.

Course Structure

Gain the highest level of gemmological skills, as well as knowledge of all relevant aspects of the jewellery trade, with our Gemmology and Jewellery Studies course. Our highly-practical course will give you the professionally-recognised attributes and experience you need to enhance your employability prospects.

You will work in our fully-equipped, purpose-built gem labs, carrying out a range of gemmological tests, as well as learning advanced-level analytical techniques, diamond grading and jewellery valuation.

You will be introduced to a range of gemmological testing equipment, as well as diamond theory, jewellery valuation and appraisal. You will also learn to grade diamonds to a professional standard, while sharpening your skills in photography and photomicrography.

As you become more skilled and familiar with the equipment, you get the opportunity in your second year to continue your gemmological studies to a greater depth. This will also include greater knowledge of jewellery valuation and appraisal, an extensive practical gemmology testing project, and specialist modules in Jade and organic gem materials.

In your third year, you will conduct advanced scientific testing of gem materials, as well as applying the use of spectroscopy to advance your study of diamonds. The knowledge of jewellery valuation and appraisal that you have commenced in your first two years will be further strengthened, and your increasing skills in analytical techniques will then be demonstrated in a research project of your own choosing.

You’ll study in our industry-standard facilities in the Assay Office. You’ll also undertake national and international field trips to gain a wider understanding of the gemmology field.

Classroom Activities and Projects

Around 50% of our work is practical, and is based in our purpose- built gem testing labs. You will work with a wide variety of precious gem materials, including rough crystals, cut stones and gems set into jewellery. 


Trips and Visits

Our trips vary each year, depending on what events are being held. They range from attending talks, conferences and museum visits, to field trips both in the UK and abroad. Examples are visits to the London museums, the annual Gem-A Conference, the Blue John mines in Derbyshire, geology field trips to Cornwall and Scotland, a week-long laboratory visit to the University of St Andrews, a three-day visit to the Antwerp Diamond District and a recent third-year trip to Cambodia and Thailand. 

Employability

Enhancing Employability skills

Employability and key transferable skills are embedded within the course ethos to maximise our students’ capabilities and understanding of potential career opportunities. Each module is designed to incorporate both generic and industry-specific skillsets to give students maximum flexibility in their chosen career path.

Modules are structured to include field visits and opportunities for students to observe and develop an understanding of potential routes to employment. Additionally, the course content includes extensive training in advanced analytical techniques which are required by laboratories worldwide. 

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

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.

Links to Industry

All of our tutors have worked within the industry, and therefore the course has excellent links with the jewellery trade. Our course has a number of industry sponsors, and they fund a great programme of visiting lectures from a wide variety of experts in the gemmology trade. We also have a number of industry sponsored prizes for high-achieving students, and work closely with other universities and gemmological professional bodies around the world. 

International Students

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:

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

Facilities and Staff

Gemmology Facilities Image

Facilities

Our Gemmology students are based in new, state-of-the-art premises at Moreton Street in the Jewellery Quarter, within the Assay Office Birmingham building.

The purpose-built workshops are spacious and superbly well-equipped with equipment, samples and books. Within the department, there is access to some of the highest specification of equipment available for gemmological education in the world. Our students also have access to the further advanced equipment housed within the Assay office’s AnchorCert laboratory. 

Workshops

Jewellery and Horology workshops are located on the main School of Jewellery site complemented with a Technology Hub including state of the art digital manufacturing equipment.

Gemmology

The Gemmology department is furnished with high specification interactive lecture facilities and is situated within the working environment of Birmingham’s Assay Office.

IT and library

Computers and laptops have the latest Adobe software and you will be given access to Lynda.com as a source of great tutorials and advice to support your studies. The School of Jewellery has its own specialist library with a comprehensive range of international periodicals and access to the Mintel Report.

Exhibitions

Our students love the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of the School and return year on year to our annual exhibitions.

Our staff

Miranda Wells

Course Leader - BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies

More about Miranda

Andrew Fellows

Lecturer - BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies

More about Andrew

Jeremy Hobbins BA (Hons), HND, MBHI

Head Of Horology

Professional Horologist for 20 years, both employed and self-employed in Clock and Watch Repair/Restoration. Examiner for British Horological Institute prior to joining Birmingham City University. Former life in Catering Management, Business Studies Degree.

More about Jeremy