Jewellery and Silversmithing - HND

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The School of Jewellery’s HND course has an excellent reputation within the jewellery industry, with our students and graduates employed at all levels locally and internationally. Being positioned in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, we are uniquely placed to provide the education and skills that we know that employers and industry are looking for....

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

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

The School of Jewellery’s HND course has an excellent reputation within the jewellery industry, with our students and graduates employed at all levels locally and internationally. Being positioned in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, we are uniquely placed to provide the education and skills that we know that employers and industry are looking for.

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.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

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.

As a mature student and career changer, it’s been just the best two years! I’ve enjoyed my journey and the areas where I’ve developed and got the most from on the course, are not what I expected them to be when I started. It’s opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.

The teaching staff are fantastic – they all have different styles which means you learn different ways to approach problems and challenge you to push your thinking, creativity, and skills. I’ve found them supportive and encouraging.

Clare Maiden - student

Why Choose Us?

  • Founded in 1890, our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery is the largest in Europe, located in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. An estimated 40 per cent of British jewellery is still made here today. Being situated within this wonderful environment you will gain contacts, inspiration and experience.
  • The HND course has an excellent reputation for producing highly employable graduates with a practical understanding of the needs of the industry.
  • Our well-equipped studio workshops offer a dedicated laser welder, contemporary stone-setting, including optical diamond setting and a dedicated CAD/CAM facility, using the latest relevant CAD packages to enhance the traditional techniques and hand skills you will learn.
  • Regular liaisons with the industry in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and beyond offers opportunities to get noticed, make connections and gain employment: we are proud of the number of our graduates who now work at all levels of the trade, locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Sponsorship and support from associated companies gives the course industry relevance and insight, supporting the reputation of the HND and endorsing your qualification.
  • Top 20 in Art and Design in student satisfaction (Complete University Guide 2024)

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students, explore our campus and tour accommodation. Booking isn't open yet for this event, register your interest and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Open Day: 28 September 2024

Register interest

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2025/26.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

Essential requirements

64 UCAS Tariff points. Learn more about UCAS Tariff points.

Applicants will also need to submit a good portfolio.

If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: HND

Starting: Sep 2025

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: HND

Starting: Sep 2025

  • 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.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected, but are likely to be in the region of £300+ per year.

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 additional tools depending on your field of interest.

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.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.

Software (optional)

You may wish to purchase Rhino software for 3D modelling.

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

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

Portfolio guidance

If you receive an offer to study this course, you will be required to submit a portfolio. We ask that this is submitted within four weeks of receiving your offer.

Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

Portfolio guidance

If you receive an offer to study this course, you will be required to submit a portfolio. We ask that this is submitted within four weeks of receiving your offer.

Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

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.

Worried about Personal Statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Year one

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.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:

Year two

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.

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

Download course specification

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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.

Classroom activities and projects

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.

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

The course is designed to introduce and advance processes and techniques used within the Jewellery industry. Each module is designed to show how to utilise tools, techniques and processes to their fullest potential and allow you to develop an understanding in areas that interest you.

In addition to the traditional hand fabrication skills, you will learn about production and batch production techniques, hand engraving, gem-setting, micro setting, small scale silversmithing, CAD production and wax carving, amongst other techniques. We pride ourselves on the fact that you will learn most of this throughout practical classes, demonstrations and studio practice, and our many connections to the jewellery industry support us in this.

Many of our graduates are now prestigious makers and designers. Our students graduate and gain employment in companies such as Asprey’s, Bespoke Quarter, Vipa Designs, Weston Beamor, Centre Jewellery, Cooksongold, Royal Mint, Gerrards, Thomas Fattorini, Hockley Mint, Lucy Walker, and James Newman, amongst others. In addition to this some students choose to start their own businesses.

In recent years, our graduates have included Kevin Gray, Heather Coleman (Heather Coleman Jewellery), Andrew Cowley (Bespoke Quarter) and Jack Row (Jack Row). Our graduates also have the opportunity to progress onto the top-up degree course, BA Jewellery and Silversmithing – Design for Industry.

Placements

You will be encouraged to take up any opportunities which are available to you; the jewellery industry frequently contacts us when they are looking for employees or with offers of work experience. It is not uncommon for our students to be working in the industry part-time while studying with us, and we have placed students 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.

Our Graduates

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.

International

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:

Our international students

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, 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.

Facilities & Staff

Jewellery facilities gallery image

Our Facilities

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.

Our staff

Katy Tromans

Course Director, Lecturer

Katy Tromans creates highly detailed, organic, narrative Objet d’art with the aim to tell a story through her designs. Her pieces consist predominantly of sculptural, solid silver display stands which hold hidden, intricate pieces of jewellery. Katy aims to tell a story, show a memory and allow her customers to wear the best chapters of their...

More about Katy

Dauvit Alexander

Senior Lecturer

Dauvit has worked in the jewellery industry from the age of 14, training at the bench before going on to develop his own work as “The Justified Sinner”. Dauvit describes himself as a ‘metalsmith’ as his work now uses a variety of found metals – usually iron – treating it as precious metal, using the traditional skills of the fine jeweller but often...

More about Dauvit