A day in the life of a Gemmology student

Jonathan Solomons (or Solly) decided to return to education at the age of 42 and is now a second year student on our BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies course. Studying full time whilst also working as a Jeweller and Diamond Merchant keeps Solly very busy! Here he gives us an insight into a typical day in his life as a student at BCU…

6am: I like to wake up early - the early bird catches the worm! I take a walk into town to get my morning coffee and use the walk to make phone calls and attend to any business so I can turn my focus to my university work with a clear mind.

7:30am: Once I’ve returned home, I take an hour to go over any notes or articles in preparation for my lectures. I’ve amassed quite an extensive book collection over the years, so it’s great to be able to reference them to help with the impending lecture of the day. I pack my bag with everything I may need - note pad and pen, gemmology kit, loupe and my trusty gemmology handbook!

9am: I head to the Assay Office in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter. There’s so much history to take in along the way and some of the buildings are incredible to look at. I also pick up a second coffee to enjoy. I like to arrive half an hour early for lectures so I can catch up with friends and lecturers in the common area.

10am: The first lecture of the day begins, and I’m ready with my notepad and pen to take in a fascinating talk on gemstones and their origins and properties.

12pm: Lunch time. There are so many places in the Jewellery Quarter to grab something to eat, whether it’s an independent quirky cafe, a traditional pub, a takeaway or just something quick from the supermarket. Whatever you fancy you’ll find it just a short walk from the Assay Office.

1pm: Back on site for the afternoon lecture which is often a practical lesson where we have hands-on experience with equipment such as the microscope, refractometer and polariscope. All of this seems quite daunting when you first start, but you get the hand of it quickly and it soon becomes second nature.

2:30pm: Quick afternoon break which means it’s time for….. yep, you guessed it! Another coffee.

4pm: That’s the lectures finished for the day! I leave the Assay Office and start to make my way home, popping to the shop on the way to grab something to make for dinner. I make a quick phone call to a colleague to check in on what's happening at work and start making a mental note of things I need to do once I get home.

5pm: Now I’m home, I switch back to work mode for an hour. I have a bespoke engagement ring for a client which needs a diamond sourcing, so I spend this hour making phone calls to track down the right one. Finally I’ve found one, and it’s being sent to my London office ready for when I head back to work at the end of the week.

6pm: Dinner’s cooking nicely and I run a bath to unwind after a busy day. There’s just time for a quick flick through my lecture notes before I can relax and switch off for the evening. 

8pm: Of an evening I like to sit and watch a documentary, I’m particularly partial to anything about art, jewellery or crime. If I can’t find a documentary, I’ll watch a detective or spy film. My days are hectic, so this time to unwind is really important to me. So it’s lights off, phones down and feet up!

10pm: Early nights are a must during the week. Balancing university with work can be tiring and I need a full night sleep to be at the top of my game. At the weekend I go wild and sometimes stay up until midnight…..!

Find out more about BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies