Jewellery students going for gold with Commonwealth Games medal designs

School of Jewellery students and alumni won a competition to design for the official medals awarded at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The medals were designed by Amber Alys, Francesca Wilcox and Catarina Rodrigues Caeiro, who all studied at the historic and prestigious School of Jewellery.

The competition was organised by both the School of Jewellery and Birmingham 2022 team and initially, started with individual submissions from over 20 School of Jewellery students.

As the judging process progressed, students were brought together to work in teams, which is where the winning team Amber, Francesca and Catarina met and collaborated.

The inspiration for the medals was taken from the journey that the athletes take to reach their goal of competing at the Commonwealth Games. Student and one-third of the design team, Francesca Wilcox, said: “They wanted it to represent Birmingham. The final design is based on an aerial view of the local road and canal networks.”, 

“It’s really surreal to see the final designs in person, and the thought they’re going to be seen by so many people is quite intimidating!”. 

An important detail the designers took into consideration is the fact they are embossed; this makes them tactile for all athletes, especially those with visual impairments.

The ribbon and the presentation box for the medals were also designed by the students. The ribbon attached is adjustable to allow the medal to sit comfortably when worn, regardless of the height of the athlete wearing it. 

As well as showcasing their design skills, the competition provided the opportunity for the students to learn how the industry works and has also helped them to understand more about the manufacturing process and how an initial design can be brought to life. 

Toye, Kenning and Spencer, a company based in the Jewellery Quarter, manufactured the medals that winning athletes have been donning. 

Amber Alys, whose initial design led the group, said: "It has been incredible to see our designs come to life, and we're delighted with the medals, ribbons and presentation boxes.

“We really thought about the athletes when designing the medals – the connection between athletes and the journey they go on to achieve their dream of standing on top of the podium.",

“We wanted to create something with a jewel-like quality so that the athletes had something that they could treasure for the rest of their lives. We really hope the athletes like them.”.

Senior Lecturer in Jewellery and Silversmithing Dauvit Alexander said: “This is the first time in the history of the Commonwealth Games that the design of the medals was contested exclusively by students, and that’s testament to the faith that the Games’ Organising Committee placed in the University’s School of Jewellery. Our designers worked to a strict industry brief and have produced an outstanding collection of medals. This has been an incredible experience, which has showcased the creativity, dedication and talent of our students.”

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