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International Jewellery Business students get royal seal of approval


Live projects are an essential element to the work on our BA (Hons) International Jewellery Business course. Our excellent links with the local, national and international industry gives students opportunities to work with companies on projects that wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise.

Students recently worked with Firmin & Sons who supply with the Ministry of Defence; manufacturing embroidered insignia, buttons and accessories manufacturers to the Royal Guards of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Firmin & Sons’ brief asked the students what might be involved to reproduce a button based on those found in the Staffordshire Hoard using today’s manufacturing methods to replicate the original as closely as possible.

The brief went on to encourage students to investigate technical developments, best method of manufacture, and a selection of materials and finishes to replicate the button. At the start of the project, students had the chance to visit the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition on display at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

As the School of Jewellery played a large role in the documentation and evaluation of the Staffordshire Hoard, students had a bespoke presentation created by Frank Cooper, Centre Manager at the Technology Hub, for further insight. Students were also asked to apply previous marketing tools and values to Firmin & Sons and their decision to market the discovery of the Saxon Gold through different examples such as: who would be interested in purchasing a replica, and who are the main competitors?

Following a student presentation to Tony Kelly, sales manager from Firmin & Sons, two students were selected to learn more about the process of vitreous enamel. This was something really exciting for the classroom-based students as they got the chance for a hand-on experience. Stephen Bottomley, Head of the School of Jewellery, and Course Director Kate Thorley came to see what they were doing – a cap badge for Prince Harry.

“It was a great privilege to be able to present to one of the oldest and successful manufacturing button factory in UK” first year student Ruth Hoetamasaid afterwards.

“The live project also enabled me to analyse the industry, how it functions, the problems they face and how they overcome them – all of which would help me in future situations. Lastly, it helps in building relationships and connections.

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