Students, staff and alumni from Birmingham City University (BCU)’s renowned School of Jewellery picked up multiple accolades at the annual Craftsmanship & Design Awards, known as the ‘Jewellery Oscars’, on Monday (6 March) evening.
The awards, hosted by the Goldsmith Craft & Design Council (GC&DC) and held inside London’s Iconic Goldsmiths Hall, bring together the great and the good of the industry, celebrating the diverse and wide-ranging skill sets of British jewellery, goldsmithing, silversmithing and allied trades.
Birmingham City University representatives took centre stage at this year’s ‘Jewellery Oscars’, together winning four Gold Awards, three Silver Awards, four Bronze Awards and a Special Award, as they showcased their talents across the various design and making disciplines.
Jeremy Hobbins, Deputy head of the institute of Jewellery, Fashion and Textiles, said: “The ‘Jewellery Oscars’, awarded as part of annual the Goldsmiths Craftsmanship & Design Council Exhibition, are a fantastic accolade from fellow jewellers as well as a significant indicator of quality to the wider jewellery world.
“BCU students have historically had a strong record of success at this event, as has the Birmingham School of Jewellery as a whole, and it is pleasing to see that 2023 is no exception.
“As Deputy Head of the institute of Jewellery Fashion and Textiles I have had the privilege of representing the School of Jewellery at the Awards Evening and standing alongside our worthy winners is an absolute delight, I congratulate them all on their achievements.”
Yinglong Li, a current PhD researcher at the School of Jewellery and Marcus Thouchagrit a recent graduate and one of the school’s Artists In Residence (AIR), picked up Bronze and Silver Awards respectively.
Li said: “I entered the enamelling category, submitting a small piece of an enamel cup, my piece which is called – Glimmer of Dawn – was made using a traditional plique- à-jour* technique.
“The making process includes blending wire, soldering, applying, and melting enamels, and polishing. My supervisors and tutors at the School of Jewellery provide me with huge support not only in my PhD research and craft practice but also in encouraging me to enter the Goldsmith Awards.
“It was a great experience at the amazing ceremony at the Goldsmiths’ Hall, the important opportunity to present my creation on traditional enamelling craft and to talk to so many industry professionals and get their comments and suggestion on my works was a real highlight.”
Thouchagrit, said: “Receiving the Silver Award was a nice surprise and I appreciate all the consideration from the judges who selected my piece, the experience will certainly encourage me to continue developing my skills as a jeweller ready for future awards.
“My piece was entered into the 3D modellers, Precious Jewellery brief. As a fine jewellery designer, I used my love of patterns and natural form, to give the piece a natural concept and really make the details of the piece stand out.
“As a recent BCU School of Jewellery graduate, I keep in regular contact with the school and they encouraged me to enter the Goldsmith Awards, my time at the school certainly helped me develop my ideas as well as my design and making skills.”
BCU staff also shared in the Oscar success, Andrew Howard, Lecturer in Jewellery and Silversmithing came away with a Gold Award while Research Fellow, Dr Ann Marie Carey was part of the expert judging panel.
The success at this year’s Goldsmith Awards reinforces the BCU School of Jewellery’s international reputation and further highlights the impacts its specialist courses led by tutors with extensive industry experience have on helping students become accomplished jewellers.
*Plique- à-jour: Plique-à-jour is a vitreous enamelling technique where the enamel is applied in cells, similar to cloisonné, but with no backing in the final product, so light can shine through the transparent or translucent enamel.