Zi Ye (aka Sophie) has won an annual student design award organised by the Birmingham casting house and 3D printing company Weston Beamor. The competition is for students in their second year of study on the HND Course in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Birmingham School of Jewellery part of Birmingham City University.
The students were asked to design, using the GemVision Matrix CAD software, a piece of jewellery of their choice, incorporating a choice of three, semi-precious jewels – either a 4.55ct citrine, a 7.8 ct amethyst or a 9.52ct topaz. They were also asked to produce a consumer- facing advertisement that could be used to market their designs.
Zi Ye’s stunning and edgy cocktail ring in 18ct yellow gold, which features the amethyst surrounded with tiny green tsavorite garnets, beat off stiff competition from her fellow students to scoop the prize of £500 plus a week of work experience with Weston Beamor.
The runners up, who also receive a week of work experience, were Faith Pope, who came second with her ‘A Stitch in Time’ pendant in 18ct yellow gold. This is also a sewing kit complete with needle holder and cotton and was thought by the judges to catch the mood of the moment with its 1940’s style marketing and utilitarian purpose. Faith will receive a £250 prize.
Third was Natalia Antunovity whose striking ‘Intimacy’ earrings in 18ct yellow gold featuring the citrine were described by the judges as being the ‘height of glamour and sophistication’ she receives a prize of £100. All three designs were created by Weston Beamor’s production team and are currently on display at The Jewellery and Watch Show Birmingham at the NEC where they will be remain for the duration of the event. As an additional prize, the jewels which Weston Beamor has created are given to the students once the event is over.
Speaking at the prize giving which took place on Weston Beamor’s stand at the fair on 4th February, Andrew Morton, managing director of WB The Creative Jewellery Group, of which Weston Beamor is a part, congratulated all the students on the quality of their designs and on the high level of technical excellence they achieved in their presentations. He said, “The standard seems to get higher year or year and our judges were faced with a very difficult decision.”
Jewellery making is a second career for Zi Ye, who comes from Kumming, a country town in mainland China, where she originally trained as a Kindergarten teacher. She arrived in England four years ago and decided to study jewellery making because, as she puts it, “I love art and I love jewellery.” Her prize-winning design is based on the bamboo plant which has great cultural significance to the Chinese. She says her aim is to remain in the UK and work in the jewellery industry and to eventually build her own brand.
Speaking for the School of Jewellery, Gaynor Andrews, deputy head of school, commented: “This module of the course offers students a real insight into what it is like to work in our industry. We are so grateful to the team at WB and to GVUK which provide the design software for the students to use. Their on-going support is an invaluable help to us and to the next generation of jewellery designers.”