What is the course about?
A structured year long course for complete beginners who would like to learn the basics of jewellery making in an inspiring, supportive environment. You will undertake a number of projects researching, designing and making metal jewellery, developing a varied body of work across three terms. You will be tutored in technical skills including cutting, drilling, annealing, soldering and joining metal, as well as intricate skills such as enamel and stone setting. Develop a diverse portfolio, make beautiful pieces including a stone set ring and a pendant, and learn to present and discuss your work. We will also get you used to evaluating and costing your work.
What previous students loved about the course:
“This well-designed course is an excellent introduction for the beginning jeweller or a great reinforcement/reminder for those with existing skills.”
“The tutor was able to push all students in the various design projects to expand their individual skills and design ability. My sketch book is filled with ideas from this course that I will revisit over the years. Fantastic experience and so inspiring.”
29th September - 15th December 2019
13th January - 2nd April 2020
20th April - 13th July 2019
No classes on Bank Holidays.
What will we cover?
As part of the course structure you will be making:
- a ring with a cabochon stone setting and decorative shank
- a pendant
You will be introduced to a wide range of techniques essential in developing your skills as a jeweller, even if you do not choose to include them in your final pieces. You will develop a folder of work that will include colour, texture, collected imagery, research into historical and contemporary jewellery, technical notes and samples, costings and evaluations, and a sketchbook of ideas.
There will be the opportunity to be involved in a live project with a stone dealer who will judge a ring competition and award prizes. You will also be introduced to other skills important to becoming a successful designer, such as presenting and discussing both your own work and that of other jewellers, and planning and exhibiting a group exhibition at the college.
As part of the course the group will visit the Victoria and Albert Museum where, with guidance from your tutor, you will collect visual research as inspiration for your jewellery.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- cut metal with a saw
- drill holes in metal
- anneal metal
- solder metal using a range of techniques
- join metal using cold connections such as rivets
- etch metal
- make a setting and set a stone
- shape and form metal
- press form metal
- shape and form a synthetic material (resin and polypropylene)
- produce a range of surface finishes on metal including polishing, patination and roll printing
- enamel on metal
- produce a range of samples and test pieces from the techniques learnt
- develop a body of work that will act as an inspiration for your ongoing designing and making
- cost and evaluate your work.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is designed for those with a basic knowledge of jewellery making who wish to gain a level 1 qualification.
There is no interview required for this course; it is open to all, although we suggest you may want to take a short taster course first to see how much you enjoy it, and introduce you to the basics.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations and hand outs. You must be
able to follow and observe the health and safety information given and work safely in the workshop. You will be
invited to take part in group discussion. You should be able to use numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations. Word processing skills would be an advantage on this course.
For your coursework you will be asked to carry out research in addition to classwork which will involve you collecting
information, images and ideas. You will be expected to visit museums and galleries independently for research as
well as finding and collating information from books and the internet.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught through demonstrations, projects, handouts, advice and guidance. There will be group
discussions and individual discussions with your tutor. You will be expected to carry out some independent research and design work outside the class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Build provides almost all the basic tools and equipment you will need for jewellery-making.
We also provide basic materials in reasonable quantities, such as base metals (copper, gilding metal, etc.) and
other materials (paper, enamel, etc.), chemicals (pickle, borax, etc.) and sundries (etching resist, polishing
There will be items you need to buy yourself, such as saw blades, all precious metals (silver, gold, etc.) and stones.
You will also need a sketchbook for your design work and to write notes on exhibitions or any other relevant
information. As you gain experience you might want to invest in your own tools.
If you receive benefits and are applying for a concessionary place, you may be able to receive help with the purchase of materials.
You are advised that sensible footwear must be worn in the studio. For heath and safety reasons no sandals, open
shoes or small pumps can be worn, even in hot weather.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Build offer a wide range of short and year-long courses in Jewellery design and making, from beginners to advanced, and for professional development.
The courses below might complement what you learned on this course:
VV408 Contemporary Jewellery
VV Intermediate jewellery I
VV860 Develop your jewellery design and making.
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details