Why did I want to study Jewellery & Silversmithing BA (Hons)?
Making things with my hands has always been my passion. I would spend hours after school making beaded wire jewellery for my friends and family. I realised designing jewellery brought me more joy than anything else and so I decided to consider it as a potential career path. I started investigating jewellery design courses at degree level and, after I discovered Edinburgh, I became captivated with the city and its history.
During an open day at Edinburgh College of Art, I was able to look through student sketchbooks and I was fascinated by the creativity of the students and the teaching quality. I also discovered that The University of Edinburgh is in the top 20 Universities in the world and with the high entry requirements I decided to challenge myself and push my limits to ensure I could get a place.
My time at ECA
The Jewellery & Silversmithing course at ECA is very hands-on, introducing you to essential metalworking skills as well as more specialised techniques (chasing, stone-setting, mokume-gane) taught by internationally-recognised jewellers who come from abroad specifically to teach on the programme.
Collaboration is a key element at ECA; I was able to take part in enriching projects with students from other programmes including Fashion, Textiles and Animation. There are fantastic opportunities given to the students including taking part in design competitions, placements, opportunities to design jewellery for companies such as Michael Kors and the chance to win awards for your work. During my 2nd year, I got to showcase my jewellery designs at Graduate Fashion Week and in 3rd year, my year group got to design a trophy for The Scottish Rugby National team and were given the opportunity to present our ideas in front of a panel of judges.
Along with your studies, you can also get involved with societies to enable you to express yourself and learn new skills. In my 2nd year, I founded the R Sustainable Social Enterprise to link the disciplines of Art and Science by creating a professional platform to explore material innovation through a variety of events. ECA provided an environment for me where I felt heard and supported, offering support with promoting these events. The University of Edinburgh awarded R Sustainable two grants towards running our events, it also won the Creative Edinburgh Student Award in 2019.
During my last months at ECA, we were surprised by Covid-19 and I had to adapt to the current times. Knowing that I would not have an in-person Degree Show, I designed a fully digital collection and created a ‘Virtual Try-on' event to showcase the works of my classmates, allowing people to use an Instagram filter to virtually try on our pieces of jewellery. In times like this, one must stay strong and trust their creativity, knowing that something good will come out of it!
Life after graduation
I was extremely fortunate to win a few monetary awards for my work and opportunities have continued to come my way. I decided to stay in Edinburgh for one more year to do a Design Informatics MSc, intending to enter the world of smart jewellery - since our world is becoming so digitalised, there is room for technological innovation in the field of jewellery. Later this year I will move to London as I received a scholarship for the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to study their renowned, accredited diamond course.
Words of advice
Your university years are a time for you to experiment, make mistakes and learn from them, a time like no other when it is still fine to not know what you are doing and feel lost. You will find your way with time; it is all a learning curve and a time for growth. Don’t be afraid of anything, just work hard by doing what you love, and the right opportunities will start coming your way!