The Birmingham City University School of Jewellery will transform over 600kg of old jewellery into a series of new pieces of art.

The project, titled ‘JUNK: Rubbish to Gold’, has been created by university academic Professor Jivan Astfalck with the help of leading jewellers Laura Bradshaw-Heap and Rachel Darbourne and will see the old pieces turned into new jewellery for an eye-catching exhibition.

Between November 9-13, all 600kg of jewellery will be situated in one pile in the foyer of the School of Jewellery, where graduates from the school, along with artists from Holland, Germany, Finland, Sweden and America, will be working to turn each of these unloved pieces of jewellery into something new and usable.


A total of ten charities are involved in the project, including Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice and Devon Air Ambulance Trust, who have contributed to the 600kg of jewellery being used.

Pieces made from the exhibition will be auctioned online for charity, with members of the public also able to buy items from the collection.

“We wanted to create something meaningful and not just pretty,” says Professor Astfalck. “What really moves people are memories embedded in design, like remembering the jewellery your grandmother used to wear.”

Astfalck continues: “I think there is a treasure hunter in all human beings, we are all magpies. When you discover something beautiful in what other people have discarded, there’s a certain magic in that.”

A second exhibition is in preparation for Munich in Germany and further invitations have been received from galleries in Vienna and Bangkok.