Cambridge retailer invited Goldsmiths’ Centre students to compete.

Jewellery retailer Catherine Jones of Cambridge has unveiled the winner of its inaugural Golden Jubilee Competition, inspired by the company’s 50th anniversary of trading in the UK.

Goldsmiths’ Centre student Ben Hawkins picked up the prize, beating out nine of his fellow foundation course mates who were also invited to compete.


The competition, which was launched in October 2013, asked students to create a gold pendant inspired by the city of Cambridge and the late Catherine Jones, who was an ardent supporter of young design talent.

The contest was supported by Goldsmiths’ Centre director Peter Taylor and his staff. Taylor explained: “The Goldsmiths’ Centre exists to encourage those working or aspiring to work in the jewellery industry. Our links to industry are unparalleled and we are delighted to have worked with Catherine Jones on the competition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a retailer that has launched and supported the careers of so many designers and makers.”

Catherine Jones of Cambridge managing director Vanessa Burkitt, said: “The judges were tremendously impressed by the ingenuity and design flare exhibited by all the students of the Foundation course, here. To demonstrate such engagement with a challenging competition at such an early stage of their journey into the techniques, arts and crafts that go into creating a jewel was truly astonishing. Ben’s exquisite design edged it against this remarkable field of talent.”

The judging panel was made up of jewellery designer and former student of the Goldsmiths’ Centre Ivonna Poplanska; jewellery designer Fei Liu; Catherine Jones of Cambridge managing director Vanessa Burkitt and chairman Mathew Burkitt; and long-term client Fran Otter.

Burkitt continued: “To have two successful jewellery designers on our panel was a great honour and I am very grateful to them both for the time they so generously gave to our project. But we also wanted to include a customer.”

When asked about his winning design, Ben Hawkins said: “On first thought, Cambridge university architecture sounded like a cliché topic to base my ideas on. However, having been lucky enough to visit the colleges (of Cambridge), an epiphany descended over, enlightening me to the fact that these buildings do not represent Cambridge, they make Cambridge.”

Hawkins, who is originally from St. Albans, will now receive £500 to spend on tools to help him on his way to a career as a jewellery designer. His design will be crafted in 18ct gold and unveiled in the early autumn at Catherine Jones.