Three Birmingham City University (BCU) School of Jewellery (SoJ) students demonstrated exactly what is possible with a small bag of semi-precious stones and a huge amount of imagination, ingenuity and skill, as Weston Beamor announced the winners of its annual Live Project at Jewellery & Watch.
The annual competition is open to all BCU SoJ students in their second year of a Higher National Diploma in Jewellery Manufacturing.
This year’s theme was cocktail rings, a trend that has experienced a huge resurgence thanks to the Duchess of Sussex. The class were tasked with creating a signature ring around a coloured semi-precious gemstone which they selected blind from a ‘lucky dip’ bag. Students also had to create branding and a retail ‘launch’ print advert to complement their design.
Competition for this year’s top spot was fierce, with the judges commending the high quality of all entries.
As always though, there can only be one, and this year Bethaan Cubbin secured the top prize with her ring adorned with an emerald and marquise cut diamonds.
The judges selected Cubbin’s ring as the winning piece because they felt it well and truly hit all aspects of the brief.
Samantha Conroy and Owen Phillip Lee placed second and third place.
“Each piece was high calibre, and this is a reflection of the high standard of education and training being delivered at BCU,” says WB The Creative Jewellery Group managing director, Andrew Morton. “To design a piece of jewellery that is on trend, can be manufactured at scale and also priced right, is no mean feat. It’s fantastic to see this level of skill and passion being developed and nurtured in Birmingham.”
WB business manager, Ed Hole, adds: “Every year we are extremely pleased with the standard of work. The students have to think about a lot of factors other than just the design, such as commerciality and the understanding of the relevant production processes. It’s also their first project in CAD, so being able to create a manufacture-ready model is really impressive. The three winners did a great job, but the whole class should all be proud of themselves.”
A prototype of each finalist’s ring was produced, overseen by WB senior CAD designer Anousca Hume, and exhibited on the Weston Beamor stand throughout Jewellery & Watch 2019.
All finalists will receive a week’s work experience at WB, where they will engage in a structured programme designed to further reinforce CAD design, jewellery manufacturing and 3D printing processes.
Bethan Cubbin was also rewarded with £500; Samantha Conroy and Owen Phillip Lee received £250 and £100 respectively.