BCU student’s CAD-designed bamboo-inspired cocktail ring wows judges.
Weston Beamor revealed the winner of its annual student design competition at Jewellery & Watch Birmingham this week, crowning Zi Ye as the winner of a £500 prize and a week’s work experience with the company.
The annual CAD competition is run with students in their second year of study on the HND course in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Birmingham School of Jewellery, part of Birmingham City University.
The students were asked to design a piece of jewellery of their choice using the GemVision Matrix CAD software. Each student was asked to incorporate a choice of three, semi-precious jewels – either a 4.55ct citrine, a 7.8ct amethyst or a 9.52ct topaz. They were also asked to produce a consumer-facing advertisement that could be used to market their designs.
Zi Ye’s bamboo-inspired cocktail ring in 18ct yellow gold won first prize. It is set with an amethyst surrounded with tiny green tsavorite garnets. The design has won her a prize of £500 plus a week of work experience with Weston Beamor.
The runners up also receive a week of work experience. In second place was Faith Pope, who entered with her A Stitch in Time pendant in 18ct yellow gold. The necklace also functions as a sewing kit complete with needle holder and cotton, and was thought by the judges to catch the mood of the moment with its 1940s style marketing and utilitarian purpose. She also receives a £250 prize.
Third place was handed to Natalia Antunovity for her Intimacy earrings in 18ct yellow gold featuring citrines. They were described by the judges as being "the height of glamour and sophistication", with Antunovity scooping an additional prize of £100.
All three designs were created by Weston Beamor’s production team and went on display at Jewellery & Watch Show Birmingham at the NEC. As an additional prize, the jewels which Weston Beamor has created are given to the students once the event is over.
Andrew Morton, managing director of WB The Creative Jewellery Group, of which Weston Beamor is a part, congratulated the students on the quality of their designs and on the high level of technical excellence they achieved in their presentations. He said: “The standard seems to get higher year or year and our judges were faced with a very difficult decision.”
Zi Ye, who originates from mainland China, originally trained as a Kindergarten teacher. She arrived in England four years ago and decided to study jewellery making because of her love or art and jewellery. Her prize-winning design is based on the bamboo plant which has great cultural significance to the Chinese. She says her aim is to remain in the UK and work in the jewellery industry and to eventually build her own brand.
Speaking for the School of Jewellery, Gaynor Andrews, deputy head of school, said: “This module of the course offers students a real insight into what it is like to work in our industry. We are so grateful to the team at WB and to GVUK which provide the design software for the students to use. Their on-going support is an invaluable help to us and to the next generation of jewellery designers.”