BCU Graduates win at New Designers 2023


Birmingham City University win at New Designers

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An aspiring jeweller from Birmingham City University is one step closer to her dream career after being crowned ‘Designer of the Year’ at the prestigious New Designers showcase last week. 

An aspiring jeweller from Birmingham City University is one step closer to her dream career after being crowned ‘Designer of the Year’ at the prestigious New Designers showcase this week.    

Augusta Lazenby, a final-year Design for Industry student, is just one of the five BCU Jewellery students recognised for their exceptional creative work at the showcase.  

Her 10-piece ring collection won plaudits from the judges and earned her a coveted placement at Hockley Mint’s Birmingham workshop.  

“The experience at New Designers was phenomenal,” said Augusta. 

“I was not expecting to walk away with an award, so winning the Hockley Mint Jewellery Designer of the year feels really special and the offer of a month’s placement in their Birmingham workshop is an incredible opportunity which I am so grateful for. 

“New Designers really helps give creatives at the start of their careers the platform to shine, you meet so many important contacts within the industry, as well as being surrounded by loads of talented students working in other disciplines.” 

Also receiving deserved recognition from Hockley Mint were BCU jewellery graduates Lilli Canham and Yiting Wang. Fellow graduates Adam Fisher and Elan Rowlands had their work recognised by one of the biggest names in jewellery, Stephen Webster. 

Andrew Howard, Lecturer in Jewellery & Silversmithing – (Design for Industry) at BCU, attended New Designers alongside the graduates. 

We could not be prouder of our graduates,” said Andrew. “Each one of them displayed their work and represented the School of Jewellery brilliantly, particularly in the way they interacted with guests, judges and show organisers. 

“We had so much fantastic feedback from several industry contacts who were impressed by the pieces we had on show, but also how our BCU Jewellery course’s combine design with important commercialisation skills.” 

Like London buses, award successes at the School of Jewellery seemingly come in pairs.  

Chris Lewis, recent Higher National Diploma (HND) Jewellery & Silversmithing graduate, also secured the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) ‘Rising Star of the Year’ award, thanks to his hip-hop inspired, eye-catching pendants and savvy business skills 

It was actually someone in the marketing department at the NAJ who spotted my work at the New Jewels exhibition at the NEC who told me to apply for the rising star award,” explained Chris. 

“I think they were impressed with how I had manged to build my business and had gone from no jewellery knowledge or background to where I am today in just two years. 

“I was genuinely so surprised I won. I was probably the youngest guy amongst the shortlist by about 10 years so, it’s such an honour and I have already had people from the industry reaching out as well as the other jewellers to congratulate me.”  

Dauvit Alexander, Senior Lecturer in Jewellery & Silversmithing at BCU’s School of Jewellery believes Chris’s success is a bigger deal than even he realises. 

“It is exciting to see Chris’s hard work payoff and recognised with an award by the prestigious NAJ,” he said .

Chris is a fitting example of what we do on the HND Jewellery and Silversmithing, he has a real desire to learn the skills required to become a fine jewellery setter.  

“It is important to acknowledge that Chris has set up his own company and brand while on the course – the other candidates for the award were all sponsored by their employers, so his success in that sense is even more impressive.” 

Although many students may need an extra shelf in their trophy cabinets, there is no sign of ‘award season’ at the School of Jewellery slowing down. 

Late this month, a carefully selected group of students will also have their work displayed at the forthcoming Paris Couture Fashion Week, alongside some of the best-known brands in the business. 


Rebecca van Rooijen


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