The Association for Contemporary Jewellery


The Association for Contemporary Jewellery

The Association for Contemporary Jewellery is devoted to the promotion, representation, understanding and development of contemporary jewellery in the United Kingdom and abroad.


Location: UK
Members: 76
Latest Activity: on Friday

The Association for Contemporary Jewellery

is devoted to the promotion, representation, understanding and development of contemporary jewellery in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Founded as a membership association in 1997 and registered as a Limited Company in 2006, it recognises a need to foster discussion, debate and critical review and interaction amongst its members. To this end we organise conferences, lectures, seminars, workshops and an annual general meeting for our members. Our regular newsletter, findings, features reviews, information, comment, book offers and discounts and is of benefit to both our members and the wider public. We also produce a monthly e-bulletin featuring news and opportunities.

We welcome as members practising jewellers, associated designers and crafts people, educators, students, gallery owners and retailers, museum curators, critics and collectors - indeed, anyone with an interest in contemporary jewellery.

The Association for Contemporary Jewellery 
PO Box 37807 London SE23 1XJ United Kingdom 
Telephone: + 00 44 (0)20 8291 4201 
Fax: + 00 44 (0)20 8291 4452 



• promote greater understanding of contemporary jewellery
• support jewellers’ creative and professional development
• develop audiences for this lively field of contemporary craft and design

Discussion Forum

"Disbelief" over plans to remove crafts from UK creative industries_ Dezeen Magazine

Started by Vicky Saragouda. Last reply by Rebecca Skeels May 7, 2013. 3 Replies

Government proposals to remove crafts from its list of recognised creative industries have triggered "disbelief" and "frustration" in the sector...Article published by Dezeen Magazine on May 1st.www.dezeen.comContinue

Tags: Council, Crafts, industries, creative, Crafts

Comment Wall


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Comment by Rebecca Skeels on June 2, 2014 at 7:41am

Emma Turpin, designer and maker
Emma Turpin set up her own jewellery brand after graduating with a degree in Jewellery. As well as designing her collections, she works at a gallery as an assistant jeweller.

Emma's collections are inspired by the decor and buildings of the Victorian era.
I’m from the Bishop Stortford area, and am now based in Saffron Walden.

What job do you do?
I'm a designer-maker of jewellery.

I work primarily with silver. I can also work in gold, both 9 and 18 carat, platinum and palladium. At the moment, though, silver is cheaper for me to work with.

How did you get started in jewellery?
I left school after my GCSEs and went to college.

I studied 3D design and then jewellery design at Hertford Regional College in Ware. Then I went on to do a degree in Jewellery at Middlesex University.

I had the opportunity to take a year out, so I did, and during that year I spent six months working for a fashion jewellers in Primrose Hill. It was interesting, but it wasn't really for me. I got to make some pieces, but it was very much making what you were told to make.

"I got work at a gallery because I met people in the industry. Work experience gives you contacts."
Fashion jewellery is often a lot more trend-focussed. It has a different market to contemporary jewellery, which is more about creating one-off, bespoke pieces or using precious metals. Contemporary jewellery interested me a lot more.

I spent some time working as a teaching assistant at my old college. At that stage I was also considering a teaching career.

Then I was offered work as an assistant jeweller at the Gowan Jewellers contemporary jewellery gallery. I'm still working freelance for them now.

I wanted to see if I could do some shows with my own work, so I started applying for places at craft fairs around the country. I sent samples of my work to galleries, too.

I did some fairs and trade shows, and did well. I found a recognisable style to work in, and built my collection up. More recently, I set up a workshop space at home.

What qualifications do you have?
At college, I did a BTEC National in 3D design which covered a lot of aspects of design, but did include some jewellery work.

Then I did a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Jewellery Design, and finally the BA in Jewellery.

What do you do at work?
I always start the day by answering my emails.

I tend to give myself a list of jobs to do throughout the day. I make work for stockists who are selling my collections, or galleries that are showing my work. I also do bespoke commissions.

"It can take a long time to become established. You have to really want it."
I make rings, necklaces, brooches, earrings – all of it. I don’t outsource any work except, occasionally, gem setting. This is a skill in itself so a professional gem setter's skills can be useful.

I have to photograph everything once I have made it, so I have a visual record of what I've made.

I also spend time writing invoices and contacting galleries about putting work into them. Searching out new galleries does take time. Some days I will only do paperwork.

I also use social media to promote myself – I have a Twitter and Facebook presence.

What's the best thing about your job?
Being self-employed means I am my own boss. I can be flexible about when I work.

Also, there's real job satisfaction in making something others appreciate.

Finally, I'm always learning how to make new things or form new designs.

And the worst thing about the job?
It can take quite a long time to become established. You have to really want it, and be in it for the long term. You can’t expect things to turn around for you instantly.

I launched the Emma Turpin brand straight away when I left university, and it took at least five years to be recognised.

How do I get into jewellery?
Well, I came into it via the university route, but these days a degree isn’t necessary. My advice would be as follows:

Get the right skills in the best way for you
Some sort of qualification is often useful, but it doesn't have to be a degree. Places like Holts Academy offer a range of qualifications. You could also do some evening courses.

Aim for a range of work experience
Try and get as much experience as possible in different fields of jewellery. Different companies and designers work with a range of people. Gemologists, gem setters, galleries, and so on.
I got work at a gallery because I met people in the industry. Work experience can give you long term contacts – it’s not always what you know, but also who. Make yourself accessible to people.

Visit as many craft shows as possible
If you're new in the industry and you've set yourself up as a designer-maker, I recommend International Jewellery London's Kickstart programme.
You can only do it once, and it exists to encourage makers to do a show if they haven’t done it before. There's a selection process, and, only about eight people are chosen.
If you get a place, you get to attend IJL for a cheap price, and they'll give you a lot of promotion.

Plan ahead
You should always be looking ahead, six months to a year in advance. Where do you want to be? What shows do you want to have attended? Who do you want to be working with?

Be original
Don’t copy. Influences on your design are fine, but direct copying never goes down well.
Give yourself an aim, and work to get a collection together you can market. Try and come up with something that's your own.
Comment by Rebecca Skeels on June 2, 2014 at 7:13am
A chance to have your talents showcased to the UK Jewellery Industry!

Take part in this free competition by submitting a high resolution picture of a piece of jewellery that you have designed and made specifically for this competition.

The design of your entry may involve materials entirely of your choice including the use of gem stones and precious metals.

The winner will receive:
• A cash prize of £250
• The opportunity to have their work featured in a variety of our marketing materials.
• Top entries from the competition will be featured on their exhibition stand at IJL, Olympia

This is the chance for your work to be showcased on their website, social media pages and in promotional materials sent out to the UK jewellery industry, trade organisations and trade press!

Enter via their website:

Submit your form and entry photograph by:

12 noon on MONDAY 4th AUGUST 2014

via email to:
Comment by Rebecca Skeels on May 31, 2014 at 2:32am

On 16 May, we hosted ‘Make your Mark’, a first-of-its-kind free open day for British Jewellers and Silvermiths of the Future

This event, led by the Goldsmiths' Company Assay Office, was designed to heighten awareness of the great variety of services and activities the Goldsmiths' Company provides for upcoming jewellers and silversmiths. The day also brought together other key companies and associates known for their expertise and support.

The Goldsmiths’ Company, Assay Office and the Goldsmiths’ Centre co-presented a day of inspiring talks by leading professionals as well as:

• A careers zone featuring recruitment agencies, social media experts and design protection services

• Numerous trade exhibitors, including key suppliers and trade organisations

• A spectacular exhibition of work from students and residents of the Goldsmiths’ Centre

• A chance to try handmarking at our Assay Office stand

• A tour of the Goldsmiths’ Company’s renowned library

The event, attracting over 800 students and tutors from across the British Isles, set out to provide practical information, advice, contacts and inspiration to encourage and enable students to advance in their chosen career in the world of precious metals.

Highlights included talks by renowned London jeweller Theo Fennell, the acclaimed silversmith, Miriam Hanid and The Gemmological Association of Great Britain. Experts from the Goldsmiths’ Company, Assay Office and the Goldsmiths’ Centre offered insider advice on hallmarking, internships and grants, and training opportunities.

Dr Robert Organ, Deputy Warden, commented; "This first event of its kind greatly exceeded our expectations and we hope it gave everyone useful information and confidence in making future decisions."

We would like to thank everyone who exhibited and attended our 'Make your Mark' student event. We had a brilliant time and hope you found the day educational and enjoyable.
Comment by Rebecca Skeels on May 30, 2014 at 5:17am

Goldsmith/ Bench Jeweller

Steensons Jewellery designers are looking for an experienced goldsmith

Experience dependant

Application deadline: June 7th 2014

The Steensons design and manufacture jewellery in their workshop situated in the picturesque village of Glenarm, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. They sell their designs direct to the customer both in the workshop and at their main retail outlet on Bedford Street, Belfast. In addition they carry out commissioned bespoke jewellery tailored to the customer’s needs.

They require an experienced goldsmith/ bench jeweller to join their existing manufacturing team. This position is a Temporary Full time 12 month contract, covering maternity leave. However future opportunities within the business may arise.

The successful candidate will be expected to work productively within a team, providing an high standard of craftsmanship in producing Steensons product ranges, bespoke pieces as well as aftercare services. As the workshop is open to the public, dealing professionally and efficiently with the public through customer enquiries and retail sales would also be a requirement of the position.

Additional training will be provided but we are looking for an individual with adequate jewellery manufacturing/bench work experience skilled in some or all of the following; Piercing/ Soldering/ Filing & Shaping/ Polishing/ Wax carving/ Repairs/ ring sizing/ Casting/ Stone setting.

Salary - We will offer a competitive salary based on the candidate’s experience and skill level. Applicants successful in securing an interview may be required to carry out a practical skills assessment. 

For more details or an application form please email or visit

Comment by Rebecca Skeels on May 29, 2014 at 11:53am

The School of Craft and Design at the University for the Creative Arts invites artists, designers and makers to apply for a period of residency of up to twelve months in duration, from September 2014 to August 2015.

You will be invited to work at our Farnham campus or our Rochester campus, depending upon your subject area and geographical preference. In exchange for access to our outstanding facilities, you will be expected to make a contribution to sessions with the students such as workshops, lectures and seminars.

Our School is also home to three internationally renowned research centres including The Textile Research Institute, The Crafts Study Centre and The Centre for Sustainable Design®.

If you have a specific contextual theme you wish to address through the production of new work in one or more of the following subject areas: ceramics, furniture, glass, jewellery, metalwork, product design, printed textiles and woven textiles then we would very much like to hear from you. Other subject areas may also be considered, depending upon a specific proposal and resources.

If your application is successful you will be required to take out public liability insurance and we recommend AN’s AIR programme and the insurance they supply free with subscription. For more information please see the AN website.

If you are an overseas applicant you will need an independent visa covering the period September 2014 to August 2015. We cannot enter into any dialogue with the UKBA, on your behalf, in respect of visa applications.

If you would like to be considered for a Residency at UCA then please send the following information via email to Robert Pulley, Head of School, Craft and Design (

A CV including: information related to educational achievements, practice experience and successes, specialist skills and knowledge and the names of two independent referees
A maximum of six images of your current work
A statement of between 500 and 1000 words outlining your reasons for applying and the resources you require to carry out practical work.
Deadline for applications is Tuesday 1 July 2014.

Comment by Rebecca Skeels on May 29, 2014 at 11:05am

Hi All

I am pleased to say that the Rising Stars Symposium recordings can be now accessed online via the New Ashgate Gallery Trust website.
We hope that these recordings will be a useful tool for students, recent graduates and new start ups. Please circulate as appropriate.

Comment by Rebecca Skeels on May 26, 2014 at 5:17am

Comment by Rebecca Skeels on May 26, 2014 at 5:14am

ACJ site redesign
New website layout launched 24 May 2014.

We hope you will find the site easier to use!

Our email addresses have also been redirected, and we may have some teething problems. If you do not receive an answer within 3 days, please resend your email.

New features: we will soon publish catalogues for exhibitions , and issues of past Findings magazines.

The Archive section gives details of our extensive activities, and various events in the jewellery field.

Comments & suggestions are welcome:

Comment by Rebecca Skeels on May 26, 2014 at 5:00am
The School of Jewellery is taking bookings for its highly acclaimed summer programme of inspirational and affordable short courses.

The specially designed summer programme beginning on 23rd June has been continuously developed and informed by customers and industry over the last 20 years. Courses are taught by the very best practitioners from industry and academia in the School’s well-equipped studio workshops.

The School of Jewellery is the perfect place for professionals or beginners to obtain expert training make useful jewellery industry contacts and enjoy learning in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter.

The variety of course levels on offer also ensure a wonderful experience for jewellery, gemmology or diamond enthusiasts too.

Full course details go to the BCU /BIAD website

or contact

ACJ members eligible for a 10% discount on course fees if they use code ACJ10 when booking.
Comment by Rebecca Skeels on May 26, 2014 at 4:54am
Wellcome Image Awards 2014

The winners of the 13th Wellcome Image Awards were recently announced. The 18 winning images, created by scientists, photographers and artists from around the world, give an up-close-and-personal view of humans, animals, plants and the environment.

The images are on display in the Wellcome Trust windows, next door to Wellcome Collection on Euston Road in London, and at Wellcome Image Awards exhibitions at Glasgow Science Centre, MOSI in Manchester, Techniquest in Cardiff and W5 in Belfast. You can see the images, and find out about them and the people who created them, on the Wellcome Image Awards website.

Members (76)


SNAG / CH Scholarship 2015

Created by

Kelly M Nye

Makers, Metalsmiths, and other Monikers.

What do you call yourself? Where do you belong in the Polarized Convocation of Jewelers?

This blog is a research-based discussion of personal inclusions in the Jewelry/Metals field and the titles and boundaries that define us as artists.

How do you define yourself and your practice?

JOIN the discussions.

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Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
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