Gemmology and Jewellery Studies - BSc (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years)
September 2017

Our Gemmology and Jewellery Studies degree is the only one of its kind in the world. It will enable you to gain the highest level of professionally-recognised gemmological skills.

Based in the heart of Birmingham’s thriving Jewellery Quarter, you’ll benefit from unrivalled expertise and facilities as you explore precious gems and all relevant aspects of the jewellery trade.

What's covered in the course?

Our highly practical Gemmology and Jewellery Studies degree offers an introduction to gemmological theory and testing, diamond grading and jewellery valuation. This unique course is partnered by the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A), the world’s longest-established gemmological teaching organisation.

With our fully-equipped gem labs at your disposal, you’ll be able to carry out a range of standard and advanced gemmological tests used in the identification of gemstones.

You’ll have the chance to put gem materials under the microscope, from natural and synthetic gemstones through to imitation. There will also be a chance to learn complementary skills such as photography.

You’ll study at our brand new purpose-built facilities at the Assay Office, just a few minutes’ walk from the School of Jewellery and in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, where much of today’s jewellery is still made. Our staff team are all experts in their field, and have extensive industry experience. Our graduates go on to work in a wide variety of roles in the jewellery industry throughout the world.

"We really enjoy studying on such a unique and specialised course, and find the different areas of study really interesting. We particularly like the diamond grading classes, and also the opportunity to handle so many different varieties of gemstones." Edward Ferder and Maxwell Burden

Why Choose Us?

  • This course is the only undergraduate degree in gemmology in the world.
  • It is taught by industry experts and leading academics in their field.
  • You’ll work in state-of-the-art, purpose-built facilities, with an extensive range of both standard and advanced gemmological equipment.
  • In addition to the three-year course, students with both the Gemmology and Diamond Diplomas of the Gem-A can apply to study year three only to ‘top up’ their professional qualifications to a degree qualification.
  • You will have the opportunity to continue your study at postgraduate level with our ground breaking research team.
  • Our department has extensive links with industry, and sponsors include Gem-A, Garrard and Fellows.
  • You study where the industry practices – the course is based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, where an estimated 40 per cent of British jewellery is made today.
  • Founded in 1890, our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery is the largest school of its kind in Europe. 

This course is open to International students

School of Jewellery

Discover the School of Jewellery

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work in jobs such as:

  • Sales accounts and business development managers
  • Product, clothing and related designers n.e.c.
  • Further education teaching professionals

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2017/18
GCE A Level/ AS Level BBC at A-Level or 112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A-Levels
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Must be in a relevant subject pathway
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or combined with 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM - 112 UCAS points
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) D* or combined with 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Distinction
International Baccalaureate Diploma

For students who complete the full IB Diploma: Obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects

For students who do not complete the full IB Diploma: Obtain a total of 16 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects 

Irish Leaving Certificate 112 UCAS points - Higher Levels
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 112 UCAS points
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) grade Pass plus grades CC at A-Level (or equivalent qualifications) to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2017/18
IELTS speakers require IELTS 6.0
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

For students who complete the full IB Diploma: Obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects

For students who do not complete the full IB Diploma: Obtain a total of 16 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects

In addition to the above, applicants will also need:
English Group A - Grade 4 or above
English Group B and Ab Initio - Grade 5

Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.


International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £12,000 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Guidance for UK/EU students


UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

View additional costs for this course

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

Introduction to Gemmology and Jewellery Studies
60 credits

This module is designed to introduce you to the theoretical study of gemstones and the techniques used for their identification. You study the properties of a wide range of natural and synthetic gemstones and gemstone simulants, plus the science and theories that underpin our understanding and interpretation of how these properties are used within gem testing.

In addition, you will be introduced to the specialism of diamonds. You will also study basic concepts of geology and how these may apply to the formation of gemstones and gem deposits.

Gemmology and Diamond Practical
60 credits

This module introduces you to the skills and techniques of practical gemmology where you will develop gemstone testing experience through the use of a range of standard gemmological instruments, and gain familiarity with a wide range of gem materials.

Additionally, once you have gained confidence in using the basic gemmological equipment, you will be introduced to advanced testing equipment. You will also develop the ability to grade a diamond for colour, clarity and cut according to professional specifications.

Year two

Applied Gemmology
60 credits

This module is designed to build on the first year modules to expand your knowledge of gemstone properties and characteristics further, and to increase the range of gemstones that you are familiar with. On completion of the module, you will be able to explain more advanced gemmological concepts and theories. You will develop your basic gem testing abilities so that you can undertake critical analysis of testing techniques on a wide variety of gem materials, in rough and fashioned forms, both loose and mounted in jewellery.

20 credits

Organics materials are amongst some of the earliest gem materials used by man. This module is designed to develop your specialist knowledge of these materials, to learn methods of identification, treatments, simulants, and methods of pearl culturing. Additionally, you will explore and debate the ethics surrounding the use of organics, protection of endangered species, and restrictions in dealing and shipping. The practical element of this module will teach you to detect organic gems by observational features, and the principles of pearl grading.

20 credits

Jade is a gem material with huge commercial and cultural importance. Its history stretches back for thousands of years, and has not only been used in jewellery, but for ornamental purposes, religious artefacts, and even weaponry. This module is designed to enable you to explore jadeite and nephrite in greater depth, their history, geological origins, treatments, and common simulants, and to analyse and understand the cultural significance of these unique gem materials.

Industry Studies
20 credits

This module invites you to reflect on your intended position within the industry post-graduation, and to engage in a cycle of experiential learning to ensure that you capitalise on the opportunities available once you have left the programme. The module considers the scope and responsibility of key roles within the commercial context and the fundamentals of a wide range of careers that gemmology can lead into, through a series of visits, case studies or mentoring relationships.

Year three

Advanced Gemmology and Analytical Techniques
60 credits

This module is designed to equip you with both the theory, intellectual context, and application of the state-of-the-art  scientific testing techniques utilised in both the gem and diamond industries. It will also provide you with the intellectual skills and confidence required to tackle the challenges you will encounter in your future career. You will be encouraged to explore, investigate and research as inherent aspects of the learning process, to allow you to develop the transferable skills of problem solving and self-reliance. 

Valuation Science
20 credits

This module builds on your knowledge of the concepts of valuation covered in the first two years, and your knowledge and understanding of gemstones, jewellery, metals and their relative valuations will be enhanced in both breadth and sophistication.

You will discover that by combining gemmological skills with your understanding of jewellery manufacturing techniques, you will develop the ability to both differentiate and evaluate alternative methods of manufacture, and assess their relative quality.

Research Project
40 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area of gemmology that is of personal interest to you.

This module is an opportunity for you to develop not only academically, but it will also help you to acquire lifelong skills and attributes that identify you as a graduate of Birmingham City University - a creative problem solver, entrepreneurial, professional and work ready, and having a global outlook.

Course Structure

Gain the highest level of gemmological skills, as well as knowledge of all relevant aspects of the jewellery trade, with our Gemmology and Jewellery Studies course. Our highly-practical course will give you the professionally-recognised attributes and experience you need to enhance your employability prospects.

You will work in our fully-equipped, purpose-built gem labs, carrying out a range of gemmological tests, as well as learning advanced-level analytical techniques, diamond grading and jewellery valuation.

You will be introduced to a range of gemmological testing equipment, as well as diamond theory, jewellery valuation and appraisal. You will also learn to grade diamonds to a professional standard, while sharpening your skills in photography and photomicrography.

As you become more skilled and familiar with the equipment, you get the opportunity in your second year to continue your gemmological studies to a greater depth. This will also include greater knowledge of jewellery valuation and appraisal, an extensive practical gemmology testing project, and specialist modules in Jade and organic gem materials.

In your third year, you will conduct advanced scientific testing of gem materials, as well as applying the use of spectroscopy to advance your study of diamonds. The knowledge of jewellery valuation and appraisal that you have commenced in your first two years will be further strengthened, and your increasing skills in analytical techniques will then be demonstrated in a research project of your own choosing.

Hours in the classroom

Timetabled study days are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with self-directed study set for other days.

Teaching breakdown

45 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
55 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

18 Written exams DarkOrange
62 Coursework FireBrick
20 Practical exams #fece5a

Classroom Activities and Projects

Around 50% of our work is practical, and is based in our purpose- built gem testing labs. You will work with a wide variety of precious gem materials, including rough crystals, cut stones and gems set into jewellery. 

Trips and Visits

Our trips vary each year, depending on what events are being held. They range from attending talks, conferences and museum visits, to field trips both in the UK and abroad. Examples are visits to the London museums, the annual Gem-A Conference, the Blue John mines in Derbyshire, geology field trips to Cornwall and Scotland, a week-long laboratory visit to the University of St Andrews, a three-day visit to the Antwerp Diamond District and a recent third-year trip to Cambodia and Thailand. 

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further Study

The MSc Gemmology is currently undergoing validation, and will provide a route to postgraduate study. The department also has current PhD students. For information on further study options after the undergraduate degree course in Gemmology and Jewellery Studies call +44 (0)121 331 5595 or go direct to the courses section of the website.

Enhancing Employability skills

Employability and key transferable skills are embedded within the course ethos to maximise our students’ capabilities and understanding of potential career opportunities. Each module is designed to incorporate both generic and industry-specific skillsets to give students maximum flexibility in their chosen career path.

Modules are structured to include field visits and opportunities for students to observe and develop an understanding of potential routes to employment. Additionally, the course content includes extensive training in advanced analytical techniques which are required by laboratories worldwide. 


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Links to Industry

All of our tutors have worked within the industry, and therefore the course has excellent links with the jewellery trade. Our course has a number of industry sponsors, and they fund a great programme of visiting lectures from a wide variety of experts in the gemmology trade. We also have a number of industry sponsored prizes for high-achieving students, and work closely with other universities and gemmological professional bodies around the world. 


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate Jobs

Our graduates take on a wide variety of international roles within the jewellery industry. Examples are laboratory work, diamond grading, academic research, teaching, stone dealing, stone buying, retail, auctioneering, and valuation and appraisal.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Studying in the UK is better

Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.

The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.

So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.

Overall measures: ranked positions
Undergraduate 2014 2014 2014 2013 2014
Recommendation 1 4 3 5 2
Overall satisfaction 1 4 3 5 2
Arrival overall 1 2 4 5 3
Learning overall 1 4 3 5 2
Living overall 1 2 5 3 4
Support overall 1 4 5 3 2

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our gemmology and jewellery course is most popular with international students from:


Our Gemmology students are based in new, state-of-the-art premises at Moreton Street in the Jewellery Quarter, within the Assay Office Birmingham building.

The purpose-built workshops are spacious and superbly well-equipped with equipment, samples and books. Within the department, there is access to some of the highest specification of equipment available for gemmological education in the world. Our students also have access to the further advanced equipment housed within the Assay office’s AnchorCert laboratory. 


Jewellery and Horology workshops are located on the main School of Jewellery site complimented with a Technology Hub including state of the art digital manufacturing equipment.


The Gemmology department is furnished with high specification interactive lecture facilities and is situated within the working environment of Birmingham’s Assay Office. It has links with the Gemmological Association and offers the chance to gain a recognised professional qualification as an optional study route.

IT and library

Computers and laptops have the latest Adobe software and you will be given access to as a source of great tutorials and advice to support your studies. The School of Jewellery has its own specialist library with a comprehensive range of international periodicals and access to the Mintel Report.


Our students love the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of the School and return year on year to our annual exhibitions.

Our Staff

All of the staff teaching on the course have an industry background.

Miranda Wells, Programme leader, was a stone dealer and buyer in the trade for 10 years before coming to the University.

Richard Taylor, Lecturer, is a well-known academic and researcher, with a lifetime of experience within the gemmology and jewellery industries.

Andrew Fellows, Lecturer, has been a gemmologist and tutor for many years, and before coming to Birmingham City University he worked for Gem-A for five years.

Dr Richard Taylor

Richard has been actively engaged within the gemstone and jewellery industry throughout his working career. He has founded a number of very successful SME’s that were established upon the development of both professional and technical innovations which were then recognised as the market leaders. Although entrepreneurism was an aspect of the companies’ successes the commitment to research and innovation was the defining attribute. 

Sian Hindle

Lecturer in Contextual Studies

Sian’s lecturing work focuses on the social, cultural, historical and theoretical context to the production and use of jewellery and related products, with a student-centred approach from the outset.  Sian works across most of the undergraduate programmes within the School of Jewellery, providing Industry Studies for the vocational programmes (such as HND Jewellery and Silversmithing, and BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies) and Contextual Studies for the more art jewellery-focused BA (Hons) Jewellery and Objects.

Throughout her teaching, Sian aims to provide students with the conceptual tools to be able to deepen their practice and to engage critically with the cultural field they aspire to work in.  This study may involve applying theory to the analysis of artefacts, or applying project management techniques to research projects.  In addition to her lecturing work she also convenes the School of Jewellery’s Talking Practice series of lectures, helping to create a vibrant research culture and raise the profile of the School.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295