Jewellery students deliver 150th birthday present for Brandauer


The Birmingham University’s School of Jewellery has used scrap metal to deliver a perfect 150th birthday present for a local manufacturer.

Brandauer, one of the early pioneers in the global pen trade, wanted to mark its milestone anniversary by hosting a competition that encouraged BA (Hons) students to produce pieces of jewellery that reflected the intricate and detailed nature of the firm’s parts that end up in automotive electronics, dual fuel cells, security devices, 98% of the world’s kettles and the Large Hadron Collider.

Each of the 38 participants received a bag of metal scraps from its Newtown factory and were given just four weeks to come up with their creations, which including anything from delicate and small scale earrings to large scale body pieces.

Students explored ways to manipulate and transform the initial material employing techniques, such as reticulation, melting, forming, dissecting, layering, soldering, laser welding, and colouring.

They were then judged by former Chairman John Berkeley OBE and wife Michele, who settled on five main winners; Harriet Knight (Copper), Natalie Lee (Silver Plated Brass), Bow Sangthong (Stainless Steel) and Peter Clark and Sanna Heino (Aluminium).

“Brandauer began a century and a half ago as one of the leaders of Birmingham’s world-famous pen trade, much of which was based in the Jewellery Quarter. It won medals at many of the great international exhibitions of the Victorian age for the design and craftsmanship of its pens.

“How appropriate that, 150 years later, we should be helping to stimulate a new generation of craftsmen and women to create award-winning designs in metal. Many of the creations are quite stunning and the city can be very proud that it attracts so many talented young people to its world-class School of Jewellery.”

Sally Collins, Lecturer BA Hons Jewellery and Silversmithing, added her support: “I believe our students have delivered jewellery pieces that challenge preconceptions of material, and creativity, hopefully reflecting the level of craftsmanship Brandauer are synonymous with.”

She continued: “Better still we have developed a new partnership with the company and all of the ‘creations’ will be part of a 3-month long exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery from October.”

The competition is the latest in a long line of events planned by Brandauer in 2012. The company has already welcomed HRH Princess Royal, launched a book on its history and only recently received a visit from Lord Digby Jones to mark £750,000 investment in new machines.

Supplied by Bruderer UK, the high-speed presses are capable of producing 2 billion parts every year and will help the firm hit £10m turnover this year and create up to seven new jobs. I

t is also looking to promote its tool transfer service this year for customers wishing to move production of existing component lines. Starting with a free 15-hour tool assessment, the company project manages the entire process and can also repair badly maintained or worn tooling in-house.

This provides clients with a risk-free opportunity to free up capacity or remove potential production bottlenecks.

For further information, please visit, call 0121 359 2822 or follow them @cbrandauer on twitter. You can find out more about Birmingham University’s School of Jewellery by visiting 

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