The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company
Who founded it and why?
The Founder's Story
Refine | Develop | Aim high
I'm Dawn Meaden-Johnson
I'm a Jewellery industry training consultant with over 25 years specific industry experience and I'm the Director of The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company.
My priority is to guide clients who are individuals or companies to the perfect training solution, and develop new professional standard courses that are reactive and relevant to jewellery industry demand.
With the Bespoke Jewellery Training Company I have created a unique business model that provides anyone with access to professional jewellery industry standard training outside of Further Education.
I'm a graduate Silversmith of the prestigious School of Jewellery in Birmingham and I have a wide variety of experience over my career in different industry roles. After graduating I began a 10 year stint of experience working at Jewellery Retail sector giants Signet Group, initially working in jewellery sales and customer service, then moving into branch operations, export, marketing and merchandising via their HQ in Birmingham.
From 2004-2014 I was back at the School of Jewellery Birmingham City University (BCU) as short courses/external training project manager, working with UK and International clients.
For the past five years Dawn has been supporting Graduates and Designer Makers via Jewellery Business Mentoring. In 2017 The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company became an a graduate award sponsor at The School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University (BCU), where upon graduation two graduates per year are selected to receive a 9 month Graduate Jewellery Business Mentoring programme each, delivered by me.
In 2022 I became a member of The Guild of Jewellery Designers, Ethical Good Practises Forum. We are working on a subject area of huge importance, and our forum is made up of industry volunteers with a wide range of experience, and our aim is to research, raise awareness and provide guidance to help Jewellers make informed choices for ethical good practise.
Today my office at The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company is located near Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter and our courses take place in many tutor studios all around the UK and online.
Why this work is important to me
I wanted to use my industry connections and experience for the good of the Jewellery Industry.
If everyone does their bit to be the best they can be we can be hopeful about the longevity of our Jewellery Industry.
I have created a business based on connections that allows my clients to get access to training with some of the most experienced and finest of Britain's Jewellery Professionals.
This means The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company can offer a wide range of skill based and business related bespoke courses and training to anyone working in the Jewellery Industry or Making Jewellery.
I do all I can to support and encourage best trade practice, whilst continuing also to encourage fellow creatives in their professional creative endeavors.
What I do best
Listening, planning, attention to detail and a passion for the jewellery industry and its longevity. Encouraging and supporting professional development is what makes my work the most rewarding.
I specialise in developing new courses and creating tailored courses to suit the individual needs of Jewellers and Jewellery Companies.
I'm a Jeweller too, I understand the needs of my clients and what is important for their professional development and success.
And I understand the needs of the tutors who work with me, so that I can enable and support them to take time out of Industry Business, to share their skills by teaching in their own studio's and collaborating with me to develop industry relevant inspiring courses.
Our Panel of Jewellery Industry Experts
These Expert Practitioners have been specially invited to become a member of our Jewellery Industry Expert Panel.
They have been selected because of their exceptional level of skill in their field and/or their support of professional development and best professional/creative practices in the Jewellery Industry.
Their experience adds an extra special layer of expertise that can be of support to you.
A highly respected contemporary Goldsmith and the current Director of The Association for Contemporary Jewellery.
Melanie is involved in various aspects of the jewellery trade including design, manufacture and professional development. She has been undertaking work for The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’ since 2007, currently working on their professional development programmes and events. Recently she was involved in Hothouse: A creative and professional development programme for emerging silversmiths and jewellers that The Goldsmiths' Institute delivered in collaboration with The Crafts Council.
Melanie has worked with a variety of clients such as Swarovski, Transitions Optical, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’.
Working for The British Council, in the autumn of 2010 she undertook a two-month applied arts creative residency in at Turquoise Mountain’s Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture in Kabul, Afghanistan, with whom she has maintained a relationship with. Consulting for them regularly since 2010 on jewellery sector initiatives, skills enhancement and professional development for emerging makers in South Asia, primarily in Afghanistan. As curator of a British Council exhibition she was involved in bringing contemporary jewellery and gemstones from Afghanistan to the UK, first to London and then to Edinburgh in Scotland.
Melanie is also an experienced tutor who is currently an Associate Lecturer on the MA Design programme at Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design.
In 2021 Melanie was an invited exhibitor of Sotheby’s first-ever selling exhibition, ‘Brilliant and Black: A Jewellery Renaissance,’ dedicated to black jewellery designers.
Available for Private Tuition, Lectures & Consultancy
Please provide as much information as possible
A Gemmologist with a wealth of trade knowledge and extensive teaching experience from FGA and DGA qualifications to tailored one-to-one tuition.
Originally a Graduate of Birmingham City University 's School of Jewellery BCU, Kate Hopley is an experienced Gemmologist with over 20 years trade and teaching experience.
Currently Kate is one of only two U.K. based Gem-A ATCs (Accredited Teaching Centre) for Gem-A, and has done so since 2000. and she is also one of their accredited correspondence learning tutors. Kate specialises in the training of students to FGA and DGA level, achieving a sound track record of student pass rates, with Gem-A world awards regularly being attained by Kate's students. Kates was also Gemmology tutor for 16 years and Course Director at Birmingham prestigious School of Jewellery BCU for 5 years during that time.
Independently Kate also offers courses and one-to-one based tuition to UK and international students who work in the Jewellery Industry or who are interested or enthusiastic about gemstones.
Kate's expertise led her to teach a bespoke course on Garnet identification for Birmingham Museum (BMAG), to assist with their conservation staff working on the Staffordshire Hoard Project.
An expert Master Polisher of 40+ years experience, working for many years at Asprey & Garrard the Crown Jewellers.
He has also advised the Tower of London Jewel House on the upkeep of their silver collections.
His client list includes Hamilton and Inches Crown Jewellers of Scotland, The Royal Mint, The Royal Society, and well-known society Jeweller Theo Fennell. Stephen has polished and restored many famous pieces including the Americas Cup; Davis Cup; Wimbledon Cup; and the Premier League Cup.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Goldsmiths (IPG) and their official ambassador and he teaches trade skills to a variety of Schools and Educationalists including Birmingham School of Jewellery BCU, The Crafts Council of Ireland and VanTol & Breet Academy in the Netherlands.
Stephen has also judged the polishing section for Goldsmiths' Craft and Design Council's Awards and the UK Jewellery Awards.
Who are our Panel of Experts?
Fine Metalwork Conservator. Professional Goldsmith, Metallurgist and Gemmologist.
M.A. | F.N.A.J | P.J. Dip | P.J.Gem.Dip.
William (Bill) Hawkes is a highly experienced Goldsmith and Gemmologist who has a Masters Degree in Jewellery & Metals Conservation, a subject area he is passionate about.
His conservation practice has encompassed an array of work on very wide and varied projects, ranging from Roman and Anglo-Saxon stone-set jewellery in both precious and copper alloy metals, to Napoleonic field carriage guns and a D-20 Howitzer from the first gulf war.
Bill regularly provides consultation services to various organisations in relation to researching historic objects and their metallurgy, providing reports for the purposes of preventative and remedial conservation. Bill is a member of the Institute of Conservation, and the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.
Following on from his Masters Degree in Conservation studies Bill is currently working on his PHD concerning the efficacy of the plant extracts and their optimisation on the surface of sterling silver and gilded historic objects.
Bill lectures on the History of Jewellery, the preservation of jewellery and the historic artefact, especially with emphasis on precious metals.
Available for Private Tuition, Lectures & Consultancy
Please provide as much information as possible
A CAD, technologies & production expert with over 30 years experience.
Frank's extensive experience gives him a huge understanding of jewellery manufacturing processes & and production for jewellery and Silversmithed items means of CAD (Computer Aided Design) and Rapid Prototyping / Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing). He also has specialist knowledge of Laser welding, Casting, and Sintering.
Currently Frank is the Technical Manager at Birmingham City University , School of Jewellery Technology Hub where his work involves advising of the use of technologies to aid business development, jewellery related research initiatives and Heritage projects. He is a keen advocate of 3D printing / Additive manufacturing for industry progress and is involved in Government initiates for education in this area.
In recent times his work on the Staffordshire Hoard project with Birmingham Museum (BMAG) involved the production of a replica Medieval Cross using additive manufacturing processes.
Samantha Chilton MA
Silversmith, Jeweller & Surface Finishing Technologies
A Silversmith, Jeweller and Surface Finishing & Technologies specialist with over 25 years' experience, making, teaching and assisting the jewellery industry with new product development. Samantha teaches Silversmithing at Birmingham City University School of Jewellery (BCU).
Originally an MA graduate of Birmingham School of Jewellery BCU, following her graduation in the 1980's Samantha was invited to remain at the School to teach, and demonstrate Jewellery & Silversmithing skills, also specialising in surface finishing and industry technologies.
Samantha was a technical consultant at Birmingham City University School of Jewellery’'s Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre (JIIC) for over 10 years where she worked mainly with external industry based clients on their new product development work. Samantha has also been involved in several EU initiative Jewellery related research projects.
Most recently Silversmith Samantha has been a major part of the the reproduction team working on the Staffordshire Hoard Helmet for Birmingham and Stoke Museums (See You Tube clip below) . In 2012 her work at BCU involved the reproduction and finishing of replica Jewellery and objects for the Cheapside Hoard exhibition collection held at The Museum of London and colouring and/or finishing processes of Noble metals such as titanium for jewellery and the specialised finishing of 3D printed pieces created by Direct Metal Laser Sintering.
Her technical expertise was recognised in the early days of her career by an TV appearance on the Discovery Channel to demonstrate and present tools and methods for metal patination/decoration.
Occasionally Samantha is invited to teach at Secondary Schools, whereby she introduces students to various aspect of basic jewellery making and decorative techniques using in metals which helps them to understand some of the concepts related to resistant materials.
In addition to teaching Silversmithing at the School of Jewellery BCU, Samantha has her own Jewellery business where she undertakes private commissions and she works as a consultant to industry in the areas of Jewellery and Related Products surface finishing and historical reproductions.
Available for Private Tuition and Consultancy
Please provide as much information as possible
Zoe is a graduate of the prestigious Jewellery course at Edinburgh College of Art, who has over 20 years trade experience as a designer and jeweller, her love and inquisitive interest of all things creative, drawing and the history of art form an intrinsic part of her design process.
Initially her commercial design experience began as a luxury bespoke jewellery designer for a well-known chain of retail jewellers. Zoe's retail experience also extends to Gallery Business encompassing Jewellery Business, Branding and Online Marketing.
Zoe was a designer at the prestigious Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre at Birmingham University (JIIC) for over 5 years, where she specialised in assisting UK and International jewellery industry companies develop their ideas into marketable commercial Jewellery designs.
In addition to running her own successful fine jewellery business where she provides design consultations and undertakes private commissions, Zoe currently specialises in coaching jewellery creatives on design, marketing, trend evaluation and drawing techniques.
Zoe is a very experienced tutor and has been a visiting lecturer at Birmingham's prestigious School of Jewellery Birmingham City University amongst others, where she has taught BA Modules and Short courses. Her expertise helped develop many of the of the courses available in The Bespoke Jewellery Training's Jewellery Design Course Series, particularly the Jewellery Design Diploma which she currently teaches.
Managing Director of The PMC Studio.
As Managing Director of The PMC Studio - a leading training provider for Precious Metal Clay in Europe, and a recognised centre for internationally recognised PMC certification programmes, Helen has actively promoted the possibilities and potential of Precious Metal Clay for more than 10 years. She regularly teaches courses, presents on-line demonstrations and lectures to Professional Designer Makers and Creatives. Her company The PMC Studio is the official UK and Eire distributor for Mitsubishi’s Precious Metal Clay.
Helen has a degree in European Business and was appointed by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to be on the British Hallmarking Council in 2012.
in 2014-2015 Helen was the Vice Chairman of The British Jewellers’ Association (BJA), she was part of the unification for the merging of the BJA & National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG). Helen was also heavily involved the development and delivery of the British Jewellers Association's 'Mentoring For Members' initiative.
The Be Brilliant campaign a few years ago was developed to emphasis the importance for creatives to develop their work.
Its all about attitude, about taking action and trying to be the best you can be.
Working to keep our jewellery trade strong
Check out our expert tutors, find out who is willing to share their industry expertise and skills with you to help you develop your skills and creativity.