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Metal Jewellery Design Certificate

32-week full-time certificate
Where: Campbell River
Starts: September
  • Gain the technical skills and industry knowledge needed to conceptualize and create metal jewellery for artistic expression or as a source of income.
  • Apply professional techniques in metal jewellery making through extensive hands-on studio practice.
  • Gain business skills to effectively present and promote your designs.
  • Interested in taking short courses in jewellery and metal art? Check out NIC's metal jewellery studio workshops.
Career possibilities: Upon graduation, you may pursue employment within the jewellery industry or set up and operate your own business and studio-workshop.


Why Choose North Island College?

  • Learn from the best. At NIC, you'll learn from qualified instructors who not only are accomplished in the art of jewellery making, but who are also experienced in designing and marketing their jewellery at festivals, fairs, art galleries and their own studios.
  • Design your new career. In addition to developing expertise in the art of jewellery design, you'll gain essential business skills and industry knowledge to promote and sell your own designs with confidence.
  • Develop your style. You'll learn in a well-equipped studio classroom with the personal encouragement and professional guidance you need to inspire your creative expression and develop your personal style.

Program Highlights

This unique certificate provides you with the technical skills and industry knowledge needed to conceptualize and create jewellery for artistic expression or as a source of income. It is well-suited to anyone who is interested in beginning or advancing their skills in jewellery making and design - be it for personal enrichment or career interest. No previous experience is required; however, some studio work or hobby experience is advantageous.
During the program, you will explore a wide range of topics and apply professional techiques in jewellery making through extensive hands-on studio practice as well as demonstrations and lectures from skilled jewellery makers. The program focuses on metal techniques, including student work in base and precious metals. Courses emphasize individual creativity, giving you the opportunity to apply your learning to create your own designs.
In the first semester, you will begin with an overview of the jewellery design process, from how to break down a design to rendering sketches. You will learn basic metal skills and techniques, such as soldering and bezel setting, and you will explore a range of both high- and low-tech metal casting techniques. Topics also cover traditional hand engraving as well as traditional and modern themes in NorthWest Coast Aboriginal jewellery art.
In the second semester, you will further advance your skills with metal and casting techniques such as repoussage, intermediate stone setting, and more advanced mold-making techniques. Gemology is introduced with topics in gem identification and classification. Business practices specific to jewellery artists are covered in the final semester, giving you a varied foundation of skills for self-employment and industry-specific marketing techniques to launch your career.

Career Opportunities

Upon completion, you will have both the technical skills to produce your own metal jewellery and the business skills to present and promote these designs. Depending on your background and interests, you may seek employment opportunities in the retail jewellery industry or pursue self-employment by marketing your jewellery at festivals, fairs, art galleries or your own studio.


The program will be held over two semesters, from September to April, totalling 32 weeks. Classes are scheduled to take place at Campbell River campus from Monday to Thursday, 9 am to 3 pm (22 hours per week).

Supply List

You are responsible for providing basic supplies and equipment ($1,000 approximately), which may change slightly according to instructor requirements (to be confirmed in first classes).
To see the range of supplies required for this year, please check the Metal Jewellery Design Supply List.
We encourage you to first search out what is at hand before making purchases. The supplies listed are the basics required for the program and by no means limit what you may purchase for your designs.
Budgeted amounts are minimums required for projects. Ifyour work goes beyond project requirements, more supplies will be necessary.

Admission Requirements

  1. Minimum age requirement of 19 years on the first day of class.
  2. C in English 10, or NIC ENG-035, or an English Assessment.

Upgrade with us to meet prerequisites

Upgrade your English, math and science courses for entry into the program of your choice. Succeed with the help of NIC’s supportive instructors. Courses are flexible and start several times a year so you can learn at your own pace. We offer daytime and evening options. Learn more

International Language Requirements

For international language requirements click here.

To Be Successful

  • Some experience in design or crafts, or completion of NIC's Silver Jewellery Making - Beginner's course or Silver Jewellery Express workshop is recommended, but not required.
  • Good hand-eye coordination and physical dexterity is recommended.
  • International students must meet NIC international admission requirements.

Program Requirements

Completion Requirements

You must have successfully completed all of the required courses to receive the Metal Jewellery Design certificate.

Tuition & Costs Estimate for
Fall 2016, Winter, Spring & Summer 2017

Costs indicated are estimates for a 100% course load per year, unless otherwise noted. Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies or field trips not included in these estimates.

While we do our best to share accurate and timely fee information, changes may occur. For more information, visit tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Year 1
Tuition $5,415
NISU Fees $120
Learner Resource $135
Health and Dental $275
Total $5,945

International Fees

Year 1
Tuition $7,650
NISU Fees $120
Learner Resource $135
Health and Dental $275
Total $8,180
Additional Costs for International Students include the $100 Application fee and the $280 Accommodation Placement fee (optional).
Learn from the industry’s best
Our students thrive from exposure to a diverse group of talented instructors, leaders, and designers who are respected for their knowledge, artistry, design skills, and teaching ability. Our instructors are passionate artists, experienced in marketing their jewellery online and across Canada. Here's a sample of some our regular team:
Tracey Gibbons
Metal Jewellery Design Certificate, Instructor/ Studio Workshop Instructor

Tracey Gibbons

Tracey’s lifelong interest in jewellery making began with lapidary classes she enrolled in when she was eight years old. This experience fueled a passion that would propel her future career. She is a highly skilled jewellery designer.  After participating in a watch and jewellery repair apprenticeship with a local jeweller, she was inspired to pursue a diploma in jewellery art and design at Vancouver Community College. She continued her studies with gemologist certification at the Canadian Institute of Gemmology. She later challenged the exams for advanced diamond grading and advanced gem identification through the Gemological Institute of America. When she is not teaching at NIC, Tracey runs a home- based jewellery gallery and appraisal business. She has sold her limited edition pieces at many high-end craft shows such as Uniquely BC, Out of Hand and Filberg Festival. 
Leanne Helin
Metal Jewellery Design Certificate Instructor
Leanne is one of the foremost native women jewellery artists of the Northwest coast. She trained and apprenticed under her brother, world-renowned artist and carver, Bill Helin, learning engraving techniques in Tsimshian Native designs. She also earned a jewellery repair certificate from the Gemological Institute of America. Since 1991, she has worked independently designing, producing, and promoting her own line of jewellery out of her Vancouver Island studio. For many indigenous groups, beautiful, well-crafted jewellery is an important symbol celebrating life's rites of passage; a precious, and lasting possession that can be handed down to future generations. Leanne is a First Nations native of the Tsimshian Tribe of Lax Kw'alaams, North Coast BC, Canada. She is the daughter of the late Arthur Helin, a Chief of the Gitgeese tribal nation by the name of Hy'emass, and Carole Helin, of Norwegian ancestry. Grandfather Henry W. Helin, Chief of the Gitlan tribe, and Grandmother Maud M. Helin, Chieftainess of the Gitgeese tribe, raised a family of seven in the remote Northwest coast Indian village of Port Simpson (Lax Kw`alaams), BC. Leanne creates original jewellery depicting the legends and crest of her Tsimshian Native heritage. The legends that are incorporated into her designs promote respect for the environment and her proud heritage. Her creativity, character and work ethic come across in her artwork and her teaching. 
Jan Hellerud
Metal Jewellery Design Certificate Instructor/ Studio Workshop Instructor

Jan Hellerud

Jan has worked as an independent jewellery maker since 1992, participating in a variety of art shows and craft fairs, including the Island’s Filberg Festival. Her interest in jewellery design was sparked years ago when she found shards of Japanese and Chinese pottery near her Cumberland home. These became the basis for her first jewellery creations. Inspired by this experience, Jan enrolled at the Alberta College of Art and Design for a semester. She continued her studies at Vancouver Community College where, in 1992, she completed an honours diploma in jewellery art & design. In 2004, she went on to complete a bachelor of arts degree. Before assisting with the development of NIC’s metal jewellery design program, she taught beginner’s silversmithing through NIC’s continuing education department. 
Joan Irvin 
Metal Jewellery Design Certificate Instructor/ Studio Workshop Instructor

Joan Irvin

Joan Irvin is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, curator, and educator. She has mentored countless students, facilitating workshops across western Canada and has exhibited her jewellery and small-scale mixed media works nationally across North America, Europe, & Asia. In addition to teaching at NIC, she has worked for over a decade as a sessional instructor in the jewellery and metals program at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Joan obtained a BFA in Visual Arts from the University of Calgary, then completed the Banff Centre’s Advanced Studio Program in Ceramics. After working as a ceramic technician, performing with a Flamenco Dance Company, and supervising Calgary’s Wildflower Arts Centre for over a decade, she registered in the Alberta College of Art and Design’s Jewellery and Metals program, winning numerous awards and graduating with distinction. She continued to develop her metalworking skills at the Penland School of Crafts. Her dedication to teaching is reflected in her multiple nominations for the NICHE Arts Educator of the Year Award. In 2009, Joan was awarded the Alberta Craft Council’s Award of Honour, for her “significant contribution to Alberta’s Fine Craft Culture.”
Cheryl Jacobs
Metal Jewellery Design Certificate Instructor/ Studio Workshop Instructor

Cheryl Jacobs

The opportunity to work with stones and fossils inspired Cheryl to become a jeweller almost twenty years ago. She began her jewellery apprenticeship in San Francisco, California in the early 1980’s, attending classes in casting, granulation and stone setting at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, and supplementing her studies at San Francisco State University. In 1987 she started her own business, creating a line of jewellery and teaching from her Denman Island studio.  Teaching is a focal point in her career, and she has been a part of NIC’s Metal Jewellery Design program since its inception in 2012. Cheryl has taught at community centres across Vancouver Island. Her work is featured in galleries across Canada and in the United States, including Hawaii, California, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island. She finds the creative process invigorating, saying that the most exciting part of making jewellery is that there is no right or wrong way to create a piece of wearable art, as long as the aesthetics are in place and the design process is working.
Peggy Logan
Metal Jewellery Studio Workshop Instructor
Peggy is an award winning artist whose work has been displayed internationally as part of group exhibits in Japan, California, Toronto, and Vancouver. In 2015 she has two solo shows; one at the Jericho Arts Centre in Vancouver, and one at the Ariodante Contemporary Craft Gallery, New Orleans.  She teaches a diverse range of courses in jewellery making, enameling, and lost wax casting.  She has taught at Danforth Tech and Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, as well as continuing education courses at the Toronto Board of Education and the Vancouver School Board. In addition to teaching at North Island College, she is an instructor in Langara College’s Continuing Studies Department. She is a graduate of the George Brown College jewellery arts program, where she majored as a goldsmith and specialized in enameling.  She has also studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and Langara College. Currently, she is pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts part-time at Emily Carr University, majoring in visual arts. She owns and operates Electric Tiara, and has had her work juried and sold at Granville Island Public Market, Lonsdale Quay Market, Lander Village Market and Yale town Market.
Clive Powsey
Metal Jewellery Design Certificate Instructor

Clive Powsey

Clive Powsey’s distinct watercolour paintings have won awards and been exhibited internationally. He studied drawing, painting and printmaking at The Ontario College of Art, spending the fourth and final year in an off-campus program in Florence, Italy. Prior to teaching at NIC, he taught drawing and painting courses at the Ontario College of Art, and Max the Mutt Animation School. He worked in animated film and television for two decades, with screen credits as an art director and background artist and stylist for a range of companies, including Nelvana and Disney. Closer to home, Clive took part in Team Generous in September 2014, volunteering with nine other animation industry artists to create a two-minute short movie to promote Habitat for Humanity in Campbell River. In April 2015, his solo printmaking exhibit, Transmitted Drawings, was on display at the McMillan Gallery in Parksville, BC. Clive's hand-pulled prints are built on a foundation of hard-earned drawing skills. Often figurative, they might describe humans with the qualities of organisms, in particular the tension between fecundity and mortality. 
Kurt Tunkl
Metal Jewellery Design Certificate Instructor

Kurt Tunki
Careers begin in a variety of ways. When the grant money for a biologist position at the Quinsam River Salmon Hatchery in Campbell River ran out, Kurt Tunkl volunteered as Gallery Gift Shop Manager at the Central Island Arts Alliance in Courtenay [now CVAG]. The board allowed him to set up a small studio in the gift shop where he took the opportunity to begin studies in silver and goldsmithing. This tenure ran from 1978 to 1981, and launched his career as an artist. In 1982, after two semesters as a metalsmith student at the Alberta College of Art and Design, he was offered a position as an educational technician. Over 29 years of teaching, he has travelled to the California College of Art and Design over several summers to study refractory metals. During the 1980’s his focus shifted to fashion jewellery, combining silver with niobium and titanium.  In the early 1990’s his work shifted again as he began producing large one-of-a-kind sculptures in vacuum-formed plastics and anodized refractory metals. Kurt is trained in all aspects of jewellery production technology including laser welding and 3-D prototyping techniques. He continues to produce jewellery and sculpture size pieces, maintaining his focus on refractory metals. In addition to teaching in NIC’s Metal Jewellery Design Certificate, he helps maintain the studio and its equipment.

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