Metal Jewellery Design Certificate

Gain the technical skills and industry knowledge to design, create and promote beautiful metal jewellery. Hone your artistry in NIC’s studios, then make your designs a reality as you pursue employment in the retail industry or independently selling your work at festivals, galleries or from your own studio.
Where: Campbell River
Starts: September
Length: 1 year
Tuition: $5,631 approx
 Apply Now

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I not only gained skills which have prepared me to keep going in my own direction should I so choose, I can also be part of a widespread and interesting community of jewellery artisans and craftspeople.

Toby Krell, NIC Metal Jewellery Design graduate

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Program Requirements

  • MJD-110  Fundamentals of Design I
  • MJD-111  Northwest Coast First Nations Art & Engraving I
  • MJD-112  Metal Techniques I
  • MJD-113  Metal Casting I
  • MJD-114  Drawing and Rendering
  • MJD-115  Final Project I
  • MJD-116  Business Practices for Jewellery Artists I
  • MJD-120  Fundamentals of Design II
  • MJD-121  Northwest Coast First Nations Art & Engraving II
  • MJD-122  Metal Techniques II
  • MJD-123  Metal Casting II
  • MJD-124  Gemmology
  • MJD-125  Final Project II
  • MJD-126  Business Practices for Jewellery Artists II

Completion Requirements

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

Admission Requirements

  1. Minimum age requirement of 18 years on the first day of class.
  2. C in one of English 10, Composition 10, Creative Writing 10, Literary Studies 10, New Media 10, Spoken Language 10, English First Peoples Writing 10, English First Peoples Literary Studies 10, English First Peoples New Media 10, English First Peoples Spoken Language 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.

International students must meet NIC international admission requirements.

To Be Successful

A successful candidate will have:

  • Some experience in design or crafts, or completion of NIC's Silver Jewellery Making - Beginner's course or Silver Jewellery Express I workshop.
  • Good hand-eye coordination and physical dexterity.

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 metalworking 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 basic hand engraving as well as traditional and modern themes in NorthWest Coast First Nations jewellery art.

In the second semester, you will further advance your skills with metal techniques such as repoussage, and intermediate stone setting, and gain more expertise in a variety of casting techniques. Gemmology is introduced with topics in gem identification and classification. Business practices specific to jewellery artists are covered in both semesters, 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 purchasing supplies and equipment as per the supply list provided ($1,300 approximately), ensuring you have ordered in time to have everything for your first day of class.
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. If your work goes beyond project requirements, more supplies will be necessary.

Tuition & Costs Estimate

Costs indicated are estimates for a 100% course load per year, unless otherwise noted. Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies, NIC appointed uniforms, 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 our tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Year 1
Tuition $5,631
NISU Fees $125
Lab Fees $200
Learner Resource $140
Total $6,096

International Fees

Year 1
Tuition $7,956
NISU Fees $125
Lab Fees $200
Learner Resource $140
Total $8,421
Additional Costs for International Students include the $100 Application fee (required) and the $250 Accommodation Application 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. 
Karen Griffiths
Metal Jewellery Studio Workshop Instructor

Karen Griffiths

Karen is a recently retired family business accountant that has been inspired by numerous community college continuing education courses over the years.  Experimenting with everything from stained glass, card making and floral arrangement to  soap and candle making, Karen has found her niche in jewellery making.  It is the one medium that constantly evolves, sparking interest and ingenuity.  Her creativity combines wire working and silversmithing to create simple, yet elegant sterling silver pieces that are successfully marketed at craft fairs and home parties.  With over 25 years of jewellery design experience, Karen would love to share her talent with you.
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 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.
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. He has had three exhibitions of printmaking in 2015 and 2016 in Parksville, Victoria and Courtenay BC.
Ernie Smith
Metal Jewellery Design Certificate Instructor or 

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith was born in 1966 to the late Francis Smith of Ehattesaht (Nuu-chah-nulth) and Virginia Smith of We Wai Kai (Kwakwaka’wakw). Ernie was given a traditional name from both sides of the family: he carries the name Mowisaht as well as Gwa-gwa- da-kan. His first mentor was Dorie Brochie (his mother’s cousin), who taught him how to carve. Next, he met late Russell Kwakseestahla who taught Ernie how to carve and make knives. Ernie also had the opportunity to observe and become influenced by the work of late Art Nicolaye and Ernie’s relatives Ron Hamilton and Tim Paul. In 2015 he studied Metal Jewellery Design at North Island College and earned himself a place on the Dean’s List. The program provided him the opportunity to learn from Leanne Helin (Tsimshian). Today, he has come full circle and is delighted to be teaching in the program he graduated from. Ernie is a full time jewellery artist who designs unique pieces creating rings, bracelets, pendants and earrings often fusing silver and gold with stones in unusual settings. All of his designs are engraved with Original Native Artwork. You can find Ernie at his family’s gallery in Campbell River. Ernie has a studio within the shop where he designs jewelry and accepts custom orders.
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.