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Sheffield Assay Office Master Presents Awards to SHU Students

Published: 16th July 2021

Our Assay Master, Ashley Carson was delighted to presents awards to Sheffield Hallam University's BA Jewellery, Materials and Design students in recognition of their brilliant final year degree show work.

This year, as ever, was a little different as the judging had to be conducted online. The Assay Master was delighted to award two prizes to Xiu Jiabao and Emily Duckering for their beautiful work. Each receiving a cash prize of £150.00.

Xiu’s Treasure box and ring were very quirky in design, different from the others items presented on the online show. The box and ring were well executed, and the design fun and playful. The challenge of removing the ring from the maze within the box was a novel idea.

Speaking of the awards, Xiu said ‘I am very happy to receive this prize, thank you’.

Emily’s work displayed a good range of jewellery and silversmithing techniques, including stone setting and chain making. The design concept was eye catching and she had carefully thought through creating a collection of jewellery each with individual interactive elements.  The kinetic sliding brooch and the earrings were favourites from the range.

Below are images of their work and a little information about their inspiration. 

Ashley Carson said ‘On behalf of the Sheffield Assay Office it is always a pleasure to support the BA Jewellery, Materials and Design programme, many congratulations to Xiu  Jiabao and Emily Duckering  and may I wish them all the very best for their future careers’.

Xiu Jiabao
Greetings from the Depths of Memory

As a person grows in knowledge and age, childlike innocence will gradually disappear. Xiu Jiabao is interested in the study of children and the forgotten, childlike heart that is hidden in the depths of memory.

Children do not have the concept of symbols that are brought by the consumer society. Through comparison with adult society, value is driven by symbols. Decisions are made on the purchase of luxury goods by the symbolic meaning of luxury goods.

Jewellery has always been associated with value. The project attempts to recalibrate the value of contemporary jewellery through personal experience, and cultural and social participation and applies these studies to practice.


Treasure Box
Box, labyrinth and ring made from copper, gold, silver and pearl

Emily Duckering
Nurtured by Nature

Emily Duckering‘s collection of kinetic jewellery, Nurtured by Nature has been inspired by plants and nature, as a reaction to the stresses associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. The importance of the natural world has become clear during the lockdown periods as people turned to nature through gardens, house plants, or wild spaces that were around them. This seemed to aid in maintaining mental health throughout this stressful time and many people rediscovered the natural world to reduce stress levels and escape from the realities of the situation.

Duckering has explored this by abstracting the theme of nature and creating kinetic aspects within her collection. The use of kinetic elements combined with plant structures within the jewellery draws on these two calming and stress-relieving components, with the overall aim of reducing the wearers stress levels and raising their mood with nature-inspired aesthetics and kinetics.

Kinetic Earrings
925 Sterling silver, 2021

Kinetic Tube Bracelet
925 Sterling silver and cabochon emerald, 2021

The Sheffield Assay Office was established in 1773, under an Act of Parliament and today the company assays and hallmarks the precious metals - silver, gold, platinum and palladium. Sheffield Assay Office is one of only four UK assay offices who all work to uphold the Hallmarking Act of 1973 and continue to ensure consumer protection for customers purchasing precious metals.

To find out more about the whole range of services offered by Sheffield Assay Office, such as our hallmarking and analytical services, please email us at or complete the contact form on our website at,

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