Jewellery Art & Design and Gemmology

Jewellery Art & Design

Established in 1988, VCC's jewellery art and design program has been instrumental in training a dynamic, creative and entrepreneurial community of successful studio artists. Be sure to view the events section below for upcoming sales and features.


Jewellery & Gemmology Jewellery ring Jewellery ring
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Jewellery & Gemmology Gemmology student
Jewellery student Jewellery student Gemmology student Gemmology student
Jewellery student Jewellery student Gemmology student


Jewellery News

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National Jewellery Student Competition

Congratulations to alumna Ho Ching Chan for winning the 14th annual National Jewellery Student Competition. Chan was among five talented finalists on display at the event hosted at the L.A. Pai Gallery in Ottawa, ON.


Gemmology News

Congratulations to VCC gemmology instructor, Donna Hawrelko on being elected and sworn into the position of President of the Canadian Gemmological Association. The Canadian Gemmological Association is a not-for-profit corporation established in 1958 that provides a Canadian source for gemmological education and acts as a medium for communication and co-operation among thosed involved in all aspects of gemmology. Donna is the first woman to hold this role. Congratulations Donna!



Passion for Jewellery

VCC's Jewellery male student cutting a piece of copper.
Two VCC's Jewellery female students looking over a work station.
Hands presenting a wire, a coin and a piece of metal.
A VCC's Jewellery female student working with a small hammer while a group of students in the background looking at a computer screen.
Two VCC's female Jewellery students working with a burner.
A trunk with assorted tools hanging around it.
A VCC's Jewellery female student holding a ring.
A skulls necklace.
A metal necklace with letters.


Passion for Gems

Gemmology, a Cut Above


Instructor Bios

Jewellery Instructor Bios

Karin Jones
Department head, jewellery art & design

Karin Jones was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, and received a diploma in Jewellery Art and Design from Vancouver, Community College in 1993. In 1995-96 she apprenticed under Master Goldsmiths Heinz and Hermann Laatzen in Hamburg, Germany. Since then she has worked as a goldsmith and designer at some of Vancouver's best jewellery stores, created and marketed a line of silver and enamel jewellery, and perfected her own method of Damascene inlay, an age-old technique for inlaying silver and gold on steel. Her work has been exhibited in Canada, the United States, Finland, Korea, and Japan. She completed her Master of Fine Arts in Craft (specialization in Jewellery) at Nova Scotia College of Art & Design University in April 2018.

Dominique Bréchault
Instructor, jewellery art & design

Dominique Bréchault is a goldsmith and educator based in Vancouver. Born and raised in France, she moved to Canada after completing her university studies. She holds a Masters Degree in Art History from the University of Poitiers, France, and is a graduate of both Emily Carr College of Art & Design, and the jewellery art & design program at VCC. She has maintained a studio as a goldsmith since 1992 and has participated in many exhibitions nationally and internationally. Her work has been featured in exhibition catalogues, articles and books on jewellery techniques and contemporary jewellery. In 2013, Dominique received the City of Vancouver Mayor’s Award for Craft & Design. She taught continuing education jewellery classes with the Vancouver School Board for twenty years, and is currently an instructor in the jewellery art & design department at VCC. 

Sarah Groves

Sarah Groves is a metalsmith/jeweller whose work is influenced by her experience as a printmaker and ecologist. After university she studied printmaking and completed a certificate in 2D design at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and earned a diploma in the Jewellery Art & Design program at VCC. She is the sole proprietor of a small business through which she designs, makes and sells jewellery and small sculptural objects. At VCC she teaches Jewellery Techniques I & II in Continuing Studies. Since 2009 she has been teaching JADE 2106: Business Management.

Donna Hawrelko

Donna Hawrelko (FCGmA, FGA) is a Gemmology Instructor (since 1992), & Program Coordinator (since 2005) at Vancouver Community College in British Columbia, and administers delivery of the Canadian Gemmological Association's (CGA) professional gemmology program.

She holds two Fellowships in gemmology – one from Canada (FCGmA) and the other from Great Britain (FGA)

She is Past President of the AGA (Accredited Gemologists Association) serving as their first female president and as the first president to reside outside of the USA. She is also president of the Vancouver Chapter of the GIA Alumni.

Donna has served as CGA's Director of Education since 2007. She also served as their Chief Examiner from 1997 to 2007.

Donna has chaired several Gemmological conferences for Vancouver Community College & the CGA. , and is again Conference Chairman for VCC’s & the CGA's upcoming 2015 Annual Conference.

Donna is deeply involved in building and supporting the International gemmological community in Canada, the USA & Great Britain.

Donna works tirelessly to support her students with their future undertakings, and many graduates have gone on to hold prominent positions in the Gem & Jewellery trade.

Liz Abbott
Program assistant, Jewellery art & design

A graduate of the Jewellery Art & Design program, Liz has been supporting the students and instructors of the Jewellery Art & Design program since 2006. She is passionate about the program and is inspired by working with the wonderful variety of students the program attracts.

Liz first became enamoured with metalsmithing while studying in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and went on to make her home base there for many years, travelling extensively to market her wares. During her career as a jewellery designer and maker, Liz has exhibited in galleries and also sold her work throughout Canada and the U.S.

Upon moving back to Vancouver, Canada in 1999, she focused on making custom commissions, including projects for film and television. At this time she was also able to pursue her dream of sharing her knowledge while facilitating others to achieve their creative aspirations in metal and design. 

Ying-Chiu Chan

Ying-Chiu Chan, aka 'Chan the Man', started his industrial design career in the 80's. As a design consultant, he has been involved in the development of many new products, exhibits and displays for his clients. He is also listed as the inventor in 10 patents.

Contributing to the design community, Chan instructs drawing classes in the VCC Jewellery Art & Design program, helping students visualize, output and develop ideas through sketches, and to present their designs as finished renderings. Chan taught in the school he graduated from, Hong Kong polytechnic University, as a visiting lecturer before immigrating to Vancouver. He began instructing industrial design-related courses at Emily Carr University in the late 90's.

Julie Anctil

Julie Anctil first discovered her passion for jewellery, while earning a BFA at Concordia University in Montreal, where she majored in Sculpture. She then went on to study at the École de Joaillerie de Montréal, before moving west to B.C. Since graduating from the VCC Jewellery Art & Design diploma program in 1997, Julie has worked as a goldsmith at several Vancouver jewellery workshops & developed her own custom jewellery business, Julie Anctil Design. She now focuses her energy towards private commissions, her industry clients and passing on technical knowledge to her students at VCC.

Instructor Bios

Gemmology Instructor Bios

Instructor 1



Jewellery info sessions

Circle Craft Christmas Market

Wednesday, Nov. 7 – Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018
Vancouver Convention Centre - West

Annual Christmas Sale

Tuesday, Dec, 11 to Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Atrium, Downtown campus

Annual Grad Show - opening night

Thursday, May 23, 2019
6 – 9 p.m.
Atrium, Downtown campus

Annual Grad Show Display

Thursday, May 23 – Thursday, June 13, 2019
Atrium, Downtown campus

Application deadline for September 2019: July 15, 2019 (deadline has been extended)

Portfolio review interviews: Portfolios will be reviewed on an individual basis until seats are filled



Gemmology Events


About Jewellery

Due to a shortage of trained jewellery makers in Canada in the 1980’s, many companies were importing foreign workers from Europe, India and Asia. In response to that, the Jewellery Workers Union in Vancouver requested that an apprenticeship type program be initiated by Vancouver Vocational Institute (VVI, now VCC). With the support of the Ministry of Labour, the Jeweller and Goldsmith Apprenticeship Program was created using rented space off campus. Students in this program were hired by jewellery manufactures and attended the VVI classes in the evening.

After moving out of the rental space to a small workshop at VVI’s Downtown campus, it was determined that the space and program would be useful to continuing education for the general public. The continuing education classes were so successful that the workshop was being used six days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. There was a lot of interest in this less traditional approach and the C E. classes had a following of students wanting more of this type of learning.

At this time there was also a shift in manufacturing and the large union shops were closing in favour of smaller studios. The approach to training through an apprenticeship did not have the same history here as it did in Europe and it was difficult to find companies willing to teach on the job in the traditional way. Maciek Walentowicz felt there was a need for a different type of program, one that offered a broader education for a wider range of students.

After acquiring a new workshop, preparing curriculum and being approved by the Ministry of Education, the first group of students started classes in the new jewellery art & design program in September 1988.


About Gemmology

need info here



Jewellery Testimonials

I really value my two years experience at VCC. The teachers and curriculum there for the jewellery department are amazing. We not only learn the technical skills of the trade, but we also learn the history and functions behind traditional and contemporary jewellery. Studying at VCC has definitely enriched my knowledge in becoming a professional jewellery designer and maker.

Ho Ching Chan ( Wendy ) , Graduate

It is always a challenge to learn new techniques and extremely satisfying when an idea becomes a reality. My creativity is fuelled by the endless possibilities available to me as a student. I have enjoyed discovering this throughout the past two years.

Carmen T , Graduate

VCC was the obvious choice for jewellery schools because they’re known for being technically sound.

Justine Brooks , Graduate, business owner, VCC Alumni Award Winner



Gemmology Testimonials

It is always a challenge to learn new techniques and extremely satisfying when an idea becomes a reality. My creativity is fuelled by the endless possibilities available to me as a student. I have enjoyed discovering this throughout the past two years.

Tester , Graduate