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Discovering the National Collections: Jewellery from Antiquity to Present Day

Course Times & Enrolment

Thursdays from 25th January 2024 (Code AA174-203) Thursdays from
25th January 2024 11:00am - 1:00pm • (5 classes)
National Museum of Scotland • Tutor: Karen A Clulow BA MA FSA Scot
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

This course will use the collections of the National Museum of Scotland to introduce you to the extraordinarily diverse world of jewellery. From antiquity to present day we will explore our fascination with adornment to discover how trade, culture and craftsmanship pushed the boundaries of jewellery making around the world.

Please meet at the Information Desk in the entrance hall to the National Museum of Scotland.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge is required but an interest in jewellery is a must, and consulting at least one of the course texts is recommended.

Content of Course

This programme may be subject to change due to changes in display and/or items being on loan or in conservation. Students will be introduced to the cultural values and symbols concerning:

1. Ancient to Modern.

2. Archaeological finds.

3. Gold and its use in the ancient world.

4. Diamonds, their power and attraction.

5. Precious stones and their uses.

6. Silver work and the jeweller.

7. Glass to Acrylic in Beads.

8. Shells Bone and Feathers.

9. Paper Ceramic and Enamel.

10. Studio and Costume Jewellery.

Teaching method(s)

Will be predominately gallery based, using the collections of the National Museum of Scotland to inspire and illuminate the course.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Engage with and interpret the jewellery in the galleries and collections throughout NMS;

  • Gain background information on materials and techniques used in the making of jewellery throughout history;

  • Have a better understanding of the styles and cultural importance of jewellery across the world.


Core Readings


  • Phillips, Clare, 1996. Jewellery From Antiquity to the Present Day. London: Thames and Hudson.


  • Game, A., and Goring, E., 1998. Jewellery Moves. Edinburgh: NMS Publishing.

Web Sources

Class Handouts

At the beginning of the course you will be given a comprehensive reading list. Hand-outs that cover the periods, styles and techniques of jewellery making will be given throughout the course


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.