Jewellery students take the Amber design challenge

If you’ve read the brilliant Amber by Julie Sykes (and if you haven’t, you really should), you’ll know that it features a piece of amber jewellery (hence the name – clever, see?) that our heroine has.


The necklace forms a pivotal part of the story, and we challenged jewellery students at Basingstoke College of Technology to design and make a piece of jewellery inspired by AMBER’s necklace and the sci-fi setting of the story.

Students spent the autumn term designing and making their pieces. In the run-up to Christmas, AMBER author Julie Sykes popped along to one of the classes to choose her favourite piece and award a winner their prize: a voucher for jewellery-making tools and a signed copy of the book.

The standard was remarkably high. Here are the top three entries:

Top three pieces of jewellery

But there had to be one winner – the winning piece was designed by Amanda Westbrook. Here she is (on the left), holding the winning piece and collecting her prize from Julie.

(l-r) Amanda Westbrook and Julie Sykes

After judging, Julie said “It’s such a great to idea to mix the worlds of fashion, jewellery and books, they’re all areas young people are passionate about.

“The standard of jewellery was really high and everyone was so nice. It was hard to pick a winner when it was obvious that all three ladies had put so much effort into their pieces.

“However, I did have a favourite. I picked it for two reasons. The shape was very close to the lightening shaped bolt of gold through Amber’s necklace. Also, it was a delicate necklace and Amber loves delicate jewellery.”

WELL DONE Amanda, and everybody who entered the competition.