jonathan OllifeJonathan’s interest in art and design developed from an early age. After leaving school at the age of sixteen, he enrolled on an advanced art and design course at the Oxford and Cherwell Valley College. It was there where he found his passion for working with metal and its potential for being such a versatile material. He knew then that this was a material he wanted to continue to work with and after completing a three year course, he passed with distinction in 2004.

Later that year he applied to the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design where he was accepted onto the Jewellery and silversmithing degree course at the Birmingham School of Jewellery. After a three year course focusing on traditional jewellery and silversmithing techniques, from design methods through to manufacture, Jonathan gradually developed a unique style of manipulating sheet metal using methods of cutting, folding and soldering to form elegant and sleek contemporary silverware. He graduated in 2007 with a first class honours degree.

Continuing his studies at the Birmingham School of Jewellery, Jonathan undertook a Masters degree in Jewellery, Silversmithing and related products. This intense one year course enabled him to focus on large scale silversmithing techniques. He used this time to expand his skills within this specialised craft and to focus on the traditional methods of working with sheet metal. The traditional technique known in the craft as ‘hand raising’ enabled Jonathan to experiment and push the boundaries of metal. The concept of exploring new and innovative ways of working with sheet metal encouraged a sense of energy into his work and in turn introduced new manufacturing methods into what is normally a very traditional craft. With his contemporary twist on traditional silversmithing, Jonathan graduated in 2008 with a distinction.

After graduating with a Masters degree, in the same year he was awarded the prestigious Louisa Anne Ryland travel scholarship award, enabling him to travel to Australia and to be accepted as an artist in residence at the Sydney College of Art. This was a truly inspiring and rewarding trip for Jonathan, meeting and working with a number of renowned Australian artists and passing on his skills to post-graduate students at the university where he taught design and silversmithing techniques.

On his return and whilst exhibiting in shows and galleries in the UK and Europe, Jonathan entered a national design competition organised by The Royal Mint in collaboration with the London 2012 Olympic Games. The challenge to design fifty pence coins that captured an Olympic sporting moment capable to be produced and circulated on a mass scale appealed to him. The national design competition captured the imagination of the nation, with only 29 sporting designs to be chosen from over 30,000 entries. Jonathan became one of the lucky winners with two winning designs. His coin designs featured the two Olympic sports Aquatics and Gymnastics and it was from here that his career as an artist and designer really began.

Jonathan currently works from his studio in Oxfordshire, continuing to work for The Royal Mint designing limited edition gold and silver commemorative coins, including circulated coins that can be found in the publics pockets nationwide.


Academic Achievements

MA degree (with Distinction) Jewellery, Silversmithing and Related products – 2008

School of Jewellery, BCU Birmingham, UK.

BA first class honours degree in Jewellery & Silversmithing – 2007

School of Jewellery, UCE Birmingham, UK.

Advanced Vocational Certificate of Education – Art and Design, Distinction.  – 2004

Oxford and Cherwell Valley College, UK.



Sydney College of the Arts, Australia. 2008.



‘Fifty pence piece’ Royal Mint London 2012 Olympics National Design competition winner – 2010

The Louisa Anne Ryland award – Travel Scholarship – 2008

Birmingham Assay office award – ‘Bursary’ – 2007

South Square trust scholarship award – ‘Bursary’ – 2007

School of Jewellery BA (Hons) Attainment award – ‘Third prize’ – 2007

British Jewellers Association – ‘Regent Silversmith award’ – 2007

British Jewellers Association – ‘Design award’ – 2007

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths – ‘Precious Metal Bursary award’ – 2007

The Worshipful Company of Pewterers – ‘Pewter Live Highly Commended’ – 2006

A Certificate of Merit BA (Hons) in Jewellery and Silversmithing –  ‘First year Student’ – 2005

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths ‘Young Designer Silversmith Award’ – ‘Highly commended’ – 2005



Queen’s Coronation 60th Anniversary coin launch – The Tower of London – 2013

All Golds exhibition – Celebrating the School of Jewellery Alumni, Birmingham – 2011

The Royal Mint museum – ‘National coin collection’, Wales – 2010

‘Talente’ Exhibition, Munich, Germany – 2009

‘We are here’ Life Chords exhibition, Italy – 2008

‘Inorgenta’ Exhibition, Germany – 2008

‘Spring Fair’ Birmingham Assay Office – Birmingham NEC – 2008

‘Design City’ Exhibition, Interiors Birmingham, Birmingham NEC – 2008

‘New Designers Selection’ Exhibition, OXO Tower, London – 2007