Kevin Coates was born in Kingston, Surrey, but grew up in West Sussex. In 1966 his family travelled to Australia for two years where he studied with violin teacher Antonio de Palma. On return to the U.K. he took a Foundation course followed by a degree course at Central School of Art and an M.A in Jewellery Design at the Royal College of Art. His Ph.D from the Royal College of Art was published by Oxford University Press as 'Geometry, Proportion and the Art of Lutherie' in 1985.
Coates was awarded the first Marlow Award by the Society of Designer Craftsmen in 1972 followed by their Medal of Excellence in 1973. In 1976 he was awarded the Anstruther Award for goldsmithing by the Royal College of Art. In 1977 he was awarded the first Norman-Butler Award from the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. Coates's work appears in private and public collections worldwide including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museums of Scotland, the British Museum. the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Silver Trust for No. 10 Downing Street and the Goldsmiths' Company, London. He has had solo shows at the Goldsmiths' Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum. the Royal Museum of Scotland, the Museo Correr in Venice, Kennedy Galleries, New York, Mobilia Gallery and the Ruthin Craft Centre. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Art and a Liveryman of the Goldsmiths' Company.
2001 Supermodels, The Goldsmiths Hall, London; Slices of Silver, Partridge's, London
2006 Kevin Coates - The 'Mozart' Jewels, Mobili Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Arnoldsche, 2008 Kevin Coates A Hidden Alchemy, Goldsmithing: Jewels and Table-pieces
- Oxford University Press, 1985
- Time Regained, Wallace Collection, 2011