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Aspiring Jeweler here, what sort of classes should I take??

Alybird

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
18
Hello everyone,

I am jewelry lover and collector but have been wanting to design and make my own jewelry for quite a while now. I have a background in art & design and I love the idea of having the freedom to select my own stones and create a design around them every step of the way, especially since I enjoy the more "handcrafted" aesthetic of jewelry design.

But I am totally lost in what sort of classes I should begin taking. Should I be focused on a sculpture/metalsmithing route so that I can learn all about carving and casting or the traditional route of soldering/lapidary/etc. I am a total beginner so please excuse my lack of familiarity with the industry and all of the aspects of jewelry design – I ask because I am not afraid of intensive training but I do want to make sure that my time will be well spent on a path that opens up a lot of possibility.

I've seen some of the things that my sculpture colleagues make and they seem very well versed in various techniques but how well do these transfer to the commercial aspect of jewelry design?

Thank you for your input.
 

Big Fat Facets

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 7, 2019
Messages
1,269
i think it is a wonderful endeavor!!

im very interested in jewelry courses, also. the artistic and design aspect as well as the manufacturing of a piece is of great interest to me

i think a well rounded approach is your best bet. a good foundations program, to familiarize yourself within the world of applied jewelry arts and technique

not knowing where you, primarily, reside, look up institutes and workshop ateliers where a curriculum is in place.

as an example, in los angeles, where i reside, there is a "school" that offers applied jewelry arts in metal smithing, design, wax carving, soft wax, stone setting, finishing, etc

it doesn't seem very comprehensive, at all. but this is what is available to me, in my area

there's also the idea of apprenticing with a bench

gia offers a very comprehensive curriculum but i believe not so much in applied jewelry manufacturing ...

hope that helps
 

Alybird

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
18
i think it is a wonderful endeavor!!

im very interested in jewelry courses, also. the artistic and design aspect as well as the manufacturing of a piece is of great interest to me

i think a well rounded approach is your best bet. a good foundations program, to familiarize yourself within the world of applied jewelry arts and technique

not knowing where you, primarily, reside, look up institutes and workshop ateliers where a curriculum is in place.

as an example, in los angeles, where i reside, there is a "school" that offers applied jewelry arts in metal smithing, design, wax carving, soft wax, stone setting, finishing, etc

it doesn't seem very comprehensive, at all. but this is what is available to me, in my area

there's also the idea of apprenticing with a bench

gia offers a very comprehensive curriculum but i believe not so much in applied jewelry manufacturing ...

hope that helps
ahh yes, this helps!

Until now, I hadn't heard of the term "applied jewelry arts".This makes sense and gives me something to research as I am trying to narrow my focus a bit.

I am also located in SoCal in OC!! =)) Everything you brought up about the course offerings at your local school sounds interesting and pretty much parallels what I am looking for. I haven't found any schools or programs in my area that offer this catch-all approach yet so I am thinking of emailing instructors to inquire about their curriculum.

I thought about taking some classes at the GIA but I agree; Their curriculum is comprehensive and they are an impressive presence in the industry but it's overkill for where I am at right now. The CAD/CAM course that they offer sounds very interesting though.

I hope you also decide to pursue your journey in jewelry design!
 

Big Fat Facets

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 7, 2019
Messages
1,269
ah, i see! well since you are in the general area, let me give you the name of the school!

it's precious metal arts in santa monica

they have two official websites:

pmajewelry.com

preciousmetalarts.com

it can be a bit of a trek, from orange county but maybe once or twice a week is manageable ...
 

stracci2000

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
4,436
I have a very similar story to yours.
I have been a jewelry fanatic since I was a small child. But I have always been interested in art, too.
After high school, I attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, so I have an art degree, too. Art and jewelry design are interchangeable.

So fast forward to my mid-thirties, I found myself in a city with a thriving art scene. I befriended a jewelry maker who taught me silversmithing.
It was probably one of the best things I have ever done.

After that, I went off on my own, and learned a lot more by reading, watching Youtube videos, and asking other jewelry makers lots of questions.
I have been making my own silver jewelry for 17 years now, and I love it.
I highly recommend sitting down with a bench jeweler, like I did, to get a crash course in soldering and basic jewelry making. You wont regret it!
 

Alybird

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
18
ah, i see! well since you are in the general area, let me give you the name of the school!

it's precious metal arts in santa monica

they have two official websites:

pmajewelry.com

preciousmetalarts.com

it can be a bit of a trek, from orange county but maybe once or twice a week is manageable ...
Thank you so much!!
 

Alybird

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
18
I have a very similar story to yours.
I have been a jewelry fanatic since I was a small child. But I have always been interested in art, too.
After high school, I attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, so I have an art degree, too. Art and jewelry design are interchangeable.

So fast forward to my mid-thirties, I found myself in a city with a thriving art scene. I befriended a jewelry maker who taught me silversmithing.
It was probably one of the best things I have ever done.

After that, I went off on my own, and learned a lot more by reading, watching Youtube videos, and asking other jewelry makers lots of questions.
I have been making my own silver jewelry for 17 years now, and I love it.
I highly recommend sitting down with a bench jeweler, like I did, to get a crash course in soldering and basic jewelry making. You wont regret it!
This is so inspiring. I'm looking forward to discovering this new world of jewelry making!
 

stracci2000

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
4,436
This is so inspiring. I'm looking forward to discovering this new world of jewelry making!
Lots of people take classes, but never get serious about it.
I knew, as soon as I got involved in our local art scene and started talking to jewelry artists, that it was my calling....so to speak!
I don't do it for a living, but as a hobby. That keeps the pressure off.
I will go to gem/mineral shows and buy loose stones, and the creative process begins.
With basic soldering skills and the right tools, you can create almost anything.
Good luck!
 
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