28th Annual Santa Fe Symposium Fosters Connection and Innovation in
“I walked away feeling empowered by the people here, being
encouraged and having a sense of connection,” says Hannah Leigh
Hannah, a designer at Pearkissee Designs, of her experience at this
year’s 28th annual Santa Fe Symposium?, which took place May 18 21
in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Hannah, who attended the Symposium for the first time this year,
hesitated before signing up. As a jewelry designer, she wasn’t sure
if she would benefit from a conference focused on manufacturing
innovation in the jewelry industry. As the Symposium drew to a
close, however, she knew she had made the right choice.
“Coming was the best decision I’ve ever made for my business,” she
says. “I think this kick-started something that won’t stop now. I’m
a designer, but now I have amazing resources in manufacturing and in
CAD. It took me to a level of professionalism that otherwise would
have taken a lot longer and a lot more work to attain.”
Each year the brightest, most innovative minds in jewelry
manufacturing and technology convene in Albuquerque, New Mexico for
the Santa Fe Symposium. Attendees and speakers come from around the
world for the event, which is known for bridging competitive divides
and fostering a sense of learning, invention and friendship across
Over the course of four days, this year’s speakers and attendees
were immersed in issues facing the industry, innovations that are
set to transform it, and the latest advances in jewelry technology.
Among them were representatives from large companies exploring the
ground-breaking frontier of 3D printing, designers looking to
develop contacts in manufacturing, and manufacturers seeking
technological advances that will help them work smarter and leaner.
Many credit it as the educational fuel that fires them for the rest
of the year and as the single best place to forge friendships and
partnerships with their peers.
“Many of the people I know best in the industry are people I met
here,” says Chris Ploof, of Chris Ploof Designs, who has attended
the Symposium seven times. “It is the absolute best place to come
and learn about making jewelry.”
Eddie Bell, the founder of the Symposium and director of technology
at Rio Grande agrees. “There is a reason I attend the Symposium year
after year without fail,” he says. “I learn more there in four days
than I do in the rest of the year.”
From best practices in platinum casting to using trends analysis to
align production with consumer demand, this year’s Symposium
presentations covered a broad range of topics that appealed to a
wide swath of jewelers and manufacturers.
This year, for the first time, the winners of the 2014 Saul Bell
Design Award, also sponsored by Rio Grande, attended the Symposium
as a part of their prize package. Bringing illustrious designers
together with technology and manufacturing experts enhanced the
educational and networking opportunities for everyone who attended.
Papers from the presentations given at the Symposium are available
to download at http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81f1 The 2015 Santa
Fe Symposium will be held May 17-20 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Information about speaker proposals, sponsorship opportunities and
scholarship applications will be available soon at