I felt that I should comment of the issue of Certification
programs, as I have learned the trade from private classes,
working as a bench jeweler and now, I am a student at a fine art
college majoring in Metals and Jewelry.
I definately agree that there is no way to learn the secrets of
the bench in a institution. Though my school does offer an
excellent program, the skills that they teach are so diverse,
that it leaves the normal graduate knowing how to make niello and
anodize aluminum, yet not feel very comfortable with soldering.
Only the fast pace of the bench can bring you to feel completely
confident in your basic skills.
Another advantage of working in the trade, is learning how to
manage your time. Though it is lovely in school to spend 2 weeks
making a pair of silver earrings....the ability to design with
realistic time in mind demands a much more fast paced
However, such an institution has the advantage of a wealth of
equiptment that a more specialized workshp would not, and
therefore, you do not end up limiting your designs by the
equiptment that is available.
Basically I am saying that to truely master the art, it is
necessary to gain skills from several sources..neither a
certification program, nor an apprenticeship can give you the
very well rounded knowledge that one should have before they
specialize in one area....
Thats what I think anyway