Grants / Scholarships

Hello all you knowledgeable jewelers out there…I have a
question that probably pertains to a lot of other younger or
starting out jewelers:

I am a self taught jeweler (and even beginning to make a living
at it!) and I would like to go back to school to finish my
undergraduate degree. I was recently accepted into the
Jewelry/Metal Arts dept at the California College of Arts and
Crafts in my hometown of Oakland CA. Unfortunately I have
defaulted student loans from 6 years ago so my being poor won’t
be an advantage.

That leaves me with applying for Scholarship/Grants from

private organizations. Has anyone run across any groups like
this? I found one, Women’s Jewelry Association, in New Jersey,
but I’m sure there are more. I’ve done a lot of searches but I’m
having a hard time finding ones specifically for jewelry. How
does one tap into that ‘billion’ dollars of unclaimed scholarship

Any leads would be GREATLY appreciated!


Amy O’Connell
Amy O’Connell Jewelry

Get the book “The Complete Guide to Getting a Grant” by Laurie
Blum, and “Supporting Yourself as an Artist,” by I forgot, a
former NEA head.

Go to Donor’s Forum ( in your city and do
research. Get lots and lots of back issues of all the trade
magazines – AJM, JCK, etc., and look for scholarship
announcements. Write to all the associations asking if they
have a scholarship.

Many of the jewelry associations do have scholarships. Also
write to GIA (though most of theirs are for taking their
classes). Investigate through your new school, too. Most
schools have a scholarship office independent of the financial
aid office.

Look at your family. Any veterans? Any corporate employees?
Any ethnic background? Look these up in the scholarship books
at the library.

Do a web search – there are many web sites that do a free

How old are you? Contact Business and Professional Women USA,
HQ in DC. or find your local organization. They have a
scholarship for “returning” women over 24 who are returning to
complete their education. They mostly fund science, business,
etc., but you might qualify.

It’s a big organizational project just to get the info., and
then you still have to apply! Good luck.


Amy, have you checked into Pell Grants? They are federally
funded; check with the student aid office at your school. Good
luck. If you have no luck there, what about a federally
sponsored, low-cost student loan–could you consolidate the
defaulted loans into one big one? Also, get on the “net” and
scope out student loans–may take some time, but bet you can
come up with something there. Would suggest you check about the
Pell first, however–they are specifically aimed at low-income
(poor?) students? And you HAVE had 6 years to grow up and get
responsible, haven’t you? Go for it, gal! Sharon Holt