In response to j. Peterson.
My name is Marc Williams. I hvae been a bench jewelr/ designer for alittle
over 8 years now. I will be the first and probably not the only to tell you
that the very best way to learn is to just go and do it. Trial and error is
the absolute best way, as far as I am concerned: here is my reasoning: Anyone
can show anyonelse what and how to do something… For example… Pave’
setting. I ahve my own style… John Doe has his own style… We can both show
you how to do it but until you actually sit down and sharpen your gravers and
start pushing beads, you won’t know what it is like to do it… As far as i
personally am concerned there are two kinds of jewelers… based on what i have
seen and read about and based on the other jewelers I have encountered. the
first type of jeweler is what i like to call a an educated only type of
jeweler… that is to say he/she memorized what the book says to do. the books
aren’t always the best way and the cleanest way. and the books don’t teach you
everything…this type of jeweler ( bench jeweler that is) may like to think
they know it all but can they do it once they are asked… you would be
suprised at the amount of jewelers i have come across who fall under this
catagory. then there are the jewelers like myself who are very picky about the
way something looks when it gets back to a customer… that is to say for
example, I make sure that if I even do something as small as soldering a jump
ring an a charm the customer will not be able to see a big blob of solder, the
customer won’t even be able to tell where the jump ring had been soldered. i
like only a handful of other jewelers I have come across in my 8 plus years,
am very meticulous when it comes to finishing a job the absolute right way. I
consider myself to be educated and able as opposed to the educated and unable
or mediocre at best. So now that you know my shortened version on my
philosophy about the workmanship and education of the two classes of jewelers
( in my opinion), I will say to you go for it, I love my job, i love being a
jeweler and love to design and i love to do my own casting, setting and
finishing. i did not go to a college for this nor did i go to any type of
jewelers school. Once again in my opinion the best way to learn is to get
yourself hooked up maybee with a trade shop do the work, watch what others are
doing and try it yourself on scrap peices in your spare time. then you
develope you “own style”. Beleive me when I say those who are book smart can’t
always do…And one more thing… regardless of what anybody tells you, this
is a dying trade… that is to say there are only a handful of very good
jewelers of which i consider myself, and the people that may teach you will
only teach you what you need to know. they will not teach you everything they
know. that is where it is up to you ( and not on customers work) to try and
fail and then try again until it looks all the better. you will never stop
learning new little tricks to make this or that easier for you. I speak from
experience when i tell you they will only teach you what they think you need
to know… I actually started out apprenticing under this jeweler who had a
problem with how fast i was picking things up. After a while he stopped
showing me anything, I guess he feared his job or something. Anyway 8 years
later i am way better off than he is and i can work circles around him. I
tried and failed then tried again till i got it right. you will see what i
mean when you get down to the nitty gritty. GO FOR IT.
thanks for your time, I know I ramble a bit
But I do like to help encourage others when i can in my business.
MarcFrom: firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of EYRUN OLAFSDOTTIR
Sent: Thursday, June 06, 1996 8:06 PM
Subject: Re: Jewelery & Goldsmithing schools Programs ???
Hi, I had to laugh at the pondering in silence line. It seems to about su=
it up. Lets kick some virtual butt and get some the info exchange going.
I=B4ll offer a topic. Goldsmithing Schools and Programs. I am considering=
move from Iceland to Canada and am seriously looking at studying Jewelery=
Goldsmithing or even Silversmithing. I would like to find a school either=
the states or Canada. Now, the problem seems to be which direction to tak=
What schools lead to a quality education that will give me enough skills =
get out there and do what I want to do?
What do I want to do? I love working with silver and making small runs of=
certain peice; broaches, pendants and earrings. I am self taught and can =
bezels well and sweat soldering but have only basic skills in other areas=
suspect that my eclectic tastes predispose me to a life as and artist jew=
What is it like to be a bench Jeweler? I saw an ad for 3 and 6 month
programs for bench jewelers in Florida. Miami Jewelery Institute. Is this=
good school? Would you as a certified Goldsmith or Jewelery store owner h=
a graduate from this program?
What about those 5 and 10 day courses offered here and there? Are grads f=
these short programs ever hired or do they set up shop themselves?
How good is the 18 Month program at the North Bennet Street School?
What about the Art Colleges like The Nova Scotia College of Art and Desig=
Do art college grads get any respect out there???
Any good schools in arizona?
Lastly, what about apprenticship opportunities. Are they out there??
Lets hear from the working professional Goldsmiths and Jewelers out
there.How does one get into the profession and how does he/she do it righ=
J. Peter Peterson