Yes, I attended the Conner Jeweler's Institute in Georgetown,
Indiana. I took three classes there in 1998, "Jewelry Repair and
Stone Setting" levels 1 and 2, and "Wax Modeling and Casting". In
1999 I returned to take "Advanced Stone Setting".
Charles Conner owns and teaches the school which is located in the
basement of his residential home. The house is a ranch style with
rear doors at the same level as the finished basement. It's rather
large with the studio where he teaches and a spacious lounge with
chairs, sofa and a large screen television. The basement also has a
kitchen, bath and two bedrooms for students who wish to stay on the
site for the classes. He moved there in 1997 and the facilities were
constructed at that time so they are fairly new.
The classes are small in size, anywhere from two to eight students.
All work is done in gold and we even constructed a ring in platinum.
Casting is done in both gold and silver. He takes the time to
explain the principles and logic behind what you are doing. For an
actual project, Charles first describes what you will be doing using
a blackboard and your textbook. Then you view the project from start
to finish on a video tape. After the tape, you gather around Charles
as he actually does the project and explains as he goes along.
Finally, you do it yourself following the step by step instructions
in your text book. He is always available to help you or explain and
demonstrate again personally.
Charles Conner owned his own jewelry repair business at one time and
was commissioned to design and make a brooch of the State of New York
that was given to Hillary Clinton. He has been working at the bench
for over thirty-six years. He is very helpful and easy to interact
with. I enjoyed the time at the school and was sad to see it end.
I'm located in Cincinnati, so the school is only about 120 miles away
for me. If you decide to attend, I found that the best place to stay
is at the Baymont motel (formerly called Budgetel) in Corydon,
Indiana, about ten miles away from the school. The ten miles are
easy driving on county roads with little traffic. The motel is very
reasonable and they supply a free breakfast. It's clean with indoor
corridors and it only cost about $46.00 a night in 1999. There are
also plenty of other restaurants near by the motel.