Jewelry training abroad in any language

Wow, a woman looking for jewelry buddies in Costa Rica? French
jewelry terminology? I’m so glad there’s more of us out there,
learning our trade despite the hardships! Don’t let a little thing
like being in a third world country, or a place where you don’t speak
the language fluently stop you, there’s resources everywhere! I’m
taking jewelry courses in Peru and in Spanish right now. My husband’s
in the foreign service so we move every few years, so I’ve had to do
a lot of research on where I could continue training, or find great
resources! I always lobby for posts in countries where there’s gems
and jewelry!

First, language: if you have no language you may need some language
classes first, but you don’t have to be fluent to take advantage of
what’s around. If your language skills aren’t 100%, don’t worry! My
Spanish skills are BARELY conversational, but I’m doing just fine
with my jewelry classes. As long as you can more or less get by, the
language difficulty is pretty much offset by getting a visual
demonstration of what they’re explaining (easy to gist the meaning
with all that context), and the time between explanations and
in-class work, allowing you to ask more questions or break out your
dictionary. You can generally tell if something you didn’t catch is
going to be necessary to do your work; don’t worry about it; if it
becomes necessary later they’ll say it again, and then in context.
Don’t be afraid to ask what you think are really dumb questions.
Sometimes it takes saying you don’t understand a few times in order
to get them to explain it in ridiculously simple vocabulary - but
they do eventually! Most people, teachers and students, are really
happy to help - you may even find one that speaks some English! I
think they’re generally impressed that a gringa with barely enough
language skills is in their local joint, trying that hard to learn in
the first place! Also, early on, ask your teacher if they have any
good general texts on jewelry making, photocopy the whole thing, take
it home and study!! Spanish texts are hard to come by according to my
teacher, but he still had one to lend me. If you’re trying to learn
from a basic level, however, don’t try to try to translate every term
for every tool - the names for these tools would be as new to the
other students as they are to you, so no need to add the tendency to
translate where you don’t have to. Sandra, I completely sympathize -
I’m supposed to have an “ojo de pollo” in my supplies within the next
few classes; I’m fairly sure they don’t really want me to have a
chicken eye in a jar…

As for resources and contacts, for the woman who’s living in Costa
Rica right now, and anyone living abroad, start with your local
yellow pages! Unless you’re in a really REALLY poor country with no
resources (and even then) you may have pretty good luck finding
something under technical schools or jewelry. See if there’s an
association; they may have contacts also - they may even have
classes! AIGS in Bangkok actually has gemology classes in English -
who knew? You could also try the area universities; they may have
degree programs involving jewelry training (though this could be
harder to get into, being a university). Just on an internet search,
I found two mentions of escuelas of joyeria in Costa Rica - no web
pages, but the yellow pages could help you find them. One was A more
informal route, try befriending a really nice local jeweler who does
custom work. Someone who has a good rep with the embassy and expat
community is a good place to start. The jeweler I knew in Sri Lanka;
I could have learned some bench techniques at his workshop, but I
couldn’t survive that heat without AC. However - had I known back
then that GIA did distance gemology courses, I certainly could have
asked to use his equipment to complete my assignments and gotten a
gemology cert. for half the in-class price! Oh, hindsight…

Hope this helps for anyone trying to do this work far, far away from
"home"; if anyone’s looking for training resources please email me;
I might be able to help!

There are actually quite a few bench jewelers techniques type books
in Spanish. I think I’ve got about a dozen… If there’s enough
interest, I’ll spend the time to find 'em all and list 'em.

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA USA

Hi Brian -

I would love to have a list of Spanish texts/technique books (
publisher? source?) - unfortunately Spanish is not my 2nd language (
that is really a challenge living in California) - I have several
students from Mexico - and it would be great to offer them some
resources in their primary language. I have had most of my syllabus
and lesson plans translated into Spanish. But I know there are gaps
in their understanding based on the language issue.

Especially helpful would be publication on any of the following

Wax carving; casting; basic soldering and more complex fabrication;
hinges, clasps, chains; design (concept/theme) development; simple
stonesetting - like fabricated bezels; metal forming : forging;

Thank you for all of the energy you put into being helpful on the
Orchid forum!!


Brian, I speak Spanish and I’d be interested in your book list. I
can sew, do most crafts as well as ceramics and sculpture in Spanish
but I didn’t do jewelry while living in all those Spanish speaking
countries so never acquired that vocabulary. It’s always fun to
learn the terminology.

Donna in VA

Brian, I would be interested in the titles of the Spanish language
publications. If you have the time to post it I’m certain many others
would also be appreciative.

Thanks amigo,

Michael David Sturlin

Ok, here you go - Michael & Donna & whoever else might be
interested. There is another box that contains about 30 more down in
my shop in Taxco. Next time I’m down there, I’ve gotta bring them up
here anyway - so keep remindi= ng me and I’ll post those too…

Most don’t have ISBN numbers, but I’ve put 'em in when I can find

Guia De Piedras Preciosas Curzio Cipriani Allesandro Borelli
Grijalbo is the publisher (Yes, it IS in Spanish not Italian:)

Guia de las Piedras Preciosas y Ornamentales - Walter Schuman Omega
84-282-0484-5 (Old classic, Spanish version)

Diccionaria de Minerales, Gemas, y Gemologia Rhyna Moldes, GG"
International Press of Miami, Inc. My copy has no ISBN

El Oro (Tomo 1) Jorge Alsina Benavente APSSA, Barcelona

Joyeria Creativa Dinny Hall Ediciones CEAC, Barcelona 84-329-8521-X

Bisuteria Joyas No Author (One of my favorites for teaching
beginners) EIQSA, Madrid 84-7832-095-4

Engastes con Granos Jorge Alsina Benavente APSSA, Barcelona

La Fundicion a la Cera Perdida Jorge Alsina Benavente APSSA,

Los Metales en la Joyeria Moderna Jorge Alsina Benavente." APSSA,

La Plata en el Taller Jorge Alsina Benavente APSSA, Barcelona

Engastes de Patillas y Garras Jorge Alsina Benavente APSSA,

Engastes Y Engastados Jorge Alsina Benavente APSSA, Barcelona

I picked up half of these while in Spain, but the other half was
found at trade suppliers in the Jewelry District in Mexico City.

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA USA

I study Spanish as well as metalworking… and would love to know
about a few of the books in Spanish. Its official! I am expressing my
interest! (dont spend too much time though- Im satisfied w/ one title
at a time when ever you get to it!!)