Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Jewelry weekend workshops


#1

Does anyone know where I can get info on jewelry weekend workshops or
classes? I heard that there are great workshops, but i have no idea
where or when they are. I DESPERATELY want to learn how to make big
chunky rings, but do not want to take just a basic metalsmithing
class…I want something that focuses on rings. I am a jewelry
designer, however this is something i never learned how to do…I
CAN do it, but i know i am doing it wrong and the end result is not
as professional as it could me. I also would love to learn more about
setting stones…especially one “tiny” diamond in a hammered
circle, or at the end of a bar…I guess this is a Pave setting.
Any advice??

Thanks!

laura :slight_smile:

Laura J. Designs
Laura Jackson
P:(610) 213-1082
F:(610) 668-6458


#2
Does anyone know where I can get info on jewelry weekend workshops
or classes? 

Yes, check all the jewelry related magazines, they have ads. It would
be helpful to know where you are, and if you are willing to travel,
and how long a class you are willing to take.

I heard that there are great workshops, but i have no idea where or
when they are. I DESPERATELY want to learn how to make big chunky
rings, but do not want to take just a basic metalsmithing
class.....I want something that focuses on rings. 

Well, I teach at five different art centers and love to take classes
myself, so I am pretty up on what’s out there. “Just rings” is
offered at one place in Chicago as a one afternoon class. There is a
reason beginner classes in just rings don’t exist – rings can be
difficult and frustrating for beginners, especially the big chunky
ones, and a firm foundation in metalsmithing is a big help.

If you want to be good at something, you have to be willing to spend
some time on it. Some “just a basic metalsmithing class” teachers
will allow you to choose your own projects. Perhaps you could take a
10 week course and just make rings.

Perhaps wax carving would be more appropriate for you, given your
limited and very specific area of interest. You could find a wax
class at various trade schools. Though of course, wax carving is it’s
own skill and will take some time to develop.

If you are desperate, then you must be willing to invest more time
than a weekend to acquire these skills.

Elaine

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#3

Laura,

Can’t help you on the workshops directly but I’ll offer some
observations about…

Big chunky rings. They take a lot of metal. They weigh alot. They
get expensive.

If you are going to make them for stock keep resizing in mind. A
heavy shank can be a bear to size, especially if it’s stone set.
Allow for some means of protecting the stone. If its silver figure
you will demount the stone if its at all sensitive, if its gold you
still may have to. Demount the stone and you have the prongs or bezel
to deal with, make them in such a way that they will survive multiple
reworkings. Making them to order from a sample would eliminate some
of the problems. Takes longer to fill an order but inventory
investment is greatly reduced.

Be careful just how chunky you make it. In the end someone is going
to wear it, you don’t want it so top heavy that it spins around on
the finger. Nor do you want the shank sides to be so heavy they
interfere with the adjacent fingers. Its there to be used and
enjoyed, make it enjoyable, or it may be returned to you, ouch, I
hate returns.

To cast or to form?

Casting simplifies manufacture but there are pitfalls to watch out
for. If the ring is heavy on top and thin on bottom it must be sprued
to the top also, or near the top. If not you will likely get porosity
near the sprue. This is because the molten metal has to neck down and
then flare out again and try to expand again into the greater void of
the ring top. You may even get incomplete casts. But the design
should accommodate for a top sprue, plan for it in an area of the
design where you can grind it away without affecting detail. If
you’re carving a wax you can hollow it out inside to cut down on
weight/cost.

Forming heavy gauge is no easy thing. The advantage is no porosity.
Broad smooth bright areas are almost guaranteed to come out right.
But you will have solder somewhere. Try to hide the joint or else be
a deft solderer. You can truly claim its handmade. Its going to cost
more to produce than a casting of the same weight.

Hope that helps,
Neil


#4

Laura where are you located? And how far do you wnat to go?

Jennifer Friedman
Ventura, CA


#5

Laura,

It is hard to tell from your post if you have ever had basic
silversmithing or not. I have to assume you have not. I will relate
your story to a man who came to me one day and said, “I want to learn
to cut black opals!” I asked him if he has ever cut a stone and he
replied no but he wanted to learn to cut black opals. I made it very
clear to him that he MUST FIRST take a course in cabbing and after
cutting a number of different kinds of stones, I would teach him
about opals and he could cut practice opals for awhile and only then
could he cut a black opal. Why? Because while he knew quite a bit
about buying and selling opals, he knew nothing about cutting any
kind of stone let alone expensive and rare opals.

I say the same thing to you…while you may be a designer and a
professional, if you have never used a saw, or files, or a torch,
never soldered, annealed, manipulated metal, bent wire, etc, etc, you
will not be able to make a ‘big chunky ring’. In fact you will not be
able to make anything. There was a great quote in the Stuller
Standard a while back that I drill into all my students. It went like
this… “The difference between a Master Jewler and an average
jeweler is not so much learning advanced techniques as a mastery over
the basic ones.” But then it goes on and says, “For example, there is
little difference between the soldering technique in the most complex
hand fabricated item of jewelry and sizing a ring. What sets the
Master’s work apart is the meticulous execution of those techniques”.

So…you may not plan to make an exquisite “chunky ring” but you
still have to know the basics of soldering. Better still would be the
mastery of those techniques so you can make it as best you can
because anything less would be a waste of time.

As a teacher and instructor, I would not allow you to do such work
in my studio until you have completed AT LEAST 48 hours of
instruction and practical exercise. Even then one would only be
capable of doing mediocre work. My suggestion…find a school and
take the instruction first.

Sorry but thats the way it works. Good luck on your quest, and cheers
from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple elegance IS
fine jewelry!


#6

To anyone in Minneapolis this weekend.

The Minneapolis Community & Technical College Jewelry Department is
hosting an all day seminar this Saturday Sept 30.

The Minnesota and North Dakota Jewelers Association is bringing Mark
Mann in for a presentation on Palladium Jewelry. His articles in
Professional Jeweler as well s Jewelers Circular Keystone are always
educational and very informative.

Following Mark is a stones in casting demo by Michelle Reger, one of
the pioneers in perfecting the process. Michelle was casting stones
in way before the new investment was made available. Her experience
in this area is unmatched.

For call Nancy Fisher at the Minnesota & North Dakota
Jewelers Association at 800-544-6416.

Regards,
Todd Hawkinson
Minneapolis Comm & Tech College Instructor


#7
You can truly claim its handmade. Its going to cost more to produce
than a casting of the same weight. 

Can you not claim it is truly handmade if it is cast? I do original
waxes and cast them. Are they truly not handmade? What is the scoop?

Veronica


#8

Hello Laura,

I do not know where you are located, I work for a jewelry institute
in Sacramento Ca. There are a few choices we can offer you. This
would depend on your goals and availability. One quick way you can
start making “Chunky” rings is by carving them out of wax. Learning
how to carve a basic D blank is not that hard, from there you can
widdle the ring down to the appropriate size or design. You can then
learn to cast or we can cast them for you in any metal you prefer.
Gold, silver, brass, copper etc… feel free to contact me or check
out our website.

have a nice day
Gabriel


#9

Thank you everyone for your responses!! To answer some questions, I
do have 5 years experience with metalwork. I did an apprenticeship
for 1 year and I worked in a repair shop for 1 year. I began my
business in 2002, however I only do minimal metalwork because it
takes so long and my skills are limited. I do know how to do all of
the basic stuff…it is the actual fabrication that i
have a hard time with. During my apprenticeship i mainly did hollow
construction and when i did repairs, it was JUST repairs. Because i
had no formal training I missed a lot! I want to make rings mainly
for myself…not for my customer at this point in time. I have no
interest in working with wax…only metal. I am based in Philadelphia
and although the closer the better, yes I would be willing to travel.
I work full time so it is a workshop i am looking for opposed to
something long term. The kind of rings I love are on
www.zoechicco.com. Obviously I do not want to do the ex act same
thing as her, but something along those lines. Can anyone tell how
they were made??

Thanks!
laura

Laura J. Designs
Laura Jackson
P:(610) 213-1082
F:(610) 668-6458


#10
Can you not claim it is truly handmade if it is cast? I do original
waxes and cast them. Are they truly not handmade? What is the
scoop? 

I don’t know that there is a definitive answer to that. Depends on
how purist one’s point of view is. At the fundamental extreme
’handmade’ would preclude things like the flexshaft and buffer, I
suppose. A liberal interpretation might suggest that if the original
wax was carved by hand then all products from the mold would also be
handmade. Both don’t seem to me to fit within the expectations of the
audience(customers).

The context of my comment was as a marketing tool. Perhaps
hand-wrought would have been a better term. I’ve found customers are
impressed when they know the metal itself was manipulated directly by
hand. But they also don’t understand that a master takes a lot of
handwork to make. Say casting to them and they think the master just
appeared from some inventory bin and ran thru an omnipotent
impersonal manufacturing process. If the piece is a one off casting,
yeah, I think handmade is appropriate. There are designs that cannot
be accomplished in any other practical way than to carve and cast,
maybe more so with big chunky rings.

A reasonable view imho, would be that if multiples are made from a
mold the original could be said to be handmade but not the subsequent
production run.

No doubt there are differing opinions, each with a rational basis.


#11
A reasonable view imho, would be that if multiples are made from a
mold the original could be said to be handmade but not the
subsequent production run." 

How about this? The original is an original handcrafted design and
the production waxes (done by me) are hand cast from the original
handcrafted design? How does that sound? I really am looking for some
correct terminology here that sounds legit without sounding phony.

V.


#12
Can you not claim it is truly handmade if it is cast? I do original
waxes and cast them. Are they truly not handmade? What is the
scoop? 

When I worked in Albuquerque, we were shown the FTC regs. that stated
that in order to be called “Handmade”, jewelry had to be made without
the use of electric power except for polishing, and could not be
cast.
Most people will stretch the “no electrical power” part
(drilling…), but a cast piece is not considered handmade. I
personally see no problem with someone billing a custom-made piece
that was waxwork as handmade, but that’s just me. I believe that
"Hand-Wrought" is considered just a synonym for handmade.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#13
Can you not claim it is truly handmade if it is cast? I do original
waxes and cast them. Are they truly not handmade? What is the
scoop? 

Hi Veronica. According to the US Federal Trade Commission’s Jewelry
Guides, castings are not considered handmade and may not be claimed
to be handmade. The wax may be, but not the castings. Here’s a link
for you to check on the matter:

Look under Section 23.3 for guidance about the use of the word
"handmade."

Some may want to look under section 23.23 for guidance on the use of
gemstone names.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL


#14

Hi

How about this? The original is an original handcrafted design and
the production waxes (done by me) are hand cast from the original
handcrafted design? How does that sound? I really am looking for
some correct terminology here that sounds legit without sounding
phony. 

If it helps, I read a catalog description of a piece and it said (or
there abouts) “the original is carved by hand from wax”… I don’t
know that you really need to say anything about the casting end of
it. If you are talking with the customer (or the gallery asks you
directly) “hey, how are the rest of them made?”…then you can
fully address it…otherwise, my feeling on it is that “the original
is carved by hand from wax” is quite enough

Good Luck
Kim

p.s. a while ago, someone was writing on sales and said something
like…the cutomers’ eyes usually glaze over when artists start
talking about the technical aspects of what they do.


#15

All,…at the risk of getting clobbered, how about this?

When you carve the wax…which is considered hand made…you
imprint it with the words “hand made”. That is a correct use of the
phrase is it not?

Then you cast it…the words show up!!! No one could argue that it
is not an exact ‘machine duplicate’ of the original hand made item!

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry!


#16

Hi, Veronica,

How about this? The original is an original handcrafted design and
the production waxes (done by me) are hand cast from the original
handcrafted design? 

I think you’re worrying about this too much. There is no standard
rule for this, so just go with what you feel comfortable with. If
you’re making the waxes, even if you send them out, the work is
handmade/hand crafted. It isn’t being made by a machine, it isn’t
being produced by the hundreds, it isn’t being cobbled together from
machine-made parts. It’s all good.

Noel


#17
it is the actual fabrication that i have a hard time with. The kind
of rings I love are on www.zoechicco.com. Obviously I do not want
to do the ex act same thing as her, but something along those
lines. Can anyone tell how they were made?? 

Hi Laura, with your skills and experience in hollow construction you
should have no problems in fabricating a large stone set ring
similar to those on the site you mention. Basically all you need to do
is to make a bezel to fit your chosen stone, make a ring band, and
put the two together. Step by step ( the way i would do it for rings
with large faceted stones :slight_smile: - but there are many ways) bezel-
measure stone, cut a strip of metal total length which equals the
diameter of the stone + twice the thickness of your metal ( choose
thickness depending on size of stone, those size stones approx…5mm
thick) + 1mm for saw cut, total height equals the height of the stone
measured from culet to just above where the girdle is ( hold stone
sideways, see where the metal needs to reach to hold the stone) + a
little for finger clearance ( or more if you want the stone higher) +
enough that when sideways it is bisected by the circle of your ring
band there will be enough metal to " go down the sides of the ring" -
the finished depth will be your shallowest point at the top point of
the ring so you have to allow for this - draw a square box on top of
a circle and you will get the idea. solder it, check for size- the
bezel should just slide nicely over the stone, no gaps etc.

Cut and shape an inside bezel ( seat) in the same way, but of thicker
metal, and deducting the thickness of the metal from your
measurements- shape the inside with a file or setting burr to fit
the stone, turn up to shape, check fit and placement inside of outer
bezel and then solder into place.

ring band- measure finger size, cut length ( work out same as outside
bezel above), shape, solder. Finish ring band by shaping as you wish
and polishing.

construction- position bezel with ring band then file out a semi
circle underneath the bezel so it sits on the band, clean up so it
will be easier to polish when finished - I routinely polish each
component to up tripoli stage before joining - position, then
solder, pickle, rinse, check, polish.

setting- place stone, push over bezel working opposite sides
alternately, burnish around edge of bezel or bright cut with a
graver to neaten. you might also need to clean up with papers around
the bezel a little.

final quick buff - ultrasonic - dry, wear it!

there are lots of refinements along the way, and obviously a lot
more details, but this is the basic way that I use- play with it-,

cheers, Christine in Sth Australia


#18

Casting about for the proper reply…

When I show my customer a piece of jewelry, whether it was
fabricated or cast, if I just say “I designed that piece” that has
always been enough to convey enough for them to decide if
they want to buy my work, or hire me for a commission.

I could not care less what the FTC says about the definition of
handmade. To me, using a rolling mill,is like using a lathe, is like
using a casting machine, is like using a flexshaft, is like
using…

Different processes using different equipment yield different
results that allow different techniques to to be used for me to
express myself, and that is what this "art " form is for me. Metals
and gems are what I paint with to create beauty, and having used
whatever means to achieve my goal is my brush.

Richard Hart


#19
"the original is carved by hand from wax".... 

I agree with Kim, this is how I sell my work.

If you are talking with the customer (or the gallery asks you
directly) "hey, how are the rest of them made?"....then you can
fully address it.... 

However, I’ve been at a few trunk shows and heard the store/gallery
owner refer to my jewelry and other cast pieces as “each piece is
hand-carved in wax and is a one-of-a-kind”. yikes! Somehow, this
started floating around and has stuck.

Amery Carriere Designs
www.amerycarriere.com


#20
Some may want to look under section 23.23 for guidance on the use
of gemstone names. 

So, what sort of recourse would one have if one purchased gemstones
that were treated and the treating wasn’t disclosed?

amery
Amery Carriere Designs
www.amerycarriere.com