Looking for apprenticeship opportunities

I am a recent grad of Arcadia University in Philadelphia. I have a
BFA in Metalsmithing. The program at Arcadia has given me the skills
to design, fabricate and finish my designs in sterling silver. I am
now looking to get experience in a more commercial setting. I have
little experience working in gold and setting stones. Because my
degree was fine arts based I have little practice in jewelry repair
and other skills that would allow me to get a job as a bench
jeweler. I found this site and hoped it might help me find a
apprenticeship in my area. Does any one have advice for someone like
me or know of opportunities?

As I have mentioned before in this forum, I think that trade school
is an excellent addition to a college education. I strongly
recommend taking some trade school classes – repair, trade
practices, stone setting, casting, etc. before venturing out in the

My 2 cents.

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Studio 925; established 1992


A legal agreement between an apprentice and a master craftsman, to
work a specified length of time in a craft or trade, in return for
instruction and formerly, support.

Traditional apprentice opportunities are virtually nonexistent in
the US. There are a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that
few people who know what they are doing in jewelry are willing and
able to take on a student who will most likely leave after a few

For someone with an academic (university type) jewelry background,
it can be a huge leap to get a job and enter the jewelry industry.
College jewelry programs stress creativity and innovation while
teaching a range of jewelry techniques focused on creative
expression in metal. Without professional skills expected in
fabrication, polishing, repair setting and casting, recent grads
with a degree in jewelry, can find it difficult to get that first
job. What most of them lack is real bench skills in precious metals.

The Revere Academy has had many such students pass through its
doors, before, during and after a college jewelry experience. Since
our programs are focused on teaching professional jewelry skills,
graduates are highly employable within the trade. Training under
working professional jewelers provides a more relevant training than
studying from a teacher who has spent a lifetime teaching how to
create art. Both have their place, but as far as seeking employment,
jewelry industry skills are required.

“I learned more useful for my jewelry career at the
Academy than I did while earning two college degrees in art
including six semesters of jewelry class.” -Tom Robinson of Oakland,

For those interested in making the leap, check out our website for
Jewelry Technician courses. In 8-14 weeks we cover all the basics in
fabrication, setting, polishing, casting and repair, including
preparation for Jewelers of America Bench Certification. While not a
requirement for employment, JA Certification is widely respected and
can be the critical key to walking into your first jewelry job.

Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts
760 Market Street - Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94102
tel: 415-391-4179 fax: 415-391-7570


Words of wisdom… Why don’t schools offer courses on copyright
filing, photography, and resume writing? Good trade schools such as
the North Bennett St School in Boston, or the workshops offered by a
number of folks on the Orchid Forum are a great addition to an art
school education, which may lack direction when it comes to real
world work. This was a subject of discussion yesterday at Spencer’s
home in Quincy. The daughter of a wood craftsman who makes wearable
wood hats ( www.woodhat.com ) recently finished her design degree in
LA. The final assignment to make a chair that had never been designed
before. Her chair, and the other 12 student’s chair designs were made
by a local furniture maker. Sadly, her chair was the only truly
original design- well, there was one that sort of fit the bill, but
was kinda unattractive bench… The rest were not very imaginative,
or original.

Rick Hamilton

 Why don't schools offer courses on copyright filing, photography,
and resume writing? 

We incorporate this into the regular courses and
assignments( we also have a course just on these subjects in our
jewelry/metals program), and students are required to take good
photos, give us slides and a CD of digitized images, have a great
portfolio with renderings and have numerous statements, bios,
business cards, letterhead, press releases samples etc. As well the
school itself has a (albeit only one semester) course on similar
and grant writing, tax law etc. (Alberta College of Art
and Design) http://acad.ab.ca/ best Charles

Charles Lewton-Brain/Brain Press
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brai1

Why don't schools offer courses on copyright filing, photography,
and resume writing? 


I ask the same question, but phrase it differently: Why don’t other
schools include the kinds of and resources jewelers must
know, in addition to instruction on how to make jewelry?

We do! The Revere Academy includes all of that and much
more in several classes we offer apart from our extensive hands-on

In our two-day Trade Practices class (next on Feb 2-3, 2004), I
explain copyrights, trademarks and patents, and how to obtain them.
I explain how the jewelry industry works as well as what you need to
know to maintain a jewelry studio. Other topics include recycling
scrap gold, testing gold, calculating prices, taking in and tracking
jobs, tool maintenance, health precautions, trade magazines and
events, insurance, where to get technical and much

In my Marketing Designer Jewelry class (next on March 5, 2004), I
explain what a good jewelry image should have and I suggest several
professional photographers who are skilled and easy to work with.
(We used to also teach photography for jewelers, but it became clear
that most jewelers are not up to the task of learning photography.)
The Marketing class covers essential for jewelry
designers, craftspeople, artists, manufacturers and entrepreneurs as
well as those entering the field. Topics include product
development, image, pricing, advertising, press releases,
copyrights, trade shows, sales reps, consignment, credit,
collections, competitions, crafts fairs, display, security,
catalogues and more.

And, anytime one of our students wants help with a resume, Christine
Dhein our assistant director, offers one-on-one guidance with follow

I agree that success in jewelry depends on a lot more than just the
ability to saw and file. Those entering the field need a
well-rounded curriculum combining bench skills, industry facts and
materials theory along with lots of hands-on practice.


Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street
Suite 900
San Francisco, California 94102
tel: 415-391-4179
fax: 415-391-7570


I know that you and your school have made a dedicated effort to
provide basic business skills and knowledge, and I hope you are
advertising your classes to a wider art community beyond
metalsmiths. My question was more rhetorical, my experience with art
school graduates is that they do not get training in foundation
business skills. It is really an issue that needs to be addressed by
the Art schools, by bringing in workshops, materials and lectures on
these critical real world skills. This is beyond the much discussed
subject of the metal working training that some students lack. The
best jewelers I have met have cross trained in more than one school
program, or had more than one mentor, my most successful assistant
worked his way through art school finishing jewelry for several
designer/metalsmiths. I learned several tricks from him, and his
designs are very much his own. My advice to young potential jewelers
is to go to a good technical training school, investigate the
wonderful range of workshops available around the country, and to buy
the best quality tools as they develop a need for them.

Rick Hamilton