Magazines and classes

Wondered which magazines everyone finds most worthwhile, and why,
and which classes you have taken you felt were the most beneficial,
where were they, who was the instructor, etc.?


Hi Beth,

Wondered which magazines everyone finds most worthwhile, and why, 

My vote goes to ‘Professional Jeweler’, Brad Simons ‘Bench’ magazine
& AJM.

Each issue PJ has some very good articles related to bench work (the
other articles are good too). As you might suspect from the name,
‘Bench’, it’s devoted 100% to bench work. The mag comes out 4 times
a year & is free!

You can subscribe by emailing Bench @ (take the spaces
out before & after the @). Brad is now also publishing a CD Rom
version ($95/yr, $150/2yr) that will present moving demos on your

AJM has good bench articles & also keeps you abreast of other
topics interesting to bench jewelers.


Beth, Both Metalsmith and American Craft are at the top of my list.
Both these magazines have very high standards for showing some of the
most original work, using excellent photographers, and publishing
fine writers. American Craft is not just about jewelry, it includes
the full range of fine craft and beyond.

In addition I would recommend AJM, “The Authority on Jewelry
Manufacturing”. I find their articles on manufacturing interesting,
particularly since my total experience has been as a self employed
designer/goldsmith. Their articles go beyond manufacturing and
include subjects that we can all relate to. Suzanne Wade , an Orchid
participant, is a Contributing Editor of AJM.

Another that I have found invaluable is Bench Magazine, published by
another Orchid participant, Brad Simon. It is a quarterly, filled
with all kinds of great technical info, tools, stone setting,
supplies, bench tips, etc. This one should be at every bench.

I think that the above four all cover a wide range of subjects that
most of us are interested in and are all quality publications.

Joel Schwalb

I love AJM – think it’s great – also like Metalsmith (SNAG’s
publication) and Glass on Metal (altho, since it has gone back to a
publication strictly out of Thompson Enamel, I’m reserving judgement
for the future on that one. . .).


    and which classes you have taken you felt were the most
beneficial, where were they, who was the instructor, etc.? 

Hi Beth: Best class I ever took was a cold forging class at Austin
Community College. The instructor was a very talented graduate
student. I learned so much about using my hammers correctly, working
with very heavy gauges of metal, making tools, and chasing and
repoussee (which were a plus addition to the cold forging class).

The next most beneficial class was a stone setting class that I did
in a one on one setting - spent a whole week with a very talented
stone setter in Marble Falls, Tx. Being the only student (which was
not originally intended), I benefitted most from my mistakes which,
with no one else around, were very obvious. However, making mistakes
and learning either how to correct them, avoid them, or accept that
they are not correctable, gives you a confidence nothing else can. It
definitely frees you to get on with creating.

An additional benefit from any class comes from learning how
instructors “think” as they design, fabricate, problem solve…
Understanding someone else’s processes helps me to refine mine.

Obviously everyone’s best classes are going to be different because
we all have different goals. But I can honestly say I’ve never taken
a class that I felt was a waste. There is always something to be
learned if you just keep your eyes and ears open.


I like AJM magazine and Professional Jeweler best so far. These 2
have the most relevant ‘how-to’ and tech articles for my purposes.
Over the years I have also gotten National Jeweler and JCK. Good
mags in their place, but aimed more at retailers than bench people.

Also try subscribing to “E-Bench” at This
is a free email newsletter with some good info. He is also
publishing a print magazine now (also free, I believe) and has CD rom
subscriptions as well. Haven’t tried the CDs yet, but I might. These
aren’t free, but supposedly have a lot of multimedia how-to material.

Is Bench magazine avaiiable outside the U.S.A.? can some body tell
me the publishing house. Regards russ mccolough Sydney Australia

Hello Orchid!

This is in response to :

 and which classes you have taken you felt were the most
beneficial, where were they, who was the instructor, etc.? " 

I come from a long line of jewelers (even though I still have
another career!) so my parents and grandparents were my best
teachers for making jewelry.

I have been fortunate enough to come across Dede Sullivan, another
jeweler, who teaches a PR Class for Jewelry Designers. I have taken
Thomas Mann’s Classes and others about PR but Dede actually gave me
a map on what to do and what to say. She even was kind enough to
show me how to scan jewelry and quickly retouch it on my computer.
She gave me the courage to build my own website. Its really rare to
meet people like those on Orchid and Dede who share and
really care about you succeeding. She does not see other jewelers
as competition but she sees them as a community. I guess not many
of us have that kind of strong self esteem.

Cheers and have a great week everyone!


As I am one of those writers to the Bench trade-magazine, I am
honoured in seeing Brads’ name appearing from all those who replied.
He does do a lot of hard work in preparing these articles…I know
first hand! Brad gives me full freedom is selecting which article to
write on, many times I can write and rewrite 6-7 times each topic and
have our own Dave Sprier proof read my every word. He’s getting used
MY form of spelling…:>) I live in Toronto and spell the Canadian
way,EH !

Your accolades and kudo’s are very well taken and accepted by all
who write for this great and growing trade magazine. Thanks to you
all, on “Orchid”…:>)

“Gerry, the Cyber-Setter !”