Mentors for beginners like us

Hi All,

From the time that I completed my training on jewellery, I have been
going around with so many ideas relating to jewellery; whether to
manufacture jewellery, or write about it, or teach about it (I love
to teach), or sell its supplies or what else?

Something I wanted to do, but did not know which direction to go.

There are two people who gave me support. One is Nancy LT Hamilton.

Lots of inputs from her that helped me get some clarity.

Then I met a wonderful person called Mr. Babu. He is the owner of a
jewellery store called OKJ jewellers which was started in 1933. His
father started actually and he runs the show. They have a lovely
collection of antique jewellery.

He gave lots of inputs, the current scenario in the jewellery
industry in India, what to do and what not to do.

It gave a lot of clarity to me. And I started realising what can I
do with my limitations.

When every jewellery store in Chennai (Capital of TamilNadu) is
scrambling to give offers on gold for people and other saving
schemes, I dont stand a chance to open a store, atleast now.

He also told me to pursue teaching and writing and then when I get
confidence, to start manufacturing in a big way. Today, I went to
seek his blessings for a venture that I am starting for women.

Last week when I had gone there I named some rare jewellery and
asked him if he had those. Immediately he summoned his people and
asked them to bring those.

I was so surprised to see them, because generally I have seen those
jewellery worn by old ladies who are in their 90s plus.

And these ladies you can find them only in villages and not many
wear these. Their ears to me looks scary, because I feel anytime the
ear might tear and come apart from supporting the jewellery :). But
when I took them in my hand, it weighed so less. And the jewellery
looked so complicated.

How did they do these without any casting machines those days?

So today when I went he gave me those photographs, a write-up about
those jewellery and also some cash that will support my initiative. I
was taken aback. And before giving me all those he stood and said a
prayer for a minute, for me to succeed in my venture. I could not
control the tears in my eyes and I was deeply touched. I told him its
very rare to find people like him.

Such a busy person, sharing his knowledge, guiding, referring me to
other people, so much for a person he had just met a for few times.

How good it will be for every beginner if there is a mentor. Or am I
asking too much?

Today I told him that I am writing about those jewellery in a blog
in Orchid and I have asked him to become a member of Ganoksin and

Since he reads and writes about jewellery thought this will be a
good forum for him.

I will write about those jewellery in my blog.

Kavitha Balakrishnan

Such a busy person, sharing his knowledge, guiding, referring me
to other people, so much for a person he had just met a for few
How good it will be for every beginner if there is a mentor. Or am
I asking too much? 

As a beginner well below the skills of the majority on this forum, I
relish the I gather, glean, ask for and more. So many
people here are great teachers and mentors. I don’t live in an area
that offers classes, or has a school. I don’t have the ability to
apprentice (I’m disabled) in the usual way.

So in venturing from buying my findings and stringing beads on wire
to finding my ‘voice’ by searching for skills I need (along with lots
of practice), using noble metals, and copper, too; to begin learning
about them individually; how to saw, design; torch, fuse, weld,
solder; forge, shape - and every finishing step in the world; cold
connections, and SO much more. That has all been taken from what I
read/watch at Ganoksin; through the forum here; and YouTube (I have
watched every vid Nancy LT Hamilton has put out, she’s marvelous, as
are so many others).

Yet for the wealth of great info out there, nothing can replace a
personal connection like what you made. That’s such a wonderful and
precious thing, and I am so excited for you!

For myself, having virtual mentors is better than nothing at all,
and will get me further than I’d have gotten on my own. It’s up to me
to take it whare I want to from there.

Becky, in Huntsville, AL
MonkeyBird Studio

My name is Anna Chow and I am a beginner at making jewelry. I took
some courses in the continuing education department at the local
college (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design), where I learned a
number of basic techniques and how to do some designing. I was
enjoying my hobby very much, and networking on “Orchid” to see what
I could learn from others with the same interest.

While on Orchid I was impressed with videos that had been posted by
Gerry Lewy for anyone interested in gem setting, started
corresponding with him and learned that like me he lived in Canada
and in Toronto.

Our online networking continued and one day I was faced with not
being able to set gems in a ring that I designed and asked Gerry for
help. He had me send him the ring and he set the stones and returned
it. It was a very difficult project from my perspective and he did a
magnificent job. The friend I was making it for, loved the piece and
months later is still showing it off!

Once I got the ring back, I knew that I wanted to learn more about
gem setting so I asked Gerry if he taught people the techniques that
he uses. He said that he did so I made arrangements to go to Toronto
and get some one on one instruction that he arranged in his own

It was a wonderful experience!. Gerry is a gifted and patient
teacher, and sometimes my mix of English and Chinese languages
causes me some confusion (we call it Chenglish) and I am a visual
and tactile learner. Given that challenge he gently moved me along
the learning curve for five days and expanded the experience far
beyond just gem setting. I learned about things I had never heard of
before, improved my skill set dramatically and got rid of a number
of bad habits all while having a wonderful time. My description of
the training would not be complete without mentioning all the
personal attention I received from both Gerry and his wonderful

I have two purposes in writing this piece: the first is the thank
Gerry for the incredible learning experience and the second is to
recommend him as a teacher for anyone that wants to climb to the
next level in jewellery making.

Finally in case you are wondering, I had this pieced edited as
Chenglish is not a common language!

Anna Chow

Becky, you should also join some of the awesome groups on Facebook.
Lots and lots of talented, generous and helpful people there.

The facebook page for wax carving is called “waxers” Much advice and
help available for anyone, especially newbies.

Margie Mersky