Par for a course?

Ok so yes the subject is a bit cryptic, but bear with me on this I
think it will all become clear in a moment…

So Mid May next year I will be in the US for ~3 months, and I was
thinking that while I’m over I might do a short course in either
jewellery design or some aspect of bench skills (there’s always
something new to learn, right?).

As I will be mostly on the east coast I’m looking for suggestions on
courses that are two to three weeks in duration either full time
(8hrs/day 5days/week) or close to it. One I’ve found that is rather
intriguing is

so I’ll use it as a bench mark as it were, BTW is there any reason
not to seriously look at this one as a possible candidate? The
tuition is about as much as I’d like to spend so that is one other
thing to keep in mind.

And yes I know that I will need a visa (most likely an F-1) to do
this so I will need to get my skates on to get all the paper work
squared away in time etc.

Thanks everyone!
Cheers, Thomas Janstrom.
Little Gems.

Valentin Yotkov offers classes on chasing/repousse in Brooklyn,NY.
He is a fabulous teacher and a true master. You can google his name
and follow the link to his class offerings.


Look at both of these. Nothing but wonderful reviews, but do some
checking on instructors. Blaine Lewis is founder and wonderful
teacher at New Approach School in Virginia. Fredricka Kulicke teaches
at Kulicke, and I hear she’s a great teacher, as well. It’s in New
Jersey. I think it’s a bit different set-up than New Approach. I
don’t know about the school in Florida you mentioned.

Good luck and let us know what you do.

Kay Taylor

Thomas, I am a jewelry fabrication and gemstone cutting instructor
at the Boca Museum of Art School in Boca Raton, FL
( about 25 miles up the road from the American
School of Jewelry. I have known Ed Zargon, who runs the ASJ for quite
some time and have toured his school. The school is impressive and
very well set up. Ed has also owned local jewelry stores as well as a
jewelry supply company for many years.

Depending on your level of expertise and experience, I am sure there
will be something there you will find informative and useful.

I have had several students in my own classes who previously
attended the ASJ. The only comment I would make from working with
them is, beginning students seem to come out of the school without a
level of basic techniques I would have expected. Their comments to me
indicate some basic processes are not explained sufficiently to
understand what is happening when they do it, especially soldering.
As a result they did not grasp the techniques adequately and were
not able easily apply them. But then, in general, I find soldering is
one of the most difficult techniques to grasp and for most students
it takes 3-4 hours of and 25 to 30 hours of practice at
various levels of difficulty before they even begin to be

Otherwise, if you have a good grasp of the fundamentals, you should
seriously look into the ASJ, as the school can offer a great deal!!
Unfortunately, my classes are only 3 hours each class a week and run
from 6 to 8 weeks. The ASJ provides for a much more concentrated
curriculum. Good luck and, if you do decide to attend, I would
welcome you to visit us as well to exchange Cheers from
Don in SOFL


Depending on where you are coming from, you might not need a visa.
You might want to look at:

Gemological Institute of America, New York Campus

William Holland School, Young Harris, GA

John Atwell Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Geologist and Gemologist
Rasmussen Gems and Jewelry


Upon which aspect of Jewelry making are you wanting to expand? There
is a wealth of options all across the country.

I totally agree with the suggestion of Valentin Yotkov. His work is
incredible, and he is an excellent craftsman and instructor. You
cannot go wrong there.

Blaine Lewis is another fine suggestion, again another focus.

In what area will you be spending most of your time, that may help
in offering suggestions.

Great trip to be planning.

Mush better question to ask is not what is taught, but who is
teaching it. Jewellery techniques are very simple. It is the
application of technique, and knowing how to combine them is tricky.
So question “who” is more important than “what”.

Leonid Surpin

is there any reason not to seriously look at this one as a possible

Well, their website does not meet professional standards. Fast
Company magazine reported last year on people’s trust levels and how
they relate to the quality of design on a website. The place you sent
doesn’t meet minimum standards, so I don’t trust it.

In addition, there are fine places that those of us on the list have
attended, and can heartily recommend, so why not go to one of those?


Hi Thomas -

It is possible that you will not need an F-1Visa which pertains to
Full Time Students working towards a degree. There are a lot of
schools/classes that are privately run, that do not provide credits
to their students, nor do they provide degrees. They are simply a
service-oriented organization. Send some money in w/your application
and you’re in:) It’s like signing up for a tour or going to summer

If you look in the back of jewelry mags such as Art Jewelry or
Google you can find them. Although this doesn’t apply exactly to
your situation but I, a US-citizen has taken Summer Jewellery design
classes at Universities in Australia and also a Stone Setting Class
in Spain. After a bit of research I found I could simply attend
under a plain ol’ tourist visa.

Have a great time at whatever school you choose:)


Well, their website does not meet professional standards. 

Excuse me Elaine but a website does not a jeweler or jewlery school
make! There are many of us who cannot afford or do not otherwise have
the facility to construct a web site just so it can meet someone
elses’ standards unknown to most of us. I have never heard of ‘Fast
Company’ and have no idea how they equate trust levels to quality of
website design. I would certainly wonder if they have a trusted
statistical model to make such pronouncements. I have seen many many
websites that probably do not meet ‘Fast Co’s’ criteria but have no
problem doing business with them because I know them!

In addition, there are fine places that those of us on the list
have attended, and can heartily recommend, so why not go to one of

Well, for one thing, without asking for more info, I could provide
dozens of reasons. Being located, during the visit, somewhere other
than where those particular schools are is just one. As I said
earlier, I have visited the school, know the prop and, whilst I
explained my reservations, see no reason why he should not check it
out. Lets keep an open mind here. One person’s meat is another’s

Cheers to all this holiday season, Don in SOFL.


The American School of Jewelry, in Sunrise, Florida is a first class
place to study. The owner is a master jeweler and has a super ability
to convey the in a totally understandable manner; Eddie,
also is also fluent in Spanish, if this would make it easier for you
to understand some concepts. There are cameras that are focused on
the project and then there are large monitors in the student area so
you feel as if you were sitting right next to the teacher for each
lesson. I have taken several “specialty” classes there and the
instruction is easy to follow. If you encounter a problem with your
project, individual attention is provided until you “get” it. The
teachers are very patient and their goal is to have you succeed. The
courses are geared to bench work, but by building your skills from
the ground up, you can branch out on your own and create your own
products. It is a wonderful place to learn. March is a great time to
come study in South Florida. Very nice temperate climate and the
humidity has not set in yet. Seriously consider this facility for

Beth Katz

So clarifications are in order, maybe?

One of the reasons I singled out this one, is I will attending a
shuttle launch in early July (present scheduled date anyway, very
subject to change!), so if I were to be attending a course in Florida
and the date got moved up then I would still be able to make it and
all without having to organise panicked flights or whatever. (I have
been invited to view the launch from the VIP area just outside the
VAB, so it’s kind of a big deal to me to be in the area with time to

Other than that, I’m thinking I’d like to skew the experience
towards platinum work, either straight fabrication work or a mix of
repair/alterations and fabrication…

Thanks to everyone who has taken time out from their Christmas (or
other holidays) schedule to answer my questions. Here’s wishing you
all the best for the season from Down Under!

Cheers, Thomas Janstrom.
Little Gems.


You must check up on the schedule of Jurgen Maerz. If you have not
met this gent, you must. He frequently travels with Brad Simon in
joint seminars, and they are not to be missed.

Coming over to Florida from Oz, Pacific route, you transit
California. Jurgen is in Southern California, and usually represents
the Platinum Guild at most Major Shows, around the world.

A class act gentleman, he is a pleasure to learn from, and his sense
of humor is unmatched.


The American School of Jewelry, in Sunrise, Florida is a first
class place to study. 

Beth, thanks for that… I have never taken a class at the school
and so could not specifically comment on the instructors. The
remainder of my previous ‘tome’ applies. Cheers from Don in SOFL