I just want to learn some basic bench jeweler skills to add to my
techniques (I'm not looking to actually get a job as a bench
Jen - Can you find a local rock club? They can help you find a
beginning jewelry making class. Or look to your local community
college or senior citizen center. Senior citizen centers usually
don’t limit offerings to seniors. Often they teach the basic skills
on a hobbyist level. That would get you started locally and cheaply.
If you have a jewelry supply shop, ask them where to learn. Many
stores now have a school too.
I sometimes think we send folks off to learn how to make a clock
when they simply want to find out what time it is.
And to defend the hobbyist level instruction - there are some
incredible artists working to amuse themselves. They may not be able
to size 20 rings an hour, but they can make pretty much any kind of
jewelry and do it very well. They often teach locally.
I took my first jewelry making class at a community center. We sawed
out a piece with lots of internal detail and made a pendant of it.
Then we made a ring with a stone. That was 6 evenings at two hours
each. It got me started. I then took several semesters of
metalsmithing at a community college. In the middle of that, I took a
GIA jewelry class. It was very good, but I didn’t have the “bench
time” experience to absorb the terrific instruction. Start simple.
Figure out what you want to learn. Get the books and magazines that
deal with technique. Learn on your own after some simple hands on.
After that, you may want to go to Revere or one of the big
non-degree schools to learn more techniques.
Lastly, if you can find a local metalsmithing organization, they
often have good classes on weekends. Colorado Metalsmithing
Association and Pennsylvania Society of Goldsmiths are good examples.