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Revere Academy or North Bennet Street School?


My name is Alexandra. I’m very excited to join this forum. I have a
question that I would like to ask everyone. If you could give me
some advice I would greatly appreciate it.

I can’t decide between North Bennet Street School and Revere Academy
Graduate Jeweler program. Which option is better, 2 year long
through program in NBSS or 3 month quick training in RA and work shop
practice after that? If I choose Revere Academy where to stay in SF?
would like to be close to school and in a safe neighborhood.

Thank you All in advance.

All Best,

I can tell you that the Revere Academy is professional, has
professional staff, is comprehensive and beyond what you can get
anywhere else. It is not the School but the staff that is important
and I must say that Revere has that staff. Where to stay in SF…
ask a member of the staff for recommendations. They are helpful…
and what more can you ask for than time in San Francisco.


P.S. I have no connection with Revere other than the fact that their
courses are great!

I can't decide between North Bennet Street School and Revere
Academy Graduate Jeweler program. Which option is better, 2 year
long through program in NBSS or 3 month quick training in RA 

My answer will depend on your career goals. I’m not familiar with
NBSS, is it a trade school? How fast do you need to be working? Do
you want to work in the trade?

Even without your answers I am leaning toward Revere, esp. if you
want to work in the industry, since it’s a widely recognized,
respected trade school.

If you are young and can uproot yourself and move for 3 months,
great, do it, go have an adventure! I have heard students pair up and
get places together.

I also have some blog posts on the topic that may interest you:

Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Hi Alexandra

I did the Jewelry Technician Intensive at Revere a little over a year
ago. It was fun, fast paced and intensive. You work from 7am to 7pm
then late-night bench time six days a week.

Alan and all the instructors are top notch, always willing to help
with any question or interest. You are submersed in the jewelry
industry from the start. Because the school is in the Phlan Building
in San Fran and almost everybody in the building is dedicated to the
jewelry Industry in Northern California. You will meet people all day
long in the elevator that are jewelers. I even got offered a job one
day in the elevator with a casting house in the building. The
jewelery industry in San Fran knows Alan Revere and the type of
produced the school puts out. His network of former students is huge.

San Fran is one of my favorite cities. The food is great, the people
are well, eclectic and there is art everywhere.

The school has a list of places to stay while in San Fran - ranging
from not so nice area (the tenderloin) to swanky (Nob Hill) most
are within walking distance from the school. If not, the bus system
is great.

The work is hard, the people are great, the network of former
students is huge, the jewelry industry knows the top quality student
Alan puts out. So if you say you graduated from Revere Academy you
better be prepared to prove your stuff, because nothing less than top
quality craftsmanship will be expected of you.

Since graduating I am working as a Part-Time Repair Tech, keeps food
on the table, I will also have my work represented at a gallery in
New Port Beach CA (Revere Grad-87) and a Gallery in Burlington VT
(Revere Grad - 92) I met these people through networking and
accidental meeting. I have my first gallery show in 5 days - 100
pieces, OH My GGG better get back to work, pickle pot is boiling over
and the cat is killing 50 feet of 30guage wire that i dropped.

I hope this helps.

Really tough question here as they are both excellent schools.
Personally, if I had a choice about where to live and based it only
on that I’d choose SF, but then that’s because I love the place.
This, mind you, is coming from someone who lives in Boston. Both
areas are exceedingly expensive to live in. Housing costs are almost
comparable between the two cities, with SF coming in slightly higher
but having less heating/cooling costs than Boston which makes them
just about even. Boston has a lot of snow (well it did before global
warming) and sweaty summers (well it did before global warming), SF
has earthquakes. Boston has the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod. SF has
the Pacific Ocean and Big Sur. Boston is fairly conservative (well,
except gay marriage IS legal in Massachusetts), SF is a fun,
freewheeling, anything goes kind of place (where they had gay
marriage briefly in that city only). Both schools are great. As I
said at the beginning I’d pick based on where I wanted to be.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

If I choose Revere Academy where to stay in SF? I would like to be
close to school and in a safe neighborhood. 

Alexandra - hopefully someone from Revere will also reply to you. I
know they read Orchid. Revere Academy is in downtown San Francisco.
There is no housing that is close, like next door. There is housing
that is more or less OK starting about 8 or ten blocks away. The good
thing is that the local mass transit - BART - stops outside the front
door, so you can live 10 miles away and still be here within
minutes…There is also Muni. It’s easy to get to from all over
the Bay Area. We are down the hall from Revere, live across the bay,
and it’s a 20 minute BART ride to get here. I know Revere’s a good
school, but I know nothing of the NBSS, so I won’t go there…


I can’t decide between North Bennet Street School and Revere Academy
Graduate Jeweler program. Which option is better, 2 year long
through program in NBSS or 3 month quick training in RA and work shop
practice after that? If I choose Revere Academy where to stay in SF?

The school you probably want is the school that gives you the best
foundation in what you think you want to do. What skill do you want
or need for the work you think you will do in the future? Some
schools give you an introduction, you develop no skills, just learn
basics, and do not have enough hands on to have any practical
application once you leave the school. I am mostly self taught, I am
now doing what I could have about 20 years ago (I am 60) if I had
proper training. Might be practical to inquire if the schools have a
placement program.

Richard Hart

Before you make the leap between the two, check out, the New
Approach School with Blaine Lewis. It might be the perfect balance
between the two programs.


And there is the California Institute of Jewelry Training, teaching
bench jewelers and designers for 30 years. Programs from 3 to 8
months, practical, hands on. This school has had bench jewelry
education as a priority for all the years and graduates are many,
numbering professionals and business owners.

Housing accommodations are avaible at CIJT and much less expensive
than San Francisco, the highest priced city on the west coast.

All Orchidians need to become famililar with this school. They are
missing alot, with the popular and talented workshop guests as well,
the accomodating atmosphere and excellent dedicated facility.

Mel Huth

Thank you All for such a quick respond! :slight_smile:

I forgot to mention that I have been living in Boston for over 3
years. That’s why I am considering North Bennet Street School. If I
go to SF I would only go for 3-months of training in Revere Academy.
I am not planning to stay in the city for longer than that.

More about me. Four years ago I was making jewelry (silver with
amber) in my friend’s workshop back in my home country. I did it
almost everyday for 9 months as a hobby and I loved it. Meanwhile I
finished my master degree in Sociology and found an office job. I
never forgot about jewelry making and always dreamed of coming back.
Lately I took one semester classes in jewelry making from School of
the Museum of Fine Arts. My experience with SMFA was great and I
found out that I do learn much quicker at school than on my own. Now
have the opportunity to go back to school. After school I want to
find some bench job for few years and somewhere down the road my
dream would be to open my own workshop.

I am looking for a strictly technical training. NBSS program lasts 2
years and is more than twice as expensive as Revere Academy. On the
other hand it has many more hours of training. I have some tough
time trying to decide.

Thank you for reading and helping me out,

Hi Alexandra

Revere Academy it’s a real life experience go for it! I really
enjoyed it. Housing is dificult, but try the Ansonia, some of my
clase mates had good coments, and avoid the area south and west of
the academy, Post and Sutter are pretty safe streets.

Good Luck

Revere Academy it's a real life experience go for it! I really
enjoyed it. Housing is dificult 

I went to Revere for a week, and had a great time-- but I want to
mention, about housing-- I stayed a the cheapest place on Revere’s
recommended list. It was one of the scariest places I’ve ever
stayed. The bed touched the wall on three sides, and there was a
liquor bottle under the bed when I arrived. The sheets were
literally so thin you could read through them. The curtains were
water stained. My window looked out onto a one-story roof that was
littered with hypos and condoms. In the middle of the night, someone
was climbing around out there.

I’m not making this up.

Why didn’t I go somewhere else? I couldn’t afford to. I think it
cost $55 a night, and the workshop sost $700 or $800, and I had no
money to spare at all.

I told Revere folks all this, but last time I checked, this place
was still on their list.

Noel (lived to tell the tale-- though if it had smelled bad or I’d
seen any vermin I’d have been out of there somehow!)

I attended a series of classes at the Revere Academy - the
Fabrication series 2 and 3, and the Stone setting series and I
thought they were fabulous. After having taken classes in a museum
school environment, I felt that I lacked the rigorous technical
training that I needed. While I had learned a lot, it often was out
of sequence and spotty, based on whatever technical problems I
happened to encounter in the jewelry project I chose. I found the
Revere Academy to be carefully thought out, carefully sequenced
classes that taught all the skills from beginning onward, in the
order that you needed to learn them. I would have loved to attended
their intensive 3 month program.

While looking into where to go for more training, I also looked at
the North Bennet Street School and found it to be quite rigid, and
very lengthy. People who I know who’ve graduated from it have
superior technical skills. In the past, there was no emphasis on
design. It may have changed since I looked at it. I’d suggest asking
the school for graduates who you can talk with. It is a long term
commitment, and keeps you without income for many more months than
the Revere program.

I think one of the key differences is that you stay at the North
Bennet Street School long enough to master and practice the skills
you learn. With the Revere Academy, you need the discipline to go
home and replicate the exercises until you are confident that the
skills belong to you.

Good luck!
Marcia Rae

Hi Alex,

I have to put in a good word for North Bennet Street School. My view
is biased of course - I spent a couple of very happy years at NBSS,
graduating in 2003, and I have no experience of the Revere Academy.

NBSS provided me with an excellent grounding in technique. The
emphasis is very much on practical experience with all of your time
spent at the bench. The instructors are really good and have very
high standards.

There is also opportunity to gain bench experience in the real world
whilst studying. Some of my fellow students would work in the
afternoons or at the weekend at local jewelers.

Of course there is always lots more to learn, I realised that, but
what I learned at NBSS gave me enough experience and confidence to
start my own custom jewelry business directly after graduation.

Good luck with your decision Alex!
Best wishes,

Eva Martin

I went to Revere for a week, and had a great time-- but I want to
mention, about housing-- I stayed a the cheapest place on Revere's
recommended list. It was one of the scariest places I've ever

I haven’t been in the downtown area of a major US city in years where
I would feel comfortable in a $55 a night hotel. Revere is a great
place to go for a workshop. Being in downtown San Francisco though
has its plusses and minuses. Housing within walking distance is
either expensive or very scary. But the Academy is literally next to
the BART train station. You can easily find decent affordable lodging
at a distance from the school and ride BART to and from. So do a
little research on the BART or the other public transit systems and
pick more affordable housing in a area that is not downtown in a
major city.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


I haven't been in the downtown area of a major US city in years
where I would feel comfortable in a $55 a night hotel. [so use
public transportation and stay farther out] 

Jim is quite right, but I feel compelled to say that my stay was
maybe 8 years ago, before (or before I was aware of)
Since then, I have used it extensively, usually to very good effect.
I have stayed in Miami, Wilmington, DE, King of Prussia, PA,
Minneapolis and Milwaukee, among others, at very nice hotels for
$55/nt or sometimes less, by using Priceline. It is a bit of a
gamble-- you CAN end up a bit far away-- but the hotels are all
nice. I am especially proud of managing to get a room in the nicest
hotel in King of Prussia (attached to the event) when I was teaching
at BeadFest, with a whirlpool tub, for $55-- half the “special event
price”. Made me feel very clever.


Assuming you choose Revere; assuming you get your hands on the BART
routes, the other option for housing is to check Craig’s List for
sublets or apartment sharing. You can also post a free ad looking for
a sublet during the time frame you need.


I haven’t spoken on this topic up to this point because I have
attended Revere but not North Bennet. However, having attended
Revere several times over the past few years, I can speak to housing.
I have always found housing within 6 blocks or so of the school
within my price range. The last time I was at class I had to be there
for an extended period of time so my criteria shifted and I had to
find a hotel with adequate internet service. This time was more
expensive then the past time when I was in a small, but comfortable,
room in a Chinatown hotel. So far I have been far more uncomfortable
with the variety of street people in the downtown area than I have
been with any of the accommodations I have chosen. But as with
anything else - you get what you pay for and very inexpensive in one
of the most expensive cities in the US will usually be suspect. And
my vote would be for Revere - great teachers, intensive but
well-structured class settings, etc. Great school.

Sandi Graves, Beadin’ Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co (Beadstorm)
Saint Paul, Minnesota USA

I took some setting courses at Revere. It was also my first vacation
in ages. Being familiar with San Fransisco I knew that Chinatown
would be safe being that its crammed with tourists at almost all
hours, and I knew it would be fun. I think that the hotel was called
the Grant Plaza and it was about $65 a night in the winter, the room
was tiny and shabby but I never felt unsafe there or around there. I
went walking every morning before class and before the crazies were
out. All the way down to Lombard Street and up Lombard Steet and

After class I spent the rest of evenings browsing in the upscale
stores. I couldn’t afford to eat out so I bought fruits and
vegetables from the various little markets around on my morning
walks and supplemented with convenience food from the drug store or
Mcdonalds. I lost several pounds that week.

I learned a lot too. Well thought out instruction.