Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Seeking advice, jewelry education programs

GIA Grad. Jewelry Program VS NASJ Grad. Jewelry Program

I am looking a going back to school and I need help deciding where
to spend my time and money. I have a BFA in Metals but I still feel
as though I am lacking key skills to start my of jewelry business. I
am between GIA’s Graduate Jewelry program and New Approach School of
Jewelry Graduate Jewelry program. If you have gone to either or both
and have an opinion I’d appreciate your thoughts.



I think I have a pretty good feel of both. There are some students
of mine from the past who could also shed some light on it to help.
They have attended both.

I was a senior instructor and Manager of the JMA program for 10 years
at GIA Carlsbad World Headquarters. Circa 1998-2008. The program was
built around starting at the bench as if you don’t have any
experience at all. from basic through some intermediate projects were
taught. You learn how to file, sand, polish, saw, solder, laser weld,
how to anneal metals, pour ingots and set stones in various ways. It
is a 26 week program designed to get you into any entry level
position with what one might call…2 to 3 years of experience. We all
know some progress better than others so it is perceived this is a
ballpark figure. It is a program which is very expensive but you will
learn quite a bit at those levels. If you feel you have those skill
sets and basic setting techniques in prong, bezel, a little bead and
bright set, then I would say you might want to lean toward Blaine
Lewis and the New Approach School for say different techniques and
possibly more advanced skill sets. So my advice would be to "grade"
your own level of expertise and make your choice accordingly. If the
expense is the issue for you take all of this into consideration with
travel, residence and length of time. Choose your courses/programs on
what you need. It sounds like with a BFA your skills can be honed
rather quickly. Always remember there are many techniques to
accomplish the end result, some which are more proven than others.

Good Luck!

Russ Hyder
The Jewelry CAD Institute.

have a BFA in Metals but I still feel as though I am lacking key
skills to start my of jewelry business. 

What’s the business model you’ll be undertaking? Traditional jewelry



Much depends on what skills you believe you are lacking, and what
kind/type of business you have in mind to start up.

Can you elaborate?.. What’s your goal(s)?


I have a BFA in metals as well, but I felt that I was lacking in
basic jewelry making skills. I take workshops all over the country
and have found them all to be very helpful, however I was lucky
enough to spend 3 weeks at the Revere Academy in San Francisco a few
summers ago and have found that tobe invaluable! I want to go back
and complete the rest of the program as soon as I can.

Karen Tagg
Art Teacher, BFA, M. Ed.

I like both Revere and New Concepts as well as the school in Paris

Though actually the fastest way to learn bench skills is to get a
job in a busy trade shop. Really and truly. You get paid and you
learn in real time.

I can be tough to do and very humbling, and you have to learn to
think fast on your feet, but worth it. Every day you see something
new and you learn how a business is run for profit. Jarreds is good
about bringing along new goldsmiths in their shops as well.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

First question to ask yourself, what skills are you lacking? What
knowledge and techniques are the gaps in your education? Then seek
out where to achievethose skills.

We started Jewelry Studies Intl with the concept of teaching a good
foundation of basic skills to build on (which you have already
gained in through your degree in metals). But then, in our Advanced
Jewelry Arts section, we takeyou further into production for the
studio, CAD/CAM, and advanced model making. One of my favorite
classes to teach is Fabrication for Production. Youneed to
understand the shrinkage factors if ever duplicating your work.

After I graduated from college with a degree in metals and Art
Education, I found my skills to be very lacking. I sought out those
that could teach me what I dreamed of: Jean Stark, John Cogswell,
Heiki Seppa, among many others. All were major influences in my
life, each giving me the invaluable knowledgeI so desperately

And advice from my mentors: Be careful of your influences when you
are trying to develop your own voice.

Ronda Coryell
Jewelry Studies International


Be sure to check out the curriculum at any school you might consider.
Someare focused to train you as a bench jeweler with skills needed to
get a jobin a jewelry store to fix things and set stones most
commonly done in that environment. If you want to be a bench jeweler,
new Approach would be a good choice, but if it is to make your own
line of jewelry, check out Jewelry Studies International in Austin,
TX. I have taken classes there and the curriculum is awesome! They
teach anything from basics to advanced model making for production.
Both Ronda and Vasken are master goldsmiths and well respected inthe
industry. They taught together at Revere Academy for 11 years before
leaving to open their own school. I took gold granulation from Ronda
about 8 years ago and have followed her to the new school. I’m at JSI
taking another class this week in torch fired enameling and continue
to expand my knowledge and skills by taking classes that fit to what
I need to know.