I have been to both the Revere Academy and the New Approach School,
as an instructor and as a student (yes, even I still take
workshops). Both schools are excellent. You may pay a little more
for the workshops, but the level of instruction and the studio
facilities make these workshops a bargain for the serious bench
Blaine Lewis offers a very intense, comprehensive stone setting
class in a state-of-the-art studio. You can watch the instructor
working through a video microscope on a large screen monitor. The
stonesetting class covers a lot of different types of setting
techniques. Blaine is an excellent instructor. I sent my son to
learn stonesetting from Blaine.
The Revere Academy also teaches stonesetting as a part of their
regular curriculum. The classes are intensive, and geared toward
professionals. The Master's Symposium is a little different. Every
year, Alan Revere invites prominent master craftsmen from around the
world to teach a five day workshop. I will be teaching a bezel
setting workshop this year. Five days of bezels! There a lot of
different types of bezels, different styles of bezels, and different
ways to make and set bezels. I will be doing more than just
demonstrating the proper way to make and set a stone in a bezel...I
want each person to develop their own "signature" style of setting.
Whitney Boin's "Post" ring is an example of a bezel that only covers
the girdle of the stone. Todd Reed's bezels hold rough diamonds, and
the way that he closes the bezel is an important element of his
I don't know of any schools in the Chicago area that teach
stonesetting to the level that you would find at Revere or New
Approach. Most schools and workshops seem to offer more to beginning
jewelers. For the most part, they tend to use cabochon stones and
silver. I think you may be at the point of seriously upgrading your
skill level, in terms of technique and materials.
A workshop at either school would be money well spent.