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The dream curriculum making jewelry

you know i love my ganoksin family but… the dream curriculum
making jewelry in an orderly fashion

Hi everyone supernovice here i have been back and forth to Liloveve
in Brooklyn, 92nd St. YMCA, Ceceila Bauer classes classes classes,
Brooklyn ones so far it takes two hours BOTH WAYS by public
transportation, classes so expensive for my little civilian with the
NYPD civil servant salary to having me live on eating oddles of
noodles for weeks after paying for them. So far i’ve learned:

Flush setting, filigree, intro to enamelling, why do instructors
teach what they want to teach and not what i want to learn??? i’m
doing this again at the School Of Visual Arts until december, still
on bezel setting cabochons, making rudimentary stack like rings.
it’s so frustrating. At the rate of learning and my salary i will
never be finished.

It appears now that i have had a chance to look at the overall
picture that i need to improvise. I am going to have to teach myself
some of the things i want to do or perish. I can get hold of Victoria
Lansford DVD’s on Repousse, and I can probably do well with that.
get my own pitch and bowl. However – making clasps such as the box
or others i will consider anyone who has a DVD that goes through it

As for the Ganoksin conversation about Making Lever backs and
Omega’s well i’ll just have to buy them already made that’s that.

I am soooo disappointed that teachers don’t teach the way a person
wants to learn. If i want to build a locket, with a stone set on top
damn it – i shouldn’t have to be told that I have to learn how to
make a ring or how to make a bezel or make some stupid thing i would
not want to wear in the first place. I hate to say this to anyone
who teaches but i feel as though i’ve been nickeled and dimed to
damn near death!!!

So far i have learned bezel setting on a 4mm cab, chain making
vis-a-vis Jean Stark (love the book) some soldering, filigree work,
flush setting - i can flush set 3mm or higher smaller stones i can’t
keep steady hands. Jesus - Mary and Joseph!!! I want to make a
repousse locket or poisoner ring!!!. I want to make a box clasp
with a safety for God’s sakes!!! I want to set prongs efficiently. I
want to set pear shape, heart, and square, every time i enter a damn
class i hear the regretable “Oh your not ready for that yet!” S ugar
H oney I ce T ea!!!

Teach me what i want stop discouraging me it’s making me really hate
taking up this endeavor. Not only that i am working my way through
the books – Dana Buscaglia’s Rhino Jewelry as well as Eliania
Rosetti’s book they are do it yourself, with exercises that take you
from beginner to advanced. I can understand computer software
mastery as being complex

but Jewelry schools are piecing up classes into seperate entities to
the point of being a RIP OFF!!! Why not have a class that you take
all of six months to a year: BELOW : This would be my perfect
curriculmn for one set price period when i finished i would be able
to think & make jewelry for myself WITHOUT AN INSTRUCTOR.

THE DREAM CLASS - One class with the following teaching schedule
every week ONCE A WEEK three hours a week

1-Soldering exercises period, safety in the workshop - torches, eye
protection period first class always. Duration - ONE WEEK

  1. Chain making fusing wire, jumprings / alloying Gold period take
    the plunge buy $300,00 worth of gold.

the project would be a .999 Silver - LOOP IN LOOP bracelet, with
simple “S” clasp: the student would have to get Jean Stark’s Book and
do stuff on their own as homework.

you should know how metals are made /blended period. (3) three weeks

  • three hours a week)

the project would be a.999 Silver - LOOP IN LOOP bracelet, with
simple “S” clasp: the student would have to get Jean Stark’s Book
and do stuff on their own as homework.

you should know how metals are made /blended period. (3) three weeks

  • three hours a week)

one month passed.

Month Two:

3-Bezel setting any shape any size period. (3 Stack Rings (one oval,
one square, one heart shape, / Pendant (round bezel stone) part of
the class would include OPEN BACK BEZELS. (this would take about a

Month Three:

4-Prongs setting any shape - creating undergalleries & azures
piecing with saws (Main project: Earrings any kind two different
shaped stones a focal stone and dangle) lessons on re-tipping
prongs, repairing jewelry why teach someone about making jewelry and
not teach them how to fix it (this doesn’t make sense not to have
this in a single class!!!) (6) six weeks) 1 1/2 month for this

Month Five:

5-Basic Flush / Gypsy setting / Pave Bead Bright setting (1 Bangle
project flush set stones and some pave the bracelet would be hollow

  • have hinges and box closure with safety clasp) (another option for
    a project in the class would be a locket but since the Bangle
    Bracelet is hollow learning how to make it is similar to making a
    locket, they have to fit two hemispheres together and lock and hinge
    so a student should have the choice of making one or the other.

(this is called getting someones feet in the water making them feel
competent ) (class duration six (6) weeks because it’s one project )

Month Six:

6-LOST WAX creating designs in wax, period. (3) three weeks a very
simple ring or pendant project, Three weeks for one project to cast
should be enough time.

Specialized class an introduction by way of smaller projects — to
four (4) different specialties a chance for the student to pick what
they are atune to e.g.,: Eastern European Repousse, (small project)
Granulation, (small project how to do it) Fold Forming (small
pendant project an overview) Enamelling like repleve or something
the project for enamelling would be a bead that the person can be
proud of.

I would pay a few thousand dollars for this i’d take a pension loan
and make monthly payments sign a contract honor the person who took
the time to educate me like an intelligent human being instead of
baby teaching me tiny little stupid bezel steps for years i’m really
tired of being treated like i’m not able to grasp the concept of
going further than making bezel settings.

It really makes my confidence go to a very low place when i feel as
though i don’t know enough about something or someone is withholding
showing me how to do something proficiently. i don’t feel
challenged, I don’t feel stimulated. Learning at this rate is just

Yes i left out channel setting all kinds of other stuff that’s for a
person who wants to pursue advanced stuff the dream curriculmn i
placed in SEVEN parts above is what a real person wants to learn and
it’s a damn shame ----you have to take little classes here and there
and spend THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS searching and learning things tiny
little increments. I really dislike that instruction in jewelry
making is not straight forward it’s more hit and miss. I’ve decided
until i get what i want i’m going to have to learn it on my own.


Go to FIT. All the teachers work in the trade or are retired from
the trade. And these are credited, full semester courses. Of course,
they will not teach to your syllabus. But the techniques you will
learn will be applicable to anything you want to make. Here’s a link
to the continuing ed courses offered this Fall

Elliot Nesterman

Dear Sabra,

If you wanted to be a pastry chef, you would go to a school that had
a curriculum that starts with basics and progresses through more
difficult skills building on basics.

If you took a muffin workshop one place, cake workshop another, bread
making at another, there would be no building of how and why
ingredients are used and how they are mixed one way in one recipe,
and another way for something else. The reality is that goldsmithing
as a vocation should be taught from the standpoint of learning to
design, then learn the basics and building skills in relation to what
you are designing. This concept is practiced in some countries, not
much the U.S. One of the schools you could go to that would have a
more integrated course would be G.I.A. Jewelry Arts Program. 26
weeks, $16,000, and you would not learn to make a locket… You can
contact Revere Academy and find out which class you would take to
learn to make a locket. They have an impressive list of classes you
can take individually. There are 34 classes.

Perhaps it would be wise to practice what you learn in one class
unti= l you are really proficient and can produce something that is
excellent in design and craftsmanship, and then learn another
technique and do the same. Taking a lot of classes and workshops and
not practicing until you are proficient is going to end up in
frustration. I know there is a buffet style learning mentality. I
have seen the results. It is the rare person who can integrate
various techniques and have a result that is cohesive.

You might be able to find someone who would charge by the session
and teach you specifically what you want to learn at the speed of your
ability. It seems that you have a goal to know everything,( repousse,
Rhino ), however learning to do everything and do each well is quite
a different goal.

Good luck!
Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.

Hi Sabra,

As I read through your ideal curriculum, I thought, “Wow, Sabra must
be a super-fast learner.” I am a beginner (in my third year of
jewelry school which I attend once a week for 3 hours), and I know
that I haven’t been able to master the techniques you describe in the
time you suggest. Truth is, I haven’t mastered all those techniques
in three years. In addition to jewelry school, I’ve had two weeks (80
hours total) in wax carving, and I am still very much a beginner. I
spent 15 hours on forging and flush setting and my stuff looks very
amateurish. I now have reasonable success soldering pieces that don’t
fall apart in the pickle. So, I am in awe of your ability to learn
and incorporate jewelry techniques so quickly. I hope that you find a
teacher who will teach you what you want to learn and I hope that you
will report back to us on how it was.


Sabra- I understand your frustration.

When Tim and I teach private students one on one, we first ask to see
their work and then ask them what they want to accomplish. We then
tailor the classes to for the student. When you take group classes
the teachers have to accommodate everybody and they don’t have the
luxury of tailoring their teachings to each student. We also always
teach in 4 hour segments as that is the minimum time needed to really
get anything done. Private lessons will get you up to speed faster
than group classes but are good bit more expensive.

That said I still feel the best and fasted way to learn to make
jewelry is to plunge in and get a job as a shop grunt. Start out
polishing and sweeping floors, making coffee, and running errands.
Then after awhile they’ll let you size a ring or two, solder some
chains etc. until your skills will start to make them money. Then
they will move you from the polishing room to a bench. Your life
will suck and you will be humbled every day for about two years but
it’s worth the effort and time.

I feel that it takes at least 5 years to learn most of the basics.
Then another 5 to master them.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

You can’t learn 10 years of skills in 6 months, slow down and
practise what you have been taught.

Sounds to me, I don’t want to offend, that you don’t have the
patience to make a jeweller.

What you want is not the point. What you need is the point of class.
I doubt you would have made it through the first project at the
school I learned at. Which was to make a 30mm sphere with a saw and
hammer. Those who did became silversmiths. Those who couldn’t stayed
in hobby land.


If you want to cherry-pick the curriculum, look for workshops
instead of classes. Sometimes you have to look at distant locations
to find what you want. Private lessons work well for this too.

As far as making jewelry pieces during classes, I’ve been told by a
number of instructors that students demand this. They want something
to take away and show their friends that they made.

Jamie King,


That would be ideal for you, but if it is not a one on one class it
is not ideal for everyone. I loathed (even loathe is not strong
enough) learning math. I did it and excelled at it just so I
wouldn’t have to take it again in school. Glad I had the darn math
background when I ended up in physics in college when I was in my mid

Teachers have to look at the group not the individual and that one
person’s wants. I’ve taught classes where people signed up for
advanced jewelry techniques, that didn’t even know how to file, let
alone solder. That holds the rest of the class up. Students get
angry that they had to wait and go through another demonstration of
the basics. So if you change from school to school, you will
encounter teachers who want to make sure you know the basics.

I applaud you going the extra mile and learning on your own. As is
said here over and over again, practice, practice, practice. If there
is something in particular you want to learn and can’t get it via DVD
or the Stark lady you talk about, ask one of the schools if they can
get in a visiting teacher who does teach that specific technique. I
understand that to travel other than the NYC area would be beyond
your means. We all know how that goes.

DVD’s and books can teach a lot, but I have yet to see it be better
than up close and personal in person teaching. I’ve had Victoria’s
classes in the distant past, and was able to ask questions that were
not answered on the DVD. I’ve also had lessons from Vasken T. (not
going to mess up his last name), Ed Freidman, Ronda Cordell (probably
spelled her last name wrong), Alan Revere, and a host of others. Each
one with little twists to the basics that I did not get from the
others. I now use a method that is a version of three different
teachings on how to do a bezel setting. I get it perfect each time,
and horrors it flies in the face of what is posted here. Yet I took
what all these different teachers taught me and practiced and learned
it from their demonstrations.

Never look at learning from someone as a waste of time and your
money. If you are open and ask questions, and practice, you too might
hit on a method that no DVD or book has. There are gems to be learned
from each person you take time to learn from.

As for a DVD on making boxes, get the one that Alan Revere did. It
is available at Rio Grande. You don’t have to put the ribbon
decoration on it, but it is another process that has great value that
at first might not seem worth it. To make a poison ring, you still
need to know how to make a basic ring and bezel set a stone. Victoria
Lansford teaches the poison ring, and I’m sure she would if there are
enough for a class travel to NYC and your schools to teach.

BTW I use to drive two hours just to get from Franklin Tn. out to
Smithville TN, to take classes. Once we moved to the San Francisco
bay area, I rode BART from one of its furthest out lying stations to
get into SF for classes. That when I had young children and very
tight budgets. Also look in Valentin’s classes in repousse ( if you
can’t tell I can’t spell) in the NYC area. He is excellent.

the old lady in humid hot Florida

Sabra… No doubt you’ll get many responses. I’m not a
teacher, I’m just a fine goldsmith. Some use superlatives about me
but I do not. I’ll just answer few things, here over breakfast.
First off, the quote above illustrates much of what is wrong with
academic jewelry. I have sat there and watched it happen, over and
over - “OK, make a ring. It can be anything you want - be creative”.
Except that’s not teaching, it’s babysitting. Teaching is pushing
your limits, making you do work you don’t know that you need to do,
and ultimately making you cry because it’s so darn difficult and
you’re making me do it over and over and over and over and over again
until I finally get it right. If you, the student, knew what you
needed to know, then you wouldn’t be in school, now would you?

i can't keep steady hands. 

That’s because your hands aren’t trained, yet. Give it another couple
of years of doing what you don’t like - exercise - and you’ll be able
to push a stick pin right onto a period on a page -> (.)

And the rest, quickly - Month two? A two month student isn’t going
anywhere near setting anything in my shop. Same for month three, you
can forget about all of that for at least a year. Pave setting in
month 5? Are you dreaming? That’s HARD and even experienced setters
aren’t good at it, sometimes. Remember how you can’t keep steady
hands, yet.

And month six pretty much tells why you should stay in school and
study like your teacher says. 3 weeks for a wax and casting of a
simple ring or pendant. Three HOURS is a long time for that…
You seem like a nice lady. Goldsmithing is hard. No matter what you
do or how you do it you’re just not gonna be any good at it for a
good ten years. Keep at it and maybe you’ll get there.

Ms. Aggie thanks I love what you said. I know dvd’s can’t replace the
real thing but i’m keeping my expectations lower. I’m lucky i live in
NYC so that i can take a completed piece to someone that specializes
in lazer welding, or stone setters on 47th street they have it all.
Liloveve has a locket class it conflicts with my working at night.
Also i wish you would do a dvd on your Bezel setting technique i
would purchase it. I found all of Alan Revere’s dvd’s where i can
rent them how cheap is that! and a few others that are worth seeing.
also i plan on getting a foredom allset just the one that aligns
prongs. If i can do some prong settings, bezels, repousse and
filigree i’ll be happy. I don’t mind knowing a little if i can start
my own business in the next few years.

Thanks for being amazing, i have timed myself to take what skills i
can master and use and which skills i will ask a competent
professional to fine tune for me. for example i will do some
beautiful piercing and some repousse, go to 47th street have the
jewelers and stone setters do the hard stuff ican’t do. so my pieces
will have work worth buying. i want to master basic skills – prong
setting (i’m getting the Foredom allset attachment for even prongs)
i will probably rent a few dvds on the subject, i’m going to get
victoria Lansford’s Eastern European repousse dvd class and practice
that as well. those are kind of challenging but not so difficult so
that way i will see some pretty things made, i can go to
metalliferous, or myron toback for findings that look great. and
their are Lazer welders if i feel too intimidated. Furthermore, I do
own an ABI 2 tack fusion welder with the granulation attachment so
some of my stuff will be acceptable and worth someone purchasing.

Looking at the bigger picture all of you out there who have responded
to me. I’m 51 years young, i am praying my ideas are sound i can make
some parts and get professionals to help with others i’m not trying
to learn it all.

I just wanted basic locket making (liloveve has a class but it
conflicts my scheduling) and prong setting i would have gotten the
hang of it. Caroline at Liloveve is the most patient teacher i’ve
ever seen in my life. She helped me make a pendant in filigree class
that was worthy to give to my Doctor’s wife she loved it. so i know
i have some talent. Thank all of you!!!

Thank you Mr. Hopkins i always try to take advice with a grain of
salt, i am certain I can’t develop expertise in a few months i just
wanted a chance to see what making something i wanted would feel
like. making a sphere sounds difficult given that takes skill in
using a dapping block. even if a student’s first few projects come
out horrible at least they were told what it takes to get to that
point, i have no idea how hard it is to do something if i’m always
in Baby STeps.

i will take your comments under advisement.

Thank you i am honored by all of the responses i’ve had tough love
or no. Mr. Hart I thank you for understanding me somewhat - i’ve read
all of your comments and i agree with all of you. I should be
practicing what i’ve learned and you made a sailient point i should
not be going from place to place. but you also said something i’ve
been thinking about you said that in the US they don’t teach the same
as other places that start with a design and then creating from that
point. unfortunately i’m going to be trying to learn from books and
dvd’s for the next few months as i can only afford one class right
now at School of Visual Arts. I made the post so that i can get
feedback and believe me i appreciate it.


Again i respond with my Greatest Honor and appreciation, you are
right, but in 10 years i’ll be sixty one. I didn’t realize that in
trying to gain a new skill other than being a secretary for the
Police Dept. in New York would be so difficult. i pray i am able to
do some work that is worth purchasing so i can start my LLC
corrporation and have a logo made and makers stamp. I am seriously
worried i know i will probably never do pave work (i am sorry you
wouldn’t hire me at least for lite soldering and repousse) I live in
NYC so i would take my finished pieces to a stonesetter. I just had
asmall dream of doing personalized jewelry that i could sell when i
retire from this job that’s all. it’s really a leap of faith and a
trek into the unknown. if i can get away with doing some beautiful
piercing (i handle a saw pretty well) and some pretty repousse, i
can maybe buy the Foredom allset tool for doing prong work. I don’t
expect to ever ever try channel setting or tension setting so i know
you silver and goldsmiths have nothing to worry from me. I simply
wanted some work that had an air of professionalism and beauty
nothing too ostentatious. just some pretty swirls and cut outs and
gemmy stones well set nothing elaborate i leave that you all of you
thanks for your wonderful advice again !!!


Hi ronnie i know mastery takes longer than a few months, i wasn’t
speaking on mastery, i was speaking experiences i want to know how to
do something even if it comes out wrong i want the ability to say i
was taught that. i know making bezels some people master it with
doing five some people it takes five hundred times, i know that but
most instructors know there will be no mastery at first, but i am
talking about being introduced to a skill i want not being taught the
same skillset over and over.

Ronnie do you do homework that’s for repeated practice not classes.
going to new classes learning the same stuff over and over is not

thanks for writting!

contact Revere Academy and find out which class you would take to
learn to make a locket. They have an impressive list of classes
you can take individually. There are 34 classes. 

Oh, if I had the money, I’d fly out to California tomorrow and take
all the Revere classes. I would be happy to review things I already
know, practice, play, work. Classes every day, weekends practicing
(or crocheting or painting - hey, I’m a woman of many talents).
Immersing myself in learning and practicing the skills I have/will
acquire seems like heaven.

My dream curriculum already exists at several schools around the
country, Revere being at the top of my list. But, alas, disabled,
unemployed, and going broke, I can’t afford the trip, housing or
school. It’s a dream, but one I can’t give up just yet. Perhaps there
will come a day when things will change. Until then, I’ll muddle
along, picking up what I can here and there.


Hi Sabra

To make the sphere we did not use a dapping block. Just the dapping
punch held upright in a vice. That is the rod with the spherical
end, that fits in the dapping block. Held the disk with fingers and
hit disk with planishing hammer. Took me about a week. I had never
made anything in silver before and could only hammer for about 10
minutes before I needed a rest. The most important thing I learned
from this, apart from pay attention and try not to hit your fingers,
was that hammered silver flows in waves.

I could not understand why the older students kept laughing. When I
was swearing and almost screaming in frustration at times. They said
it was because they remembered the same experience, they were not
laughing at me but at their memories of themselves. After making the
sphere I turned it into a pendant container that slid open on a
chain. And I sold it, way far cool!

Then my teacher said I could make what I wanted so I wanted to make
rings. He taught me how. In our class we had all levels of students
making what they wanted. We worked step by step, often with
experienced students, many full time professional gold and
silversmiths, giving advice. When we finished each step we lined up
at the teachers bench and when we got to him he told us to go to the
next step or fix it. He would not let us go on if the quality was not
good. We also worked a full workshop day this was not hobby land,
even if you did not make jewellery for a living, you were expected to
work to professional standard. THIS INVOLVED LEARNING WHEN TO WALK

Then I learned to make rings with bezel set stones, cabs for
beginners. With the bezel is set into the shank. It took 3 hours
EACH to make the first 10, before I set the stone. I got the time
down to 1 hour. Asked the teacher how to improve the quality, “Go
back to 3 hours!”

I did and got it back to 1 hour and better quality. All I did for
months was make rings. The class though I was mad as they were doing
all kinds of cool stuff. In the end I could make rings as fast as
anyone, faster than anyone in the class and of better quality.
Except for the Japanese guy who hammer set opals in.7mm 18ct bezels
as a living. He went to class on his day off.

I made 500 of these and sold them all, it took a while, for $50 each
that is $25,000. Profit $20,000 materials were cheap in the good old
days. This is what I mean by practise. I still make these rings 30
years later and they still sell really well.

Why? Because the the shops are full of fancy jewellery claw set with
little stones usually 9ct disasters waiting to happen. Ever wonder
why there are so many repairs shops. Because it was rubbish to begin
with, a 9ct 4 claw,.5mm claw, set stone is going to break some time

I am very often asked to repair these. I look at the ring and VERY
FOR A FULL REFUND. You see in Australia it must be by law “FIT AND
PROPER FOR ITS INTENDED USAGE”. No time limit for these goods. My
friends in the trade are quality jewellers etc. That jewellery does
not make a statement like a good sized stone bezel set in a ring by
itself. Louis Comfort Tiffany knew this and his classic solitaire
diamond ring design is still a winner, NOTE THE 6 CLAWS ARE
PLATINUM. Today with a few thousand dollars worth of equipment anyone
can solder the components together and set the stone. He did it by

Want to inspire your self look at Rene Lalique the greatest to have
ever been.

OK read the rest of the posts you are not a complete newbie so some
of what is above may not be for you. But even a newbie can make
jewellery that is good enough to sell. However some of the things
you want to do are trades in their own right, and take years to
learn. Match your designs to your skill and the final piece will be

So you want to make a locket? Follow this link. If you make a mess
hammer, reticulate and set a stone in the metal, and make a pendant.
Then try again and again and again.


i am seriously worried i know i will probably never do pave work
(i am sorry you wouldn't hire me at least for lite soldering and

well sabra, maybe i will say that you are welcome for most or all of
those you replied to today. the thing is that you will be what you
will be, like everyone else here. that’s fine, that’s what we all
are. you can make your own jewelry to your heart’s content and be
happy and maybe even do well at it. don’t take anybody’s comments
personally, especially mine. it’s just that your expectations of what
schooling is going to give you were less than realistic. you just
have to crawl before you walk, that’s all.