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What is a master goldsmith?


#1

What is exactely is a master goldsmith? and how do i become one?

Seamus Olsen
12 year old goldsmith (experience)


#2

Seamus,

Here is my explanation of what the term Master Goldsmith is based
on. From my own experience in this trade.

I started in this trade as an indentured apprentice when I was 15
years old in 1961. This indentured apprenticeship had papers which
were signed at a ceremony, held in the Goldsmith’s Hall, City of
London. I was apprenticed to a Master Goldsmith. At the age of 21, I
completed my apprenticeship and at another ceremony held at the
Goldsmith’s Hall, I was granted my freedom from the indentured
apprenticeship and then became a freeman of the Worshipful Company
of Goldsmiths.

From the age of 21, in the workshop I was known as a Journeyman
goldsmith, this is a journey between the end of apprenticeship and
being a master. After two years of being a journeyman goldsmith, I
was asked to train an apprentice myself. This apprentice also signed
his indentures at the Goldsmith’s Hall and from that moment I became
a Master Goldsmith. In simple terms I was master to an apprentice.

I have trained two apprentices in my time so I am now called a
Master Goldsmith.

I hope this all makes sense.

peace and good health to all orchidians.

James Miller FIPG in the UK
https://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/jmdesign.htm
http://www.ipgold.org.uk


#3

Seamus-I’ve been at this game for 39 years. A “Master Goldsmith” is
someone who when he/she really #$ up, can fix it so that no one
would ever know anything had happened. “How do I become one?” My
advice is to mess up a whole lot.

Jo
www.timothywgreen.com


#4

Seamus

Oh you’ll get tons on that. check the archives for past clashes on
this topic… My take on it is that you must have students in order
to be a master. get apprentice, trainee, give workshops and voila,
you are a master goldsmith too!


#5

The term Master Goldsmith is probably most accurately defined by
James and Mark as the trainer of an apprentice. In the US it has
become somewhat more loosely defined as Jo describes as one that can
invisibly fix what they screw up. It has virtually no real meaning
in America as anyone that wants to be called a “Master Goldsmith” can
just hang their shingle, have it printed on their business card and
be one.

The Jewelers of America (JA) has given the term some meaning by
establishing a series of tests designed to determine a jeweler’s
skill level. The term they have come up with is the Certified Master
Bench Jeweler (CMBJ). In order to receive this designation a
goldsmith must demonstrate their ability to make a hinged silver box
with a domed top and bead set CZs, a three stone fabricated platinum
ring and carve a wax.to specific proportions, all within a specified
time frame (this was the test several years ago, it may be different
now). There are obviously more details to the projects, and I would
refer you to JA to get the specifics. One must also pass the tests
for the lower levels before taking the CMBJ test. Unfortunately the
general public has virtually no knowledge of this program, so it
carries almost no extra weight with anyone outside the trade. It is
really only useful as a resume item for prospective employees. And
that really is a shame.

In my humble opinion, the British, German and other European
governments in cooperation with the trade have established meaningful
criteria as to what a “Master” truly is. When I hear the term “Master
Jeweler” applied to a person from the UK, Germany or Austria, I know
the type and quality of work they are capable of and the experience
level that they are at as a minimum. When I hear that term used to
describe an American goldsmith, I have absolutely no idea what that
person can or cannot do, what their experience is or what level of
quality they are able to achieve. When I hear it applied using the JA
term CMBJ, I know it means that the goldsmith in question is most
probably a very accomplished goldsmith, but there is no real
guarantee that they are capable of anything other than what is
specifically on the test.

At least the Jewelers of America has done something to give the term
Master Jeweler some real meaning. I would love to see the jewelry
industry in the USA begin to establish European-like programs of
apprenticeship, journeymen and masters. Heck, we can do it for
plumbers, why not goldsmiths?

Then the term Master Goldsmith would mean something more than the
ability to have business cards printed.

Dave


#6
The term Master Goldsmith is probably most accurately defined by
James and Mark as the trainer of an apprentice. In the US it has
become somewhat more loosely defined as Jo describes as one that
can invisibly fix what they screw up. It has virtually no real
meaning in America as anyone that wants to be called a "Master
Goldsmith" can just hang their shingle, have it printed on their
business card and be one. 

As I understand it, the above statement is accurate and correct. In
America, in the context of that statement, I consider the term to be
something someone uses to describe someone ELSE…As for people
calling themselves that in Americe without James Miller’s
credentials, the only man I’ve known personally that I would truly
call the term Master Goldsmith had skills on another galaxy from
those who merely wished they were. Incredible craftsman, truly
beyond…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#7

Hi David, yes we can do something about it, it is very simple but no
one wants to do it.

A registered apprentice program is required to have an authentic
apprenticeship program in place.

A union generally accompanies an apprenticeship program and jewelers
(employers) do not want that and I can understand why, it is a big
hastle when you only have one employee, i.e. a bench jeweler and to
spend considerable time accounting to the apprenticeship standards
board. Also, our industry is not much like the other trades, in that
the big trades are hugely organized and that did take some serious
time and money.

And I do agree that it is a shame that the JA program really does
not carry the same definition, yes, it does say you can do certain
things. They are trying, I have had meetings with them and they are a
sincere group of jewelers working at this program to be evolving
further and carrying much more weight.

So how do we solve this? By developing a plan for levels of
expertise, the master jeweler as we define the European Master
Goldsmith. Taking the test is good but the criteria of having trained
others and know how to show.

Most everyone thinks the same when the word “Master Goldsmith” comes
up. It is the tried and true well studied and experienced jeweler.

So, go for it, set some standards, put it out there, JA will embrace
the support of the local comunity. I think.

It is not a reinventing the wheel, it is a matter of providing more
for the package.

Hook up! Dee