Women in Jewelry Schools

For those of you teach professional jewelry classes, or are
affiliated with professional schools, Revere Academy, Texas Jewelry
Institute, etc., how many students are women? I’ve been seeing a long
trend with more and more women taking up the profession of bench
jewelers, stone setters, designers.

Just curious.


Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio

Karen, and to all who are just as curious.

To give you a Canadian example, out of an estimated classroom of 12
students the numbers are about 60+ % ARE WOMEN. I am not at all
surprised, why? They excel in hand to eye co-ordination, finer
hand-controls than the men, honestly! Not too mention, women ARE much
better in designing, too. But as for the “setting aspect”; men seem
to have more upper-arm musculature.

I know with this statement, I might be inundated with men writing to
me and throwing pebbles at me…:>) But again, it’s just my simple
unbiased observation…

Gerry Lewy!..:>)

Hi Karen,

My last 4 workshops and jewelry classes had a combined total of 59
students, only 4 of whom were gentlemen. This included classes at the
Revere Academy, Metalwerx, a city parks and rec center (Tucson ADC)
and a Primedia event

(Lapidary Journal’s Jewelry Arts Expo). More than 50% of the
students in these classes are jewelry professionals. 94% are female.

Michael David Sturlin

We have over 50 percent in gemology. (7 women) and 12 women in
jewelry arts


over three years and in classes no larger than 10-12, of 116 people
8 were male, and one person was “in process” of i guess what could be
best described as both. the rest female…

Hi Karen,

When I studied in the 80’s 75% were female students.



Nice observation, I think that if you dig into your students
Socioeconomic background you will discover some interesting trends.
My guts saying that most of the female students are over 40 and have
a supporting husband (i.e. they are not dependent on jewelry making
as their major income source). What your statistics show? Did you
change your marketing plans accordingly or this thread is part of
your marketing research…?


Hi Karen,

I have taught enamelling part time at UMass-Dartmouth for several
years. It has been rare for me to have a male student, even though
enamelling is a required course for graduation. This semester I had
2 guys in a class of 11 people. Some semesters have been all women.
The graduating group of seniors this year was all women (I think 6
in all). They also graduated 4 female MFA students, and 1 fella.

When I was at Penland School as a CORE student in the late 1990s we
used to remark on the ratio of women to men. All of us single girls
would joke around that we were at Penland Convent for Crafts. None
of us could get a date to save our lives.

This trend of women in the Crafts, not just jewelry, quite a

Troy Hines (a woman jeweler with a strange name)

Out of my last five Jewelry Design classes 80% of the students were
female. The balance of males to females in all other jewelry classes
is about 50 - 50.

Marge Mersky


Metalwerx has predominately a female population, ages 30-60,
although we do have 3 men in our community now.

As far as marketing for the school, my strategy isn’t to a
particular gender, but more, who is my general audience. My husband
who graduated from MIT used to comment on the number of men to women
ratio in the early 70’s which was about 27 to 1. Now it has dropped
significantly to about 8 to 1. Quite a dramatic shift. I am finding
more women doctors, scientists, chemists and the occasional woman at
the finals in the poker championship.

Honestly, I was just curious to see if the trend at Metalwerx was
similar to other places. Was it a case of women in crafts vs women as
professional bench jewelers.

When I attend the MJSA Members annual meeting in Providence, you can
count the woman members at that meeting on your right hand. The male
attendance was about 35 to 1.

There was no agenda in the question, just curious.


Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


I know with this statement, I might be inundated with men writing
to me and throwing pebbles at me..:>) But again, it's just my
simple unbiased observation....

Not from me, I enjoy the aspects of jewelry making but I have had to
take some extraordinary steps to compensate for what the ladies do
naturally and intrinsic to their nature and training. Things like
color coordination, holding small things in place while soldering
(and getting it square buy eye) adding detail where structurally none
is required. I could go on at great lengths about my faults in
jewelry making and attempts. Another thing that comes to mind is, at
one time I was responsible for an engineering team and I was not
getting good results from a good 3rd of my team and they were
starting to develop a schism between the men and women in the CDR’s
and other meetings. I found it was my fault, I took a class on sexual
communication and it was eye opening in more ways than one and then
I forced the rest of them to take it. The overall result was by the
time the project was done we were all pleased with the result, and
each with our own contributions. More importantly, it has become a
standard of design in lightning protection. For my part a new found
respect for “it looks better”.


It is really i right observation as I have seen alot of women in gold
jewelry manufacturing field as I have been in 14 countries from
Hongkong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore etc this is are the main
manufacturing counries in Asia as there are alot of factories of 100
plus workers where I have seen nearly above then 95% of in the
factories as they are hard working less expensive then men as they
are not paid equal to men that is the negative point only otherwise
ladies well done.

Hi there -

I’m a female MIT graduate, class of 95 (undergrad) and 01 (grad).
When I was there, the ratio was down to about 3.5 to 1 male/female.
Or so they said. So it’s getting even better than you thought.

Christa Starr
Jewelry Geek

Women were the majority until 3 years ago. The University were I
teach jewelry made jewelry a required course for all pre-dental
students. As a result I started getting science majors hence more men
started to show up for class. Now I also get pre-medical students
mostly men, especially would be surgeons. Since I got the grant for
the CAM equipment in conjunction with the Engineering Dept. I now do
a 3 weeks lecture to all the mechanical engineering students on
investment casting and they make a piece. They are 98% male!!

One engineering student did an advanced study class with me were he
designed via CAD an engagement ring for his girlfriend. Then he went
to the bank and got a student loan for ‘school supplies’ so he could
buy the diamond and gold.

Sue Dorman