Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Lessons Learned

No One is born a jewelry artist. It takes time and commitment. It also takes education, whether formal or gained through trial and error. The style of an artist’s education usually affects their work philosophy. It also affects the way they teach, which may emulate their own learning method or drastically oppose it.

Here we’ve profiled three well-known and established jewelry artists who have chosen to pass their skills on through teaching. Each method of teaching is as unique as the artist.

Joe Silvera

Co-owner, Silvera Jewelry School Berkeley, California

How did you get interested in jewelry making?

I started as a fine arts major in college. All art majors were required to take some electives outside their focus. My roommate had taken the beginning jewelry course and it looked interesting, so I signed up. As soon as I heard the ringing sound of hammers on metal, I was hooked. I changed majors and I’ve been making jewelry ever since.

How did you learn?

In the early 1990s, I finished my BFA in jewelry and metalsmithing at the California State University at Long Beach. My teachers, Al Pine and Dieter Muller Stach, were well-known metalsmiths, and I benefited greatly from the depth of their knowledge and experience. Dieter taught us the German traditions of precision and quality, and Al taught us how to be creative, innovative and how to make tools.

After college I thought about getting a Master’s degree, but I wanted to learn more about making jewelry for production, so I apprenticed at a few local shops. I remember my first day at the bench

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