If you've always wanted to be a jeweler instead of whatever it is that you ended up being, or if you like to make jewelry and you've decided that you'd like to be really really good at it, or if you just like to learn things when you're on vacation, the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts might be worth checking out.
It's located on the 9th floor of the Phelan Building, on Market Street in downtown San Francisco. Their two classroom studios are more spacious than most of the other places I've taken jewelry-related classes. They're also extremely well equipped. And
if there's something that you need and don't have, Frei & Borel (a well-known supplier of tools and equipment for jewelers) is right next door and will give you a 5% discount if you show them your Revere
Academy student ID.
It must be said that this place is a little like boot camp. There's not much creativity involved. They tell you exactly what you're going to make, and exactly how you're going to make it. Class size is limited to 15 students. The classes usually last two or three days, and are very intense. The instructors cram a lot of information into your head in a very short time.
Many classes are centered around weekends, so that you miss as little time at work as possible, but they have classes seven days a
week. They teach everything from basic fabrication and casting to stone setting to stone identification. They even have a two day course that focuses on nothing but polishing and finishing! A three day class will currently set you back about $500.
They also have diploma programs that will certify you to be a jewelry technician or a bench jeweler. The shortest diploma program involves 235 hours of instruction in essential bench skills, and costs around $5000 (not including the tools you'll probably have to buy). The most comprehensive option involves twice as much classroom time and twice as much money, and presumably leaves you twice as qualified to wield a torch or a hammer.
They offer informal placement assistance to graduates of their diploma programs who can still stand the sight of a hammer. They also rent studio space to enrolled students.
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