A Home Study Course In Jewelry Making

by laurie jane kern on July 12, 2009

It has now been 6 months since I caught the silver bug. During this time, I have learned to solder, saw, roll, and texture silver. I have also been making stones set in silver for pendants, bracelets and chains.

So what’s next….

Take classes at the Revere School in San Fran. [I wish!]

Actually I am saving to take some classes at the Revere school, but until then, I went looking for a way to teach myself some more technique and improve my skills. So my search led me to several online book stores, jewelry suppliers and many other websites to read reveiws. [This is what I have been doing while I wait for my shoulder to heal]

I found quite a few books that detail the skills but I was also looking for a book that would give me some projects where I could use these new skills. Once I found several books, I asked my local bookstore if they could get copies – I actually want to look at the books before I purchase them. They said there was no obligation to purchase any of them, and so they did order 4 books for me.

A few weeks later the books came in and I must have spent 2 hours going through all of them. I then bought 2 of the book:

The Complete Jewelry Making Course by Jinks McGrath

Jewelry Making: Tips and Tricks of the Trade by Stephen O’Keeffe

Since I am now doing flexibility and strengthening in PT, and I can do limited silver work, I am starting with the book by Stephen O’Keeffe and I hope to work through the entire book, with a new project every week or two.

I will be showing each project in the posts to come.

laurie jane kern

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Cassandra August 19, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Hi Laurie,
Love the blog! I bought the book by Jinks McGrath and have to say that it is pretty good. I took a continuing education course at a college here in Toronto and was able to follow along with all of the terminology mentioned in the book. I was also able to revise all of the techniques that I had accomplished in the course, in the book, and learn a few new things along the way. The one thing that I find the book lacks is that there, in my mind, enough practice projects that show you all the techniques covered (only 6 projects available).

Another book that I picked up which I think is even better than the Jinks McGrath book is Step By Step Jewelry Workshop by Nicola Hurst. I think it does a better job of explaning all of the steps involved in a technique (hence the name, step by step) but it also has more projects available for on hand practice (it has 13 projects). Another thing to note is that all of the projects are very different from each other and has the book has a great resources section at the back of the book. It’s definitely something worth checking out.


Victoria Woollen-Danner July 16, 2009 at 10:11 am

Hi Laurie,
I’m looking forward to seeing your work in progress. You’ve approached teaching yourself skills in a really practical way. I’m self taught, for the most part, and I can appreciate the challenges ahead of you. If we ever get a critique group going it would be a benefit in my humble opinion.


Helen Hill July 13, 2009 at 12:07 am

Hi Laurie,

I bought the Stephen O’Keefe book too! In fact, that’s the book which shaped a great deal of what I do, from the list of tools, to how I first soldered, etc, etc. It was the first book I read cover to cover, to see “how it’s done”, and it was written in such a way that made me think “I can do that”. I’ve made many changes to my working methods, as a result of being an Orchid member, but his book is a great place to start. I wasn’t personally keen on his jewellery, but obviously you can modify the projects to better suit your own aesthetic. Happy making and hope your shoulder heals very soon.

Helen Hill

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