About Jeanette K Caines


I started at Jewelry Arts Institute about 24 years ago.  I was taking a few college art courses at the time but I knew I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I literally woke up one morning and knew I wanted to be a jeweler. I’ll go ahead and date myself but I went to the library and looked through all the phone books to find jewelry schools. It seemed at the time that all the jewelry schools were in Manhattan and here I was in New Jersey. I know all about the shame of growing up in New Jersey. I wrote away (snail mail)  to a few and Jewelry Arts was the only one that responded with a brochure. To the rube I was, Institute sounded like a large brick building  with many people in white coats on a respectably large campus. I called JAI and asked to be connected to the Financial Aid department. JAI was at that time on a third floor walk-up on 79th and Broadway. Lucky me, I got Myron Bikakis on the phone, instructor and designer of Bikakis & Johns. He snickered and said, “What do you think this is, Princeton? ” At that point I think I just hung up and resolved never to confess my idiocy. Oh, wait…

I signed up for classes anyway and couldn’t wait to start. My experience on the phone clearly taught me nothing so I packed my lunch. After all, who knows if the campus had a lunch place….. The class was the most fun I ever had so I just kept coming. After two years I caught wind of the school’s apprentice program so I approached the school’s owner, Bessie Jamieson. She seemed pretty underwhelmed by the idea but she took me on anyway. Lucky for me! Today I am Director of Jewelry Arts Institute and in charge of our website and all our web promotion, facebook, instagram, etc. An unlikely result but one I couldn’t be more pleased about.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

jeanettecaines June 28, 2011 at 11:53 am

We have students of all ages in our classes, including some in their 80’s so don’t count yourself out yet! Jeanette

Nan June 25, 2011 at 9:05 am

Just a note to your students and the work they have done. It is interesting has both contemporary and vintage (sometimes at the same time) looks and all I have seen are incredible in their own way.
I am a jewelry collector from vintage costume jewelry from the 20’s -40’s, paste jewelry and whatever I find in box lots, some I remake and re-purpose but I save mostly for my children. I do make wire-wrapped jewelry and love the craft -I wish I were 20 years younger and attending your school.

Nan Borton, MSW, DSW, PsyD

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