You don't need a studio or workshop to get started with your jewelry making experience. You can join our Soft Wax Modeling Class or begin customized tutoring with a small designated workspace, a computer or tablet, your phone, and a basic starter kit of tools and materials. The wax models you create with these foundation skills can later be cast into bronze, sterling, gold, or even platinum. Make molds of your favorite designs and you have the beginning of your own jewelry business from home!
You can begin making jewelry at home with a minimal $98.00 investment in our Soft Wax Tool Kit and a small optional investments in extra materials and additional tools. Add $195.00 per session for customized tutoring to follow your own vision; or $125.00 for one of our single session classes in basic Soft Wax Techniques. You will be on your way to creating charms, pendants, earrings, and even rings.
For wedding bands, classic ring styles, and any more intricate designs, we offer the Precision Wax Carving kit for $375.00. Then add $195.00 per session for customized group tutoring or $250.00 for one of our 2-session Precision Wax Carving Classes.
So, you've created the wax model of your design...now what? Your wax can be transformed into the metal of your choice through a process known as "lost wax casting". We offer precious metal and bronze casting as an additional charge service to our tutoring and class students, or you can research jewelry casting services in your area to have your waxes cast on your own. If you chose to have your waxes cast with us, we will review each wax and advise you of the metal cost, labor, and any potential problems. We will also work with you through tutoring to develop the best practices for your particular designs.
Our 1 and 2 session wax workshops and our tutoring fees are for instruction only, and do not include the cost of casting or polishing your pieces.
If you choose to have us cast your wax models, they will come out with a sprue (a small "nub" of metal that is the remnant of the channel into which the molten metal flowed) and a dull finish, sometimes referred to as a "casting skin", both of which are removed in a process known as finishing. If you want to learn to finish these rough castings yourself, you will need metal finishing and polishing tools, as well as additional instruction on how to use them. Alternatively, we offer various levels of finishing services on the pieces that we cast for you at an additional charge; you can choose to receive them as rough castings, partially finished, or completely polished and ready to wear or sell.
Many jewelry designs incorporate both lost wax casting and pre-made metal elements such as jump rings, bails, bezels or prongs. Assembly usually requires soldering the metal components or "findings" to your cast design. We can do this assembly for you at an additional charge, or we can assist you in procuring and setting up your own metal working tools and soldering station, allowing you to learn these advanced techniques through additional customized small group tutoring sessions. Keep in mind that metal working and soldering require a designated work space, a more substantial investment in tools, and more stringent safety considerations.
Does your design include gemstones? There are many ways to incorporate gems into your finished cast metal piece. These could include prong or bezel setting, bead or flush setting, channel or pave (all done in the finished metal), or even incorporating certain gems into your wax model and "casting in place". Stone setting in metal is an art unto itself that requires additional tools, patience, and practice. Though somewhat more challenging outside of our studio environment, you can master these techniques through our customized small group tutoring sessions. Alternatively, we offer a full array of stone setting services to our students at an additional cost.
There are two things essential to successful participation in our online jewelry making sessions; you have to have a decent size screen to see the techniques being demonstrated, and we need to see see you working and have the ability to see your project close up. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this; the easiest is a tablet or laptop with a webcam, and a cell phone with the ability to text and receive photos. When you sign up for tutoring or a class, you will receive detailed instructions on how we use these during our Zoom sessions.
If you are starting with Soft Wax Modeling, you really just need a table or desk, a comfortable chair, and good lighting. It helps if you can close yourself off from daily distractions, but we are used to seeing pets, spouses, and kids during our Zoom sessions.
If you want to create a wedding band, or any precision designs for other jewelry, you will want to choose Precision Wax Carving. Your workspace can still be a desk or table, but you will need a removable "screw on" bench pin to support your work as you explore the "hard" wax techniques of sawing , carving, and filing. Keep in mind that the wax "dust" tends to go everywhere, so you may want a location that is easy to dust, sweep, or vacuum.
If your goal is to be working in metal, you will need more tools and a place to store them. If you don't have a home workshop or studio, you will need a well lit table or desk, along with some method of protecting the surface from heat, chemicals, and sharp or heavy tools. A jeweler's bench is ideal if you have space, but you can also create a "portable" metal working station that should be sufficient to get you started. Please contact us for more specific assistance if you are new to metal work and need help getting set up.