Updated: Jun 7
The purpose of this resource page is to provide a very brief overview of some of the schooling and training resources available to those interested in learning more about metalsmithing and jewellery arts.
On this page (& quick links for navigation):
There are many different pathways into the metal arts, jewellery design and goldsmithing world.
Those working and creating in the jewellery industry may arrive from fine arts or design backgrounds, from bench jeweller or repair apprenticeships, via traditional goldsmithing training, through a la carte workshop education, online videos and tutorials – or some combination of all. Whether you're completely new to jewellery making or metal arts, considering a career path in the jewellery arts world, or seeking professional development, there are many resources at your fingertips.
Please note that this page is not in and of itself meant to be an endorsement or recommendation. Please do you own research, seek out the testimonials of graduates or past students, and consider your goals, your budget and your needs.
Local Certificate & Diploma Programs in Jewellery Design in Metro Vancouver and British Columbia
These local institutions teach an overview of basic principles in jewellery design and metalsmithing. No prior experience is necessary, although some institutions may require a portfolio. People who would like the experience of learning elementary principles of metalsmithing and design in a classroom environment alongside a cohort may want to look into this.
Vancouver Community College
NEC Native Education College (open to Indigenous students)
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Local Jewellery-making and Metalsmithing Workshops
For those looking to pursue their interests in jewellery-making more as a hobby or gradually build their own education
Mountain Gems (Burnaby) – offers all manner of jewellery classes in the a la carte style, including basic silversmithing, stone-setting, keum boo, lost wax casting, lapidary, and surface finishing techniques (patination, etc.)
Juvelisto (Richmond) – an array of classes for the individual hobbyist, the engaged couple, or even small parties of people, including basic fabrication, stone-setting, and lost wax casting
Langara College (Vancouver) – occasionally offers jewellery-making night classes and studio drop-ins
Soigne (Vancouver) – offers dozens of classes in jewellery-making in traditional and alternate materials, including macrame, coin rings, felting, polymer, and resin.
MakerLabs (Vancouver) – MakerLabs' MetalLab classes are geared towards people who want to work with with non-precious metals (we're talking welding and smithing ferrous metals)
Fraser River Forge (Vancouver) – Fraser River Forge is a German-Canadian blacksmith shop with a focus on traditional hand forging
Leading Jewellery Institutions Across Canada
Those interested in achieving a university degree alongside their jewellery education may be interested in the OCAD University or NSCAD University programs. The Ecole de Joaillerie de Montreal is one of Canada's only schools specializing in jewellery, and covers jewellery techniques as well as gemology, lapidary art and design. It also teaches and hosts masterclasses tailored to the professional jewellers' community.
Four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts/Bachelor of Design in Material Art & Design program
Master of Fine Arts in Studio
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing
Visual Arts Certificate in Studio, Jewellery
Minor in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing
Various programs and intensives
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Master of Fine Arts
World-Renowned Training Centres for Bench Skills in USA
Jewellers and metal artists seeking additional professional development and skills improvements may consider the following intensives once it is safe to travel:
New Approach School for Jewelers (Arrington, Tennessee)
Led by Blaine Lewis, New Approach is famous for its three-month intensive bench jewellers programs, which teach everything from stone setting to chain repair and setting fabrication. Well-regarded by the jewellery industry, many graduates have found positions in the jewellery trade upon graduation
GRS Training Center (Emporia, Kansas)
owned and operated by industry giants Glendo Corporation (which manufactures and distributes leading-edge equipment for the jewellery industry) specializes in beginner intensives and masterclasses in engraving, inlay, scrollwork design and stone setting for all levels. Some of the higher-level courses are led by masters in their respective fields, and all students are taught on cutting-edge equipment
Well-respected Online Academies
While some people prefer structured in-person learning, including studios where all you have to bring are hand tools there are some for whom online learning and improvement (and the ability to build/fund/furnish their own studio) is a better fit. As of the writing of this article, a select couple of forerunners have emerged to serve the latter demographic.
Lucy Walker Jewellery Academy (subscription schooling)
Lucy Walker uses a simple roadmap of skill-building courses to guide aspiring metalsmith and jewellery designers with phenomenally produced videos for fabrication (soldering, shaping, etc.) and stonesetting. Please note that prospective students may be required to join a waiting list..
Peter Keep's Jewellery Training Solutions (subscription and ability to purchase individual courses)
Peter's extensive video library features numerous painstakingly curated apprenticeship programs. His projects teach anything from fabrication, goldsmithing, stonesetting and mount-making.
Those interested should checking out their YouTube channels to preview video quality and teaching style.
Join a global community of jewellers and makers
Here are some great groups and forums to join or follow, along with some integral resources on safety. While online communities can be amazing for troubleshooting issues with peers, please remember that forums do not serve as a viable alternative to a proper foundational education, whether that be through workshops, resources or otherwise.
Online Forums (For Tips and Community)
– Engraver’s Cafe | engraverscafe.com (forum)
Resources & Learning Centres
– Rio Grande Resource Centre | Safety Data Sheets
YouTube Channels for beginners
As a final bonus (for making it all the way through this list), here is a small selection of the popular jewellery-making YouTube channels that act as gateway resources into what goes on behind the bench.
– At the Bench (Andrew Berry)
– Jewellery Training Solutions (Peter Keep)
We hope this article was helpful in giving you a quick overview of the resources available. We'll update this periodically, so let us know if you feel there has been a glaring omission in this list!
Updated June 6, 2021