Wire Wrapped pieces by Jackie Orsini
The name of the Gem Cutter’s Guild is a bit of a misnomer. While many of the members are interested in lapidary–the cutting of stones–this is not the single focus of the group. Jewelry making is a prime interest and the Guild offers classes in jewelry fabrication as well as the lapidary arts. Classes are scheduled year round.
As Wikipedia states, A lapidary (lapidarist, Latin: lapidarius) is an artist or artisan who forms stone, minerals, or gemstones into decorative items such as cabochons, engraved gems, including cameos, and faceted designs. The primary techniques employed are cutting, grinding, and polishing. After cutting stones in the Guild shop, members can incorporate their cabochons in a finished piece of jewelry.
The jewelry classes include metalworking and fabrication, courses in patina, fold forming, wire wrapping, soldering, bezel making, torch fired enamel and Precious Metal Clay, and more. Metals used in class include sterling silver, fine silver, copper and brass.
Necklace by Pam Jeffries
The Guild studio is a well equipped space that offers the student the opportunity to learn the techniques of jewelry fabrication, using the tools that one might not have in a home studio. There is a line of Foredom Flexshafts, saws, grinders, soldering stations, kilns, work tables and much more. All of the tools are available for student use, and the shop keepers make certain that the tools are in good working order.
This year (2018) the Gem Cutters Guild will offer a series of classes that are available for very, very reasonable prices. Tuition is kept as low as possible, keeping in mind that the Guild is a non profit organization, which is interested in spreading knowledge about gem cutting and jewelry making. Some of the classes being offered this spring include Basic Lapidary, wire wrapped stones, torch fired enamel and more.
Soon, a calendar of events and a schedule of classes will be posted on their website: