North Bennet Street School (NBSS) teaches fine craftsmanship through intensive hands-on training. Known as a premier jewelry school, the Jewelry Making & Repair program prepares graduates to become professionals in the jewelry industry. Students are trained to construct and repair jewelry using traditional techniques and laser technology using silver, gold, palladium and platinum; set cabochon and faceted stones in all shapes and styles; and finish to a professional standard.
- Examples of student rings
The Jewelry Making & Repair program attracts students from around the world who share a love of materials, artistic expression and working with their hands to make jewelry that transcends time.
“The NBSS Jewelry Making & Repair program's strength is technical: we teach the nuts and bolts of jewelry fabrication so that students can enter the work force right away as a bench jeweler."
Rosemary Trainor ’91, Department Head, Jewelry Making & Repair
Jewelry fabrication and stone setting requires exceptional hand skills, focus and a thorough understanding of materials; knowledge that develops through experience working with metal and stones. The intensive, 72-week NBSS curriculum provides an efficient, thorough foundation in the fundamental knowledge and technical skills of jewelry making and repair and prepares students to quickly enter the workforce as professional jewelers. Students challenge themselves to constantly fine-tune their skills and expand their knowledge throughout the program.
Through a series of hands-on projects, each requiring new skills and building on previous learning, students develop proficiency in:
- Working with the full range of jeweler's hand-tools
- Metals and stones
- Metal forming techniques
- Polishing, soldering and engraving
- Laser welding
- Silver, gold, platinum and palladium fabrication
- Wax model making
- Jewelry repair
- Advanced jewelry construction
- Stone setting
Repair work is an essential aspect of the jewelry trade. Students are strongly encouraged to develop skills in repair techniques and learn to re-size rings and repair their own pieces, as well as jewelry belonging to clients. Having solid experience in repair work increases the artisan’s marketability in the industry and provides a deeper understanding of the industry. After a few months of training, many NBSS students have the confidence and skills needed to pursue professional part-time repair work in the hours after class.
“Each piece of jewelry should hold a special meaning for its owner. I love the idea of secrets within a piece, of incorporating something known only to the wearer.”
Eva Martin '03, Instructor
Saul Bell Design Award Grand Prize
The jewelry making shop is well-equipped with a large selection of specialized tools, including a laser welder with TV monitor, a gem identification library, two designated GRS equipped engraving benches, vacuum and centrifugal casting machines, a resources library and state-of-the-art equipment including dust collection and fume hoods in critical areas. Individual benches with flexible-shaft machines are assigned to each student.
Ann Cahoon became a principal goldsmith and designer with Flying Marquis Studio in Leominster, MA working on one-of-a-kind and limited production jewelry. She graduated from the NBSS program in 2002 and was a finalist in the gold and platinum category of the 2010 Saul Bell Awards. In addition to design and fabrication, Ann writes and lectures for the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (MJSA). She is the technical co-editor of the MJSA book Secret Shop Weapons and is featured in a forthcoming instructional DVD produced by Lapidary Journal.
Read all NBSS faculty profiles here.
Graduates of the Jewelry Making & Repair program often begin work as bench jewelers in trade and retail shops performing repair, custom design and fabrication, stone setting and reproduction of classic jewelry. Many alumni become self-employed jewelers. Read more about jewelry making and repair careers here.
Click here for the school's gainful employment report.
“Your jewelry student was a pleasure to work with. She came with strong skills and was well prepared… she is a great credit to your jewelry program. It is obvious that the standards are high which is very important to us…this is what differentiates North Bennet Street School from other jewelry programs”
Daunis Fine Jewelry
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the training at NBSS. Seth has increased his duties and is producing superior quality repairs. He is working full time on the bench and will be taking business courses at night so that he will be better trained to help run the business.”
NBSS offers rolling admissions and accepts qualified applicants throughout the year. Jewelry Making & Repair offers enrollment in both the Fall and Spring. Successful applicants have good manual dexterity, patience for detailed work and a love of the jewelry-making craft. The Jewelry Making and Repair program develops the competent technical skills bench jewelers need to work with a variety of metal and stones. Learn more about the admissions process.
HOURS OF INSTRUCTION, TUITION, TOOLS, AND MATERIALS
Students are admitted in September and February.
The maximum enrollment is 13 students.
Classes meet from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm, Monday - Friday, September through May.
The program length is two, nine-month academic years (72 weeks or 2340 class hours***).
September 2016-June 2017 tuition is $23,200 per year totaling $46,400**, with the option of making 18 monthly payments of $2,578.
- September 2017-June 2018 tuition is $24,100 per year totaling $48,200**, with the option of making 18 monthly payments of $2,678.
The estimated cost of hand tools is $1,850.
The estimated cost of materials is $2,450.
- Palladium and platinum provided by the department's metal library.
Students who complete the program receive a Diploma of Jewelry Making & Repair.
**North Bennet Street School reserves the right to increase tuition in the second and subsequent years of a course. If the school does increase tuition for a course in subsequent years, that increase will not exceed 7.5% of the previous year’s tuition. Should the school exercise its right to increase tuition, the school must give the student a minimum of ninety (90) days written notice prior to the effective date of the increase and a new enrollment agreement will be executed.
*** Class hours equals clock hours.