Welcome to Portland Jewelry Academy

Portland Jewelry Academy has been setting the foundation for the professional bench jeweler since 2014


Jason chandler

What is a Bench Jeweler?

Bench jewelers are professionals who use their cultivated skills combined with their creative and artistic abilities to create and repair fine jewelry. This specific title is assigned by the jewelry industry to distinguish the type of work being done. This is because the definition of jeweler can mean: someone who sells jewelry, works with gems, strings beads, or uses found object to create items for personal adornment. What we teach here at Portland Jewelry Academy is bench jewelry as defined by the jewelry industry.

Anyone who completes our Introduction to Jewelry Manufacturing course will leave our institution with an assortment of skills for application in gaining and maintaining employment as a bench jeweler.

Traditional Bench Jewelry Education; Apprenticeships

Many bench jewelers learn their trade from other family members who pass down their knowledge through generations. In the past, jewelers have joined the industry through formal apprenticeship programs. These programs were often accessed through unions or trade organizations.

A genuine apprenticeship must offer:

  • academic class time for learning new skills
  • practice time to apply those new skills
  • paid work hours under the supervision of a highly experienced bench jeweler

Additionally, each part of the education must have clear goals and markers of completion, like skills tests and records of hours worked. Without each of these components, offers for apprenticeship are not truly apprenticeships.

Those programs have since dissolved and are not common practice for learning the bench jewelry trade. This is where we come in!

soldering with blowpipe

Portland Jewelry Academy Prepare Students to be the Best in the Trade

With the loss of formal apprenticeships, bench jewelry skills and knowledge is declining. At Portland Jewelry Academy we are passionate about the continuation of the bench jewelry trade. We provide a hands on learning experience to anybody who completes our program(s). During their time at our institution, students experience close teaching and mentorship from our founder, Jason Chandler. He guides students through all the skills needed to start out as a successful bench jeweler, while providing insight into how to survive and thrive in the industry. Our small class sizes and supportive community help to provide students with the experience needed to leave our institution with highly valuable skills and the confidence to use them.

Visit the course page to learn more about our introductory course.

Learn more about our mission as an adult education institution.

Have questions? Visit our FAQ page to see if we've already answered yours!

Interested in applying? Visit our application page to start the process.

Unsure about Portland? Visit our location page to learn more!

Portland Jewelry Academy graduates receive a 1 year membership to MJSA

Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (MJSA) is a professional organization which supports the jewelry industry in achieving professional success.

Benefits of the membership include:

  • a free copy of the MJSA Buyer's Guide to Jewelry Tools, Equipment, Suppliers, and Services
  • a free copy of the MJSA source book: an annual guide to MJSA member's newest tools, equipment and supplies
  • free access to online sourcing guides, tools, and equipment as well as business and subcontracting services
  • free access to MJSA Expo, the jewelry industry's oldest and largest trade show dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design
  • a free copy of the MJSA retail link, sent to member retailers: the wish book of finished jewelry lines and designs
  • a free subscription to the MJSA Journal, an award winning monthly magazine offering the technical and business expertise to help you succeed
  • free access to a searchable online article and video library
  • a 15% discount on industry-leading technical and business books, including the full library of MJSA press titles
  • a 15% discount to MJSA Online Learning Series of webinars which cover all aspects of what it takes to run a successful business designing and making jewelry

Students are also entitled to a profile on MJSA.org. Here they can post a short bio with links to portfolios, resumés, websites, and work samples. This can help to establish a professional presence and even attract potential employers. MJSA can also help to connect our graduates with mentors across the country.

Portland Jewelry Academy is a MJSA member school