Introduction to Jewelry Manufacturing

Introduction to Jewelry Manufacturing is designed to teach the skills needed to be hired and maintain employment as an entry level professional bench jeweler. This introductory course takes place over 16 weeks and can be the foundation on which a career in bench jewelry is built. Additionally, this course is the prerequisite to all others offered by Portland Jewelry Academy.

Introduction to Jewelry Manufacturing includes three overlapping sections:


Fabrication and Precious Metallurgy

the course begins with fabrication where students are making all their own stock by designing and fabricating projects. In this portion we introduce the importance of the file, torch, and saw frame. These tools take time and practice to master but are crucial to a bench jeweler. This is because each fine jewelry project usually encounters each of them. In this section, students also learn how to read phase diagrams and gain scientific understandings of platinum, gold, silver, their alloys, and solders.

Casting, Setting, Gold

Stone Setting and Repair

With this section we move focus to lost wax casting. Several flasks are set up, cast into bronze, and cleaned. Students then use their cast pieces to learn how to set stones and repair jewelry. This sets our institution apart from others because we ask students to complete the whole casting process for a more thorough understanding of what goes into their pieces. Initial stone setting is done using cubic zirconia and is followed by natural amethyst, citrine, peridot, and topaz. We do this to prepare students for the difficulties that often come with using natural stones and to help build problem solving skills to be used on the job. We also go through various shapes and setting styles to further prepare students for the range of conditions they will face at the bench.


Copper, silver, and gold all follow the same rules of manufacture and most learning can be done with silver or copper alloys, as all projects up to this point in the course are done. Our gold projects start with 24k pure gold which students alloy into 14k yellow hard, medium, and easy solder. Here they also produce 14k yellow stock. Students will then use their stock and solder to fabricate a pendant with a stone purchased from an industry professional stone dealer. All other stones beside the one for this project are provided to the students as a part of their materials package. Students are required to purchase this stone on their own since their first purchase within the industry is important for establishing credibility.

Navigating the Trade as a Professional

Starting out in the jewelry trade can be incredibly difficult, the rules of getting a job are not quite the same as other industries. The connections you make within the industry are incredibly important; references are everything. When students graduate from Portland Jewelry Academy, their certificate of completion becomes their first reference toward getting a job as a bench jeweler. Another piece of to the support we offer our students as they start out in the industry is guiding them through their first stone purchase. We work with several stone dealers which have been vetted by the school and have been consistently helpful in guiding students as they learn to navigate the industry.

Wax Carving

Wax Carving and Final Project

This is the last section of Introduction to Jewelry Manufacturing. Here students carve various wax projects including a final piece. This is designed to use and round out the skills learned throughout the course and finish out the preparation these new jewelers need to be hired on as entry level bench jewelers.

Course Price Breakdown

Registration Fee: $100

Tuition: $7,515

Tools: $2,149.60*

Supplies: $200

Materials kit, Gold, Silver, Gemstones: $1,504.65*

Rhino 7 3D CAD Program (Student Version): $195

Rhino Training: $750

Total Cost: $12,414.25*

*Costs are variable and may be subject to change depending on market prices.

Skills and Learning Outcomes

During Introduction to Jewelry Manufacturing students will learn to use tools safely, make raw stock, fabricate stock, lost wax casting, stone setting, repair, custom wax carving, custom CAD, alloying gold, predictable behavior of alloys, purity standards, filling out job envelopes, and identifying job needs.


Students will learn to read, interpret, and follow information on job packets, charts, lists, drawings, and other job-related reference documents.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

    • Produce sketches and renderings by hand and using CAD
    • Check and clarify task-related information
    • Recognize and use common jewelry terminology


Students will learn to work as part of a team in the bench jewelry setting.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

    • Contribute to a group effort in planning and carrying out work
    • Communicate and cooperate with others on the job

Problem Solving

Students will learn to interpret design and fabrication requirements and be able to translate them into practical outcomes.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

    • Undertake numerical operations, geometry, and calculations
    • Use appropriate measuring techniques
    • Inspect the quality of their own work
    • Use their diagnostic skills to identify problems, their causes, and possible solutions


Students will learn to apply their knowledge to new tasks.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

    • Identify and prevent actual and foreseeable workplace hazards
    • Economize material use and minimize waste
    • Transfer skills from previous projects to new

Planning and Organizing

Students will learn to organize and analyze information relevant to work.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

    • Set up jobs by selecting the appropriate tools, equipment, and materials
    • Organize their personal bench space for efficient use and storage of tools


Students will learn to take responsibility for their own work.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

    • Carry out work safely and according to manufacturer and our course manual instructions
    • Apply correct techniques, procedures, tools, and equipment to projects
    • Accurately gauge time needed to complete tasks for any given job

Knowledge Acquisition

Students will learn to use the resources available to them to find and apply information to their work.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

    • Check and clarify task-related information with instructor or shop foreman
    • Assess and modify work practices
    • Use manuals, online help, and other references to guide their work


Students will learn to select and use appropriate tools, equipment, materials, and machines for their assigned work.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

    • Use high tolerance and precision tools and equipment
    • Use gem setting techniques, tools, processes, and procedures
    • Select and use appropriate measuring and testing devices
    • Use Computer Aided Design (CAD) to render
    • Understand the downstream processes of CAD files

Tool List

  • Arbe Pro-Flex flex shaft
  • GRS benchmate and bench pin
  • Heavy duty mahogany ring clamp
  • Starret 3A dividers
  • GRS #40 flat graver
  • GRS #1 onglette grave
  • Scribe and center punch
  • Pin Vice
  • Inside ring and flat file
  • Needle file set
  • Mark-a-size ring sizing gauge
  • Finger size gauge
  • Pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Half round/flat pliers
  • Large round/flat pliers
  • Parallel jaw flat nose pliers
  • Flush cut pliers
  • Outside ring clamp
  • 10 power triplet loupe
  • split sounding mandrel
  • Wolf 3 piece sanding mandrel set
  • Medium and Fine grit rubber polishing wheels
  • Adalox sanding mandrel and disks
  • #59 and #69 wire drill bits
  • Polishing and brushes
  • Polishing cup brushes
  • Medium and fine polishing brushes
  • Screw mandrels and cut off wheels
  • 3 inch machinist square
  • Soldering supplies
  • Compressed hard charcoal block
  • 3rd hand soldering aid
  • titanium solder pick
  • Scalpel handle and blades
  • Vulcanite wax file
  • Wax lubrication
  • Saw frame
  • Swiss saw blades 2/0 and 4/0
  • Raw hide mallet
  • Chasing hammer
  • Spring Gauge