Having some definition of the desirable skills to master at each level will assist all mentors in guiding their mentees to useful outcomes. When JA designed the Certified Bench Jeweler program, extremely important work was done to define the various levels of jeweler skill. Today, the JA no longer offers that program. But using the JA Professional Certification tests as guides, we have identified the following expectations for each professional jeweler level. These are just guidelines. You will have your own, important ideas about how to guide your mentees. After all, the nature of one-on-one mentoring is that the mentor also brings tremendous personal experience and opinions to the process.
But we believe general guidelines are an important way to help you to develop a personal program. After all, sometimes the hardest part of mentoring is just getting started!
By using the "expectations" below, you will have things to discuss every time you talk with your mentee. You may suggest a project out of an Alan Revere book, or a video you put on Youtube, or a project outline you once received when you were a student, or a few pages from Oppi Untracht's book . . . and we look forward to creating ways for mentors to share with and support one another, so the best resources for each skill level can be shared and known!
Bench Jeweler Technician Expectations
The Bench Jeweler Technician should be able to demonstrate all the following bench skills:
- Repair by reassembling and resoldering a number of basic types of chains and all types of clasps. Chain types include cable, rope, serpentine, byzantine, figaro, box, anchor, bead/ball, and the like.
- Assemble a pre-made bail and bezel and sete an oval cabochon stone.
- Prepare an oval head and fit to shank. Size ring and set oval stone.
- Repair the damaged tongue of a box clasp and install a new wire.
- File, finish, and size a ring casting.
- Solder and assemble earrings, including setting stones, and finish.
- Repair a ring: re-tip three prongs to match an existing prong.
- Assemble bracelet links so they are flexible. Then set three or more stones and finish.
- Know which type of solder to use for most repair situations, and why.
- Conduct basic casting operations; assembling a wax tree, investing, melt-and-pour using open or closed system.
- Understand chemical reactions and proper management of all chemicals used in daily jewelry production and repair.
- Ability to manage the growing process on a 3D grower for producing wax models for jewelry production.
Bench Jeweler Expectations
- Prepare a ring mounting, size, and annel-set round stones.
- Size a prefinished ring and set three stones of varying sizes.
- Assemble a platinum head to a 14-karat gold shank, set one stone, and install and size an adjustable shank.
- Re-solder posts to hollow earrings and refinish.
- Size rings and set fancy-shape center stones and tapered baguettes. Solder rings together.
- Clean up and size a casting of a man’s oval ring. Flush-set two round stones on either side of a center oval stone.
- Cut and weld a platinum wedding band with seamless solder.
- Understanding how to protect inlaid stones when sizing.
- Understand and practice basic alloy production and testing to ensure proper karatage when producing gold and sterling silver.
- Demonstrate understanding of oxidation processes in jewelry production.
Senior Bench Jeweler Expectations
- Create a hexagon stone setting. Saw the hexagon, lay out stones, pavé set 7 stones, bright cut, finish, and mill-grain.
- Channel-set straight baguettes in a ring.
- Carve a wax model according to a design specification that includes set stones and a specific finished size.
- Make a pin from heads, install a pin stem and joint, install a safety catch, and set three or more stones.
- Make a platinum wire pendant with a movable bail, and set a pear-shaped or fancy-shaped stone.
- Understand and perform all aspects of pave, including how to burr seats to same depth regardless of crown heights, manage bead relationships to stones, and match beads in height, width, and shape.
- Understand and manage chemicals used in less common jewelry production and design techniques.
- Understand and manage reactive metals when casting, soldering, and repairing.