BAJ Mentoring Program Expectations

The BEaJEWELER™ Mentorship Program is intended to produce well-rounded jewelers. We propose that mentors consider the following levels of skill as they guide their mentees through the program, alerting students to the types of projects they should be taking on and practicing, helping them with resources and suggestions for projects, and following up to find out how their efforts are progressing. Mentoring without a set of goals can quickly fizzle out. Mentorship with goals in mind will ensure that both mentors and mentees see measureable growth as a result of their discussions.

The mentor and mentee should, together, determine what level the mentee is currently at. Then, they should structure their ongoing conversations around moving up in the levels. We broadly describe these levels as:

  • Bench Jeweler Technician: A jewelry generalist that can perform jewelry repair. Typically achieved after about one year of experience.
  • Bench Jeweler. A well-rounded bench jeweler generalist that can perform nearly all jewelry repairs. Typically achieved with two or more years of experience.
  • Senior Bench Jeweler: A jeweler that can perform all bench jewelry tasks, with some additional areas of specialization and expertise.
  • Master Bench Jeweler: The highest level of jeweler, with mastery at all skill levels. Capable of taking on an apprentice and guiding them through the first three levels of skill.

For jewelers who take on apprentices (as opposed to mentees), you will be encouraged to tip their day-to-day training toward achieving these levels. Jewelers who pursue a mentorship role will guide their mentees to the resources needed to achieve these levels, and discuss with them not only their progress and questions, but also the resources available to fill in skill gaps and support their ongoing bench skill learning.

Having some definition of the desirable skills to master at each level will assist all mentors in guiding their mentees to useful outcomes. The Jewelers of America Bench Professional Certification program is no longer active, and the BAJ Mentorship Program is not a revival of that program. But good work was done, and it shouldn't be lost!. In designing the certification  program, extremely important work was done to define the various levels of jeweler skill. Today, there are no longer certification assessments to take to prove one’s skill at each level. But using the JA Professional Certification tests as guides, we have identified the following expectations for each professional jeweler level. These are just guidelines. The nature of one-on-one mentoring is that the mentor also brings tremendous personal experience and opinions to the process. But we believe these general guidelines can help you to develop a personal program that is roughly similar to the programs other mentors will also, independently, develop.

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An Initiative of the MJSA Education Foundation

The BEaJEWELER™ initiative is sponsored by MJSA, the trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design.
This initiative was originally developed in partnership with the New Approach School for Jewelers in Arrington, Tennessee

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