The jewelery program at Saddleback College teaches students the complicated process of making their own jewelry from paper and pencil to polished product.
There are three different jewelry crafting classes ranging from most accessible to more advanced: Jewelry 1, Jewelry 2, and Mixed Media demonstrations and explorations.
Jewelry 1 is the basic crafting class. According to instructor Larry Jones, students learn basic techniques like soldering, etching, fitting, and other forms of fabrication.
“This class is for both designing and making jewelry by people who want to become professionals or are just doing this as a hobby,” Jones said. “Some already are professionals and are taking the classes to expand on their horizons.”
Possible the main draw for some students to take the class is the fact that if crafted correctly, the pieces of hand crafted jewelry can be kept by the student and used.
Amazingly, if a student correctly crafts a piece of jewelry, its possible that that student will be allowed to keep their piece. This may be one of the main attractions for students to this class.
“I joined this class because I really wanted to learn the process of making jewelry that was both functional and personalized to what I want,” Keagan Ward, 18, undecided said.
Jewelry 2 is the advanced crafting class, involving more complicated techniques and more fragile pieces to work with. Many students who enroll in advanced jewelry also re-enroll in the beginning jewelry class as well.
“Speaking from experience, a student can learn more and more if they take both classes, for one it can be a refresher of what we learn and it can give somebody a greater understanding of the techniques, said Larry Ward, 50.
According to Jones, the jewelry crafting program has been at Saddleback for almost 30 years but it’s popularity began to decline about 20 years ago.
“We were avoiding closing the program altogether so jewelry class was combined with metal casting for a semester, until interest was drummed up among the students to make one class,” Jones said. “Now there are three different classes taught by four faculty members instructing the classes.”
Overall this class can be a very hands-on approach to making personalized rings and such but to some there is so much more.
“A student learns how to build things like an architect or an engineer but it’s art,” instructor Marilee Johnson said. “The same principles learned here are all how to make 3-D art and it can be used for all sorts of different applications that are not limited to jewelry.”