This past weekend, we welcomed more than 200 jewelers from around the country to our annual Bench Jeweler Workshop here at our global headquarters.
The event started off with a bang on Friday, April 1st as customers were able to tour our 600,000 square foot manufacturing facility. Our inaugural Battle of the Benches competition also started on Friday with the CAD and Render Challenge. A video to inspired creativity was shown prior to the start. Then the four selected contestants: David Adamson, Patrick Dobbs, Craig Farley and Jonathan Smiddy worked in Rhino Gold and Matrix to create the below CAD files. The bench jewelers had four hours to finish their designs. David Adamson of David Adamson Designer Jewelry took home the medal as the winner of this challenge. All of the contestants designed intricate, cocktail rings to take at least one large blue center stone, and smaller side stones.
In addition to the competition, several class were being conducted, as well as, multiple hands-on demonstrations on the main event floor.
The second day continued to be full of different activities and excitement. Action started early with the different, interactive floor demos such as stone setting, plating, mold cutting, and laser work. Attendees also had the choice of attending different educational sessions like Diamond Grading 101, Basic Casting, Assembling Techniques, Increasing Profits With Repair, and many more.
Parts and pieces were the focus of the Battle of the Benches contestants on day 2. In this leg of the competition, they were given a box with an assortment of metals, findings, and gemstones. The task was to build a piece of jewelry using these items. Needless to say, all of the pieces were amazing. David, Craig, and Jonathan opted to create pendants (pictured below). While Patrick went with an intricate and exquisite ring with hand engraving on the sides. Day 2 dinner was held at a local venue, River Oaks, where the winner of the day’s challenge was announced. And David Adamson, who created a cage pendant, took home his second medal.
In an interview, David said, “When I opened the box, I’m not sure why, but it reminded me of a circus, full of colors and lights, and that’s what inspired me to create the pendant.”
On the third and final day of the event, attendees came to take any additional classes they might have missed the day before, walk the demo floor, and meet with our technical folks. The final challenge of Battle of the Benches also continued. This time, the task was to prep, polish, assemble, and set the now casted CAD design from Friday’s competition. The winner of this event was Jonathan Smiddy of Acori Diamonds and Design, with an amazing three stone cocktail ring featuring a blue center and pink accents.
Last but certainly not least, the overall winner of the Battle of the Benches was selected by a panel of judges composed of Robert Martinez from Teel’s Jewelry, Kevin Kelly from Kevin Kelly Jewelers, Claude Dickinson from Dickison Jewelers and Stuller’s Finding’s Product Manager Adrienne Keleher. The judges added up the scores from all three competitions and David Adamson came out on top once again taking the top honor of overall winner. What a weekend!
See some of our favorite Workshop moments below:
Did you attend Bench Jeweler Workshop this year? What were your favorite events? Tell us in the comment section below. For more on Bench Jeweler Workshop 2016, and live videos of the event, visit Benchjeweler.com/videos.