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2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Wrap-Up

2018 Battle of the Benches Patrick Dobbs Blog Header
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An action-packed weekend filled with education and exciting competition

At the end of March, Stuller welcomed more than 200 jewelers to the 2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop. The atmosphere was electric! The show floor buzzed with tradeshow-like energy. Live product demonstrations highlighted big brands like Asiga® 3D Printers, Orion™ Laser Welders, and Best Built Engravers, to name just a few. The back to back class schedule included basic diamond grading, social media photography, working with platinum, and many more.

Watch the official Bench Jeweler Workshop 2018 Recap

Meet the Experts

Stuller welcomed industry experts onto the show floor to flex their skills and share their expertise.

  • Master Engraver Sam Alfano, best known for his intricate designs, precise detail, and flawless execution, demonstrated his talent using a GRS® engraver on the demo floor.
  • Manufacturing Maven Dana Fawbush, known for his custom jewelry designs and manufacturing practices, showed onlookers the ins and outs of setting in platinum.
  • Master Goldsmith Jason Chandler from the Portland Jewelry Academy brought metal forming alive on the show floor using the latest techniques.
  • Goldsmith Kelly Williams, owner of K.W. Goldsmith and creator of Whiplash Designs, exhibited her hand engraving skills in real time. Here’s a sample of her incredible work.


The 3rd Annual Battle of the Benches® Competition Begins!

Meet the Contestants

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop David Adamson
David Adamson

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Patrick Dobbs
Patrick Dobbs

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Craig Farley
Craig Farley

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Jyothi Forman.
Jyothi Forman

Read all about the Battle of the Benches competitors and their extensive skillsets here

Day 1: From CAD to Complete

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop David Adamson Round 1
David Adamson

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Jyothi Forman Round 1
Jyothi Forman

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Patrick Dobbs Round 1
Patrick Dobbs

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Craig Farley Round 1
Craig Farley

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Brian Clark Round 1
Brian Clark

To enter Battle of the Benches, participants had to submit a qualifying CAD design to catch our attention. Then, to begin the competition, each competitor brought their designs to life in real time. With a crowd of onlookers and distractions at every turn, our five challengers forged stunning masterpieces.

And the winner is . . . Craig Farley

After nearly thirty minutes of deliberation, the judging panel named Craig Farley’s creation the first day’s winner. His contemporary East-West design featured a dazzling oval-cut Swarovski Peridot center stone. The split shank design with beaded and diamond accents landed the top spot. This intricately crafted design was completely on-trend.

Breaking News!

When the competition is live, anything can happen! After an intense first day, defending champion, Jyothi Forman fell sick and couldn’t compete. Enter: Brian Clark, Master Jeweler from All American Jewelry Designers, Inc. The standby competitor was rushed to the show floor to fill Jyothi’s spot.

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Brian Clark

Day 2: Parts & Pieces Challenge

Day two of the 2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop required challengers to build a piece of their choosing from an array of raw materials. The competitors could create their designs using any tools on the demo floor. Equipment ranged from fully-stocked model benches, laser welders, engravers, plating units — everything they needed. Contestants were hard to track down as they whisked about the demo floor completing their tasks.

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Patrick Dobbs
Patrick Dobbs

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Criag Farley Round 2
Craig Farley

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Brian Clark Round 2
Brian Clark

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop David Adamson Round 2
David Adamson

And the winner is . . . Patrick Dobbs

Having competed in this competition before, Dobbs was able to learn from his experience to improve his performance. After fumbling to complete his piece in the 2016 competition, Patrick knew what was necessary to dominate this year. From the onset, he reminded himself, “make it simple, make it beautiful, make it easy to complete” (especially going up against such talented competitors). His winning design combined an organic form with beaming diamond accents and a large Swarovski Blue Zircon center stone.

Day 3: The Finish Line Challenge

In today’s fast-changing jewelry industry, CAD is arguably the most powerful tool in a jeweler’s workshop. So it’s only appropriate that the final challenge hinged on building a contest-winning CAD design. The instructions read:

“A few weeks ago, the world recently celebrated International Women’s Day. The day recognizes the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
While there are women in our personal lives that have impacted all of us, your task is to create a statement ring, necklace, or bracelet for a well-known, prominent woman. 

It can be a historical figure, or someone currently paving the way for future generations to flourish.
You can design for any well-known iconic female you choose.” 

Patrick Dobbs 2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop CAD
Patrick Dobbs

David Adamson 2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop CAD
David Adamson

Craig Farley 2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop CAD
Craig Farley

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Brian Clark CAD
Brian Clark

Each of the competitors came up with a unique design for the iconic lady of their choosing. David Adamson used RhinoGold to create his CAD design, while the other three competitors used Matrix®.

  • Patrick Dobbs created a contemporary blue sapphire ring for the late Princess Diana.
  • David Adamson designed a piece inspired by unity and togetherness for Michelle Obama.
  • Craig Farley devised an intricately-beaded necklace for the ancient Egyptian ruler Cleopatra.
  • Brian Clark’s creation was in honor of Dolly Parton who pioneered the Imagination Library program.

And the winner is . . . Patrick Dobbs

Patrick set out to create an exciting concept for this project. “I had the hardest time coming up with it [his design]. I came up with it by thinking about the Elton John song [Candle in the Wind]. And that’s where I came up with the whole idea and thought process. Then I was off and running!”

Grand Champion: Patrick Dobbs

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Champion Patrick Dobbs

“It was a tough decision because they were all amazing,” said Battle of the Benches judge, Angela Busby. “The competitors gave their all, and it definitely showed in the final product.” In the end, the judging panel named Patrick Dobbs the 2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Champion of the Battle of the Benches Challenge.

Special Guests

In Good Company 

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop In Good Company

Stuller welcomed Adam Voss and his team to the 2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop to film the fifth iteration of Stuller’s In Good Company mini-series. The film crew shot live demos and interviewed Workshop attendees, including Brian Barnes (pictured above).

Watch the In Good Company mini-series here

Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology 

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology

Patrick Dobbs represented the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology. Over twenty students visited the 2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop to experience the tools, training, software, and expertise Stuller offers. “I wanted to draw attention to the school — one of the finest jewelry schools in the country,” Patrick explained. “I went to school there, and it’s where I got all my knowledge. I’m on the board and helping with the curriculum. So I just wanted to make sure people were aware of this school still.”

A Special Thanks

A very special thanks to Swarovski Gemstones for donating the stones used in the Battle of the Benches competition.

That’s a wrap — the 2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop was a roaring success! Did you attend? Which seminar was your favorite? How was the experience overall? Tell us in the comment section below.


Kyle Carriere

I've been with Stuller since June 2016 • I make the blog happen • Recent marketing graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette • Spotify is my favorite app • Music festival-goer • I endorse Pop's Poboys in downtown Lafayette wholeheartedly • GIFs and memes are my second language • Best advice I can offer: Everything will turn out alright.