Packaging Holiday From the Bench Blog Header

Try our Top 3 Holiday Jewelry Packaging Tips Today

What would the holidays be without fabulous packaging? It’s hard to imagine because it’s the thrill of opening a gift that captures the real delight of this gift-giving season. You want to be sure you’ve got all your packaging angles covered because as you prepare for the holidays, details can get overlooked.

Here are a few holiday jewelry packaging tips to help you get ready for the season ahead.

 

1. Stock Up and Order Custom Imprinting Now

Have you stocked up on tissue, gift wrap, totes, and boxes with your custom imprinting? If not, do it now, so you have them in time for the holidays. Why the urgency? Our busy season starts in September, and we want you to receive your packaging when you need it.

To save you time, we’ve made ordering on Stuller.com fast and easy. Go to Stuller.com/CustomImprinting, select the type of holiday jewelry packaging you want, and follow the instructions on the product page. We offer hot stamping in 13 colors and digital imprinting in any Pantone® color. Each packaging element indicates your imprinting options, and many times both are available.

Holiday Jewelry Packaging From the Bench Social Share

2. Add-Ons and Small Gifts

Shown below are several new items that will make excellent additions during the holidays. Our beautiful new Leatherette Jewelry Clutch (61-4542) and Leatherette Jewelry Travel Case (61-4543) come in four colors, including the champagne and blush shown here. Suggest them as elegant small gifts and stocking stuffers.

Our new Klean Karats® jewelry cleaner formula has arrived in the nick of time, and we think you’ll love it. The luxurious formula works on all metals and stones. It will make an easy add-on sale and can serve as a gift with large purchases. You can order it in a jar, foam, and ultra-handy cleaner pen. We also have private label options with your store name. Call to order — the sooner, the better — 800-877-7777, ext. 6144.

Holiday Jewelry Packaging From the Bench Klean Karats

3. Get Noticed This Holiday Season

From boxes and pouches to totes, tissue, and gift wrap, we offer a world of tantalizing colors and textures. And remember, the smallest detail makes a difference whether it’s wrapping that ring box or tucking that last piece of tissue into the tote. You have many gift wrap choices, including the gorgeous Silver Stardust (61-0966), Gold Mosaic (61-0505), as well as other holiday wraps. For tissue, consider the beautiful Vintage Lace (61-0644), Gold Stripe (61-0641), Plaid (61-0796), and Silver Snowflake tissue (61-0798). Youll impress your customer, the lucky recipient, and others who see the package along the way. For some, it will be their first exposure to your brand. Make a lasting impression, so when they want to purchase jewelry, your store or studio comes to mind.

Holiday Jewelry Packaging From the Bench Gift Wrap

Shop our full range of holiday jewelry packaging options at Stuller.com/Packaging

 




2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Wrap Up Blog Header

Here’s the Official 2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Wrap-Up

The 2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop was a major success! A bench jeweler’s paradise, our two-day workshop hosted over 150 participants for a weekend of learning, training, and networking. Jewelers were able to explore our tools and technology while meeting fellow craftsmen from around the globe. This year’s event was held over two days (instead of the traditional three-day format). Yet, the energy was electric thanks to our bustling Battle of the Benches competition.

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Patrick Dobbs Workbench

Meet the Experts

The show floor was abuzz with industry experts sharing knowledge on a range of topics.

Digital Designing by Jessica Smith, Gemvision – Jessica flexed her digital design skills by explaining the various aspects of the CAD/CAM process.

Hand Engraving by Kelly Williams, KWGoldsmith – Master Engraver Kelly Williams returned to teach industry-leading hand engraving techniques.

Metal Forming with Jason Chandler, Portland Jewelry Academy Jason returned to share his insight into making cost-effective wire, tubing, and more.

Stone Setting with Roman Simantov, Globus Stone Setting Tools Master stone setters were on-hand to demonstrate advanced stone setting skills using the new Globus work holding solutions, answering any questions and sharing neat tips.

The 4th Annual Battle of the Benches Competition Begins!

 

Meet the Competitors

2019 Battle of the Benches Competitors Patrick Dobbs

Patrick Dobbs

2019 Battle of the Benches Competitors Evgenii Fedko

Evgenii Fedko

2019-Battle of the Benches Competitors Aleksey Saburov

Aleksey Saburov

2019 Battle of the Benches Competitor Joseph Kremer

Joe Kremer

Read more about the 2019 Battle of the Bench competitors and their fascinating work here.

Judging Criteria

Competitors were judged from 1-10 on the following categories:

  • Creativity/Artistic Expression
  • Wearability
  • Craftsmanship
  • Difficulty Level
  • Sellability

Day 1: Parts & Pieces Challenge

The first day of our 2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop required challengers to build a piece of their choosing from an array of raw materials like sheet, sizing stock, and mill products. 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. These skilled artisans were glued to their benches on the demo floor as they worked to create something special.

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Patrick Dobbs Day 1 Piece

Patrick Dobbs

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Evgenii Fedko Day 1 Piece

Evgenii Fedko

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Aleksey Saburov Day 1 Piece

Aleksey Saburov

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Joe Kramer Day 1 Piece

Joe Kremer

 

And the winner is . . . Aleksey Saburov

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Aleksey Saburov Day 1 Piece

Day 2: Ready, Set, Challenge

To enter the Battle of the Benches challenge, competitors submitted a qualifying CAD design to catch our attention. Then, Stuller cast their creations in time for the second day of competition where each competitor brought their designs to life in real time. With a crowd of onlookers and distractions at every turn, our four challengers forged these stunning masterpieces.

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Patrick Dobbs Day 2 Piece

Patrick Dobbs

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Evgenii Fedko Day 2 Piece

Evgenii Fedko

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Aleksey Saburov Day 2 Piece

Aleksey Saburov

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Joe Kramer Day 2 Piece

Joe Kramer

 

And the winner is . . . Evgenii Fedko

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Evgenii Fedko Day 2 Piece

The Grand Champion: Evgenii Fedko

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Tammy Lail and Evgenii Champion

Meet Susan Rabinovitz

2019 Battle of the Bench Competitor Susan Rabinovitz 2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Susan Rabinowitz Day 1 Piece

Susan was an on-site alternate for the Battle of the Benches competition. She had her own workbench and worked diligently throughout the event to create the stunning piece above.


2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Competitors

Meet the competitors from the 2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop

A Few Favorite Sessions

Benefits of Laser Welding: Jeremy Thibodeaux, Stuller’s Tools and Supplies Technical Support Manager, explained in detail the multitude of benefits laser welders bring to your workspace. They’re invaluable tools. He even gave a hands-on demo with our line of Coherent-ROFIN® and Orotig laser welders.

Social Media Uncovered: Nichole Guillory and Chris Leonard, two of Stuller’s marketing experts, discussed social media strategy. They addressed the three questions we get asked most often: when, what, and how to post on social media. They explained how to use your social media insights to answer these burning questions. Plus, they went over the latest changes to the social space.

The Repair Business of the Future: Tammy Lail, Vice President of Tools and Equipment, Metals, and Packaging and Display, discussed how repair work is changing and how you need to protect yourself in the take-in process. She also covered the different pricing strategies that exist in valuing your labor.

Casting Demonstration: Dennis Busby, Casting Director, took visited through the process of casting white gold trees utilizing the RDO and TopCast casting machines.

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Dennis Busby Casting Demo



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Meet the 2019 Battle of the Benches Competitors

Stuller’s Bench Jeweler Workshop begins Friday, March 22 where our 2019 Battle of the Benches competition will take place. This live-action competition features challengers going head-to-head to claim their bench jeweler glory. Don’t miss the action!

 

Still not convinced you should attend Bench Jeweler Workshop? Here are five reasons why it’s worth the trip:

 

  1. Brand-new educational opportunities and seminars
  2. In-depth training on new software, tools and equipment, and techniques
  3. Networking with peers and industry experts
  4. Hands-on demonstrations to see, touch, and try out our tools
  5. Tools and equipment shopping

Now that you’re ready to book your trip, meet the incredible artisans set to compete in our 2019 Battle of the Benches Challenge

 

2019 Battle of the Benches Competitors Patrick DobbsPatrick Dobbs

Hammerman Forge | Austin, Texas

Growing up in West Texas, Patrick Dobbs’ passion for jewelry began when a teacher offered him a job making belt buckles. It was this teacher who encouraged Patrick to pursue a career in the jewelry industry. Today, he is a 30-year jewelry design vet and jack-of-all-trades. Not only does he design, but he also sells, uses CAD, milling, 3D printing, stone setting, fabrication, and more. When asked about his favorite part of the job, “it’s all about the reveal,” he says. “Seeing a customer’s face light up when they see the jewelry that I’ve worked so hard to create is indescribable.”

 

2019 Battle of the Benches Competitors Evgenii FedkoEvgenii Fedko

Fedko Jewelry | New York, New York

As an entrepreneur, Evgenii Fedko first began with commercial alpine climbing, then expanded into hotel and restaurant ownership in his native city of Sochi, Russia as his businesses grew rapidly. He received an education in decorative metalwork from world-renowned craftsmen — Jura Diasetter and Sergej Manaenko at the GRS training center. In just four years, Evgenii’s jewelry business became so successful, it was expanded into a full-size production studio, won a series of highly prestigious European awards, and serves a loyal, consistent clientele.

 

2019-Battle of the Benches Competitors Aleksey SaburovAleksey Saburov

Saburov Art Studio | Lyndhurst, New Jersey

Russian-born, New Jersey-based designer and engraver Aleksey Saburov is truly world-renowned when it comes to “hobo-nickels,” the niche art form of creatively altering small coins. He makes unique works of art, micro-engraved on authentic nickels from the early 1900s. Aleksey holds the prestigious title of Master-engraver of the highest, 6th Craftsmanship Degree — being the highest category awarded. Miniature fine carving is Aleksey Saburov’s specialty, something for which he has a great passion.

 

2019 Battle of the Benches Competitor Joseph KremerJoe Kremer

Joseph Kremer Inc | Louisville, Kentucky

Joe is a self-employed, JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler in Louisville, Kentucky with over 40 years’ experience. He has won two AGTA Spectrum Awards in 2001 for Design and for Manufacture. Married to his high school sweetheart, Joe plays racquetball and pickleball and has just finished writing his first novel.

 

2019 Battle of the Bench Competitor Susan RabinovitzSusan Rabinovitz

Little Relics | Sacramento, California

A lifelong craftswoman, Susan Rabinovitz has been making jewelry for over 15 years. A protégé of Alan Revere of the famed Revere Academy of Arts, Susan operates a neighborhood shop in Sacramento’s hip midtown district. She has positioned her benches in plain sight to draw customers into her store and get them involved in the process, giving new value to the pieces she creates. Repairs are important to her business, along with a rapidly growing custom bridal business.


It’s not too late to register for this year’s Bench Jeweler Workshop! Find more information here. 




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Stuller’s Top 5 Platinum Questions Answered

What’s not to love about platinum? It’s the densest of the precious metals, can stand up to a lifetime of everyday wear, and is even hypoallergenic, making it a perfect pick for any bride. Take the time to become a platinum expert. As you master working with platinum, you can also teach the merits of why it may be the better choice for your customer’s lifestyle, earning trust and ensuring a return to your store.

 

Here are a few popular platinum questions answered–

 

platinum questions answered smelting grain

1. What is the melting temperature of platinum and popular platinum alloys?

Here is one of our top platinum questions answered:

Pure Platinum: 3215°F (1768°C)

Pt950/Ruthenium: 3236°F – 3263°F (1780°C – 1795°C)

Pt950/Cobalt: 3015°F – 3050°F (1657°C – 1677°C)

Pt900/Iridium: 3236°F – 3272°F (1780°C – 1800°C)

2. Which solder should I use?

Platinum melts at a high temperature, which may cause diamonds to frost over when exposed to such extreme heat. Because of this, we recommend that all stones be removed when welding or soldering with platinum solder on a platinum ring.

When Joining Two Platinum Metals:

  • Platinum iridium to platinum iridium – weld
  • Platinum ruthenium to platinum ruthenium – weld
  • Platinum ruthenium to platinum iridium  – weld
  • Platinum cobalt has a lower melt point than platinum ruthenium or platinum iridium, it cannot be welded to either PtRu or PtIr
  • If gold is melted into a platinum surface, remove the gold with a ball bur and fill it with platinum wire

Tip: When in doubt, solder

3. What type of fuel do I use when working with Platinum?

Propane or natural gas is the best option for working with Platinum. These fuels burn cleaner and will not contaminate your platinum. Acetylene fuel is not recommended.

platinum questions answered torch

4. Should I use flux?

Avoid the use of flux when joining platinum alloys. However, flux may be used when joining platinum alloys to gold alloys.

5. Which sandpaper grit is best for removing dents and scratches from a platinum ring?

360-400-500 abrasive paper

 


A few tips and tricks:

Try using Redi-Prongs® Platinum Round Retipping Kit to retip prongs around certain colored stones and diamonds. Simply flatten the surface of the prong that you want to retip using a small file. Then, heat the area and attach a prong cap (Redi-prong comes with pre-applied solder). Polish the prong and you are done.

What people don’t always know is—

Platinum cobalt sticks to magnets due to its cobalt content. It should be kept segregated from other bench sweeps. Also, a magnet can be used to determine if a platinum jewelry item is made from platinum cobalt.

Polishing tip

When polishing jewelry that has both platinum and gold components, be sure the platinum is polished completely before polishing the gold. Gold polishes faster than platinum, so it is easy to over-polish the gold portion and ruin the piece.

platinum questions answered polishing

Did you know: We use three different types of platinum here at Stuller—

Pt Alloy

Casting

Fabrication

Die Striking

Machining

90Pt/10Ir Satisfactory Excellent Excellent Poor
95Pt/5Co Excellent Good Good Good
95Pt/5Ru Good Excellent Excellent Excellent

 

Laser Welders like the Rofin Basic XE-Power 100 Joule (14-0110) are the best for working with platinum, saving time for your shop and increasing productivity, capabilities, and profits. This investment will pay for itself in no time.


Find more tips on working with platinum here.

Anything we missed? If you have a question, let us know in the comments below. We’ll work to help you get the answers you need.




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Wow Your Customers With These Watch Polishing Tips

“Wow! My watch looks great!”

 

Don’t you just love to hear those words from your customer after you deliver their watch repair? A customer’s first impression of the services you’ve rendered often sets the tone for the rest of the season. A great looking polished and refined case and band seems to validate the cost of your customer’s watch repair. After all, the exterior of the watch is all your customer gets to see. So in turn, your customers ultimately determine the acceptability of your work by its final exterior appearance.

Of course, it’s most important that all technical aspects of the watch movement are correct. After all, a great looking case and band will not cover up poor technical workmanship. On the other hand, however, a precisely performed watch repair installed in an unpolished or dirty case makes the entire job appear halfway done.

Here’s how to light your customers’ eyes with these simple watch polishing tips—

 

Watch Polishing Tips Beau Allain Headshot

Meet Beau Allain —Certified Watch Repairman

Beau Allain’s Top Watch Polishing Tips

Remember, plated cases need to be cleaned in the ultrasonic and not buffed or polished. Here are a few of Beau’s top watch polishing tips—

  • Keep in mind that you never want to over polish. It affects the look of the watch, and you can’t undo it.
  • Before polishing a two-tone watch, determine if it’s plated otherwise you’ll polish off the gold plating. A high end, two-tone watch will be stainless and gold — either 14K or 18K — eliminating this concern.
  • I like to polish with a 11/2” muslin buff (17-6431). It has good tension and the width means I can apply the polish with one side, then remove the polish with the other side without changing buffs.
  • When you’re polishing a satin band, I like to start with a lower micron buff, then come back with a Bergeron Satin Wheel (17-8743).

Watch Polishing Tips Shawn Albert Headshot

Meet Shawn Albert — Tools Product Manager, Stuller

Shawn Albert’s Watch Polishing Tips

Keep it Crystal Clear

As a final thought, we find that people who do the best jobs in their professions do the little extra things better than anyone else. So here is an often-overlooked detail. How about the scratches on the watch crystal? Many times that part of the watch is neglected. And, after all, it is the place we look to actually see the time. Do you polish the crystal? It is the extra touch you can give to make the customer’s first impression one they will remember and tell their friends about. Try the Crystal-Kleer (Re-New-All) Plastic Renewer (47-3100) and the PolyWatch Scratch Remover (64-5100) as good scratch removers for all of those plastic crystals.

Using Merard Watch Masking Tape

Here’s a quick step-by-step for a smooth watch polishing process

watch polishing tips tools needed

Tools needed: 47-323134-2242 • 47-3225

watch polishing tips 3mm masking tape

Mask areas on the watch you don’t want polished

watch polishing tips buffing

Put that high luster finish on metal bands and cases

watch polishing tips difference polish left right side

Notice the polished (right) vs. unpolished (left) links

watch polishing tips wrist try on

Take that extra time that your competitors don’t with these watch polishing tips to make those cases, bands, and crystals pop! Then, you’ll be pleased when you hear your customer say, “Wow! My watch looks great!”




Jewelry Repair Business Blog Header

How to Build a Booming Jewelry Repair Business

On average, your jewelry repair business contributes 15% or more to your top line, while accounting for 60% of your foot traffic. Most jewelers aren’t making as much from their jewelry repair business as they could. So, we reached out to David Brown, the CEO of the Edge Retail Academy (ERA) to look over the data. As the industry’s dominant consulting service, they gather and analyze impressive amounts of data from cooperating jewelers.

 

Here are five areas to review when building a booming jewelry repair business—

 

FTB by the numbers Jewelry Repair Business

The Edge Retail Academy Data

The graphic above reflects ERA facts collected over the past three years. In that time, the average repair price has risen about $0.08/month or $1/ year. These gains are minimal. Ask yourself: Have the costs of labor, equipment, and supplies remained similarly static? You know the answer to that question. At the very least, you should use this information to re-evaluate your pricing.

Get the Price Right

If you already own David Geller’s Blue Book and have adjusted your prices accordingly, you’re good. If not, that’s an excellent place to start. Many jewelers fear that by raising rates, they’ll scare off customers — effectively sending them to a competitor. Geller delves into this idea and explains that it isn’t true. You can charge more and attract more repair customers than ever. It’s a win-win proposition for you.

Communication Matters

To succeed, you must take a close look at how you sell your repair services. One of the most fundamental issues involves effective communication between you and your sales staff and their interactions with customers. How well have you trained your salespeople to assess and take in repairs? Do they know to perform a proper evaluation? Do they know when to call on your expertise for an assessment? Do they know and clearly explain the upsell options?

What Exactly Happens?

In eight out of ten cases, once a customer understands all that goes into the repair, the price is not an issue. You also build trust by educating the customer about a repair. Along these lines, we see an increasing number of retailers choosing to locate their benches where customers can watch the jeweler at work. This activity attracts customers into the store and lets them see for themselves how bench jewelers work.

Word of Mouth — It’s Powerful!

When a customer brings you a repair, explain the steps involved and the years of experience required to accomplish the repair. This assures them of the value they’ll receive. Armed with this knowledge, these satisfied customers will become your best promoters. Chances are strong they’ll mention the experience to multiple friends and acquaintances, and a number of them will bring you their jewelry repairs. A trustworthy jewelry repair business can help improve your product sales closing rate through the trust earned in your repair shop.

Jewelry Repair Business Social Share Image

 

Read more from the latest From the Bench Repair Issue here


 




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How to Leverage Custom Imprinted Jewelry Packaging

Perhaps you’ve had your jewelry store for years now. You’ve established yourself within the community after servicing multiple generations. Your store has excelled as a reliable force for customers in the area. Word of mouth recommendation for your business is strong. But is there more you can do to establish a cohesive brand?

Start by auditing your packaging lineup. From tissue to boxes to bags, take a moment to reflect on your branding efforts — and legacy — as you hone in on your business’s image. Luckily, Stuller’s options for customizing your jewelry packaging are vast and exciting.

Custom imprinted jewelry packaging branded logo

Your packaging is your flag. Here are three easy ways to stand apart using custom imprinted jewelry packaging—

1. Curate your color scheme

Envision your store’s design. Do you have a signature color accented throughout the store? If not, take a moment to observe your merchandise and evaluate which color would best complement your store’s vibe.

Rule of Thumb – It’s hard to go wrong with neutral tones set against bright pops of color

If you want a deep, rich color scheme . . .

For deep blue, purple, or burgundy boxes and bags, consider gold foil accents in your custom imprinted jewelry packaging. Customers will feel luxurious as they carry out their new jewelry in style.

If you want a sleek, clean look . . .

Choose either a white box with a black logo or a black box with your logo in white. This is a dynamic look and your customers will appreciate its straightforwardness.

If you’re targeting a younger demographic . . .

Consider digital imprinting. Did you know Stuller is one of few companies to offer digital imprinting? Using this process, you can customize your logo color to a specific Pantone or CMYK Color. In turn, if you follow trends, you can coordinate your logo colors to move right along with what’s in vogue. Your younger clientele will appreciate this ever-evolving attention to detail and your custom imprinted jewelry packaging will always be ready for Instagram!

2. Look at your logo

Once you’ve sorted out your colors, take a second glance at your logo. If you’re in the mood to update your logo and don’t have access to proper resources, our custom imprinting team has 7 template options available for $99. Simply choose a pre-configured style that will help convey your store’s unique elements.

3. Add in a few add-ons

Maybe you already have custom imprinted jewelry packaging and carefully crafted store colors. Kudos! As always, there’s still room to invigorate your business. Consider this: restaurants have branded matchboxes, dentists have their names on toothbrushes, why shouldn’t a jewelry store have its own customized giveaway?

Go the extra mile by adding your logo to our variety of custom cleaners or cleaning cloths as a giveaway for your clientele. It’s something both thoughtful and functional that’ll be much appreciated. With four types available — gentle, fine, natural, and silver — there’s a cleaner available for every type of jewelry you sell.

17-1010
 Custom imprinted jewelry packaging klean karats cleaner

Another option to offer is our new Klean Karats® Gentle Foam CleanerDon’t worry, even though you can’t have your logo directly imprinted onto these just yet, there is no shortage of inventive ways to impart your own personal twist. Try our custom seals with your logo, for example (available in kraft, silver, or gold). These make great gift tags and when tied with ribbon, this new foam cleaner will be a treat for your customers.

Learn more about custom imprinting options at Stuller.com


When you’re ready to take the big leap toward custom imprinted jewelry packaging, give us a call at 800-877-7777 ext. 6144.




2018 Battle of the Benches Patrick Dobbs Blog Header

2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop Wrap-Up

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.




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Introducing the 2018 Battle of the Benches Competitors

Mark your calendars! Stuller’s Bench Jeweler Workshop begins Friday, March 23 where our 3rd Annual Battle of the Benches competition will kick off. This year, we’re bringing back four past competitors to participate in a real-time jewelry challenge, each seeking their claim to bench jeweler glory.

 

Meet the incredible artisans set to compete in this year’s Battle of the Benches challenge


Battle of the benches David Adamson headshot

David Adamson

David Adamson Designer Jewelry

David first developed a love for the trade working alongside his father in the family store at the age of 16. Starting from the bottom taught David all the important skills that every bench jeweler needs to succeed. Today, he is the proud owner of David Adamson Designer Jewelry. Being in the jewelry industry for over 40 years taught David how to adapt to change. He knows it’s a new, ever-growing retail landscape and he constantly attends CAD training seminars and technology fairs to keep up with current changes.

When it comes to customization, David prefers to use RhinoGold. He enjoys the software’s simplicity, intuitiveness, and ease of use. David’s career as a jeweler began at the bench (rather than as a CAD jeweler), which led him to gravitate towards RhinoGold software.

When not at the bench, David loves to help people study the Bible. He also likes to sail, ski, travel, and hang out with his children and grandchildren. David took home the gold in the 2016 Battle of the Benches challenge and will return to reclaim his bench jewelry glory.

Battle of the benches David Adamson Bench Jeweler Workshop


Battle of the benches Patrick Dobbs HeadshotPatrick Dobbs

Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology

Growing up in West Texas, Patrick’s passion for jewelry began when a teacher offered him a job making belt buckles. It was this teacher who encouraged Patrick to pursue a career in the jewelry industry.

Today, Patrick is a jack-of-all-trades. He sells, designs, and creates with CAD, 3D printing, mills, stone setting, fabrication, and more. For him, working under pressure is a daily thing. When asked about his favorite part of the job, “It’s all about the reveal,” he says. “Seeing a customer’s face light up when they see the jewelry that I’ve worked so hard to create is indescribable.”

During his free time, Patrick loves to work out and he likes to play tennis. He also spends his free time tinkering with his Jeep Wrangler. Whether it’s jewelry or cars, Patrick Dobbs enjoys working with his hands, making him a formidable competitor for this year’s Battle of the Benches competition.

Battle of the benches Patrick Dobbs Bench Jeweler Workshop


Battle of the benches Craig Farley HeadshotCraig Farley

FCF Jewelry Designs

An artist at heart, Craig Farley’s is gifted at working with customers and translating their ideas into purposeful pieces. His has a passion for creating future heirlooms so customers can express something personal and meaningful.

His bench jeweler career began 22 years ago. He started as a polisher at a small trade shop and quickly progressed to general repairs. Next, he tried his hand at fabrication. Craig understood the value of continuing education and took a wide variety of courses ranging from advanced diamond setting at GIA to a mokume gane workshop by Steve Midgett. Wax carving was next on his list of things to learn. After mastering these skills, Craig realized that to take his business to the next level, he needed to jump into computer-aided design (CAD). “Repairs are the backbone of a good shop,” says Craig. “But custom design makes it so much more than just a job to me.” These days, Craig is a master Matrix designer, bringing incredible designs to life.

Craig’s other passions include martial arts and playing guitar in the local music scene. “Maybe the discipline of martial arts training mixed with my inner rock star makes me a good challenger,” he suggests. The spotlight doesn’t bother Craig and he’s looking forward to competing in Battle of the Benches!

Battle of the benches Craig Farley Bench Jeweler Workshop


Battle of the benches Jyothi Forman HeadshotJyothi Forman

Georgie’s Fine Jewellery

Jyothi Forman is a jeweler at Georgies Fine Jewellery in Narooma, New South Wales, Australia. She specializes in hand fabricating custom jewelry. Jyothi, a blossoming 25 years old, grew up in a small regional town called Tanja and went to school in Bega, New South Wales.

“I’ve always been a practical person and love working in a hands-on manner. In school, I loved ceramics, woodwork, metalwork, and visual arts. When I stumbled upon the jewelry trade, I couldn’t believe my luck! It combines everything I enjoy: practicality, creativity, and an ongoing challenge,” Jyothi explains. “I knew I loved making jewelry since my first day on the bench.”

Outside of work, she loves exploring the outdoors. Mountain biking, playing soccer, painting, and hanging out with her sweet pup, Baxter, are a few of her favorite activities. Jyothi will be returning to Bench Jeweler Workshop this year to defend her 2017 Battle of the Benches title.

Battle of the benches Jyothi Forman Bench Jeweler Workshop


Stay tuned for this year’s Battle of the Benches competition at Stuller’s 2018 Bench Jeweler Workshop!

 




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5 Tips to Kickstart Your Jewelry Repair Business

Few can argue that jewelry repair is an underlying revenue stream that pays the bills when things get slow. In fact, repair averages anywhere from 10-15% in monthly revenue, peaking in January. That’s right, you know all too well about the post-Christmas sizing, modifications, engravings, and enhancements that waltz through your door after the big gift exchange. But ultimately, jewelry repair is a year-round business. What you might not know, though, is that research shows the main difference between a $1 million shop and a $2 million shop is not the number of jewelry repairs performed, but the pricing of those repairs. You may be leaving big money on the table by undercharging or overlooking great sales opportunities.

 

Here are five ways to maximize revenue through jewelry repair–

 

1. Promote Yourself Widely

As an expert in the jewelry industry and a trusted member of your community, take every opportunity to promote your business. Television, radio, and print ads are all great opportunities to tout your repair services. But you don’t have to limit yourself to traditional media these days. In fact, you shouldn’t! Get on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to spread the word. You’ll reach those youthful customers who spend much time on social media and are eager to shop locally. These social platforms are booming, and best of all, they’re free! So get online and spread the word about your jewelry repair services. Check out our best social media tips here.

2. Offer Limited-Time Promotions

Your promotion should be something you can do quickly and inexpensively – a complimentary battery change, for instance. Offer to replace watch batteries for just the cost of the battery. Or offer half price on a chain solder. The idea is to reward your loyal customers while attracting new ones to your store without losing much time or expense. And, of course, a fifteen-minute turn-around time gives your customers fifteen minutes to browse while they wait!

3. But Don’t Discount Everything!

If you’re like a lot of jewelers – maybe most – you’re not charging everything you could be for repairs. How do you know what you should charge? The industry standard, of course, is Geller’s Blue Book, which provides solid guidelines. Do some research to see how the recommended pricing in Geller’s Blue Book compares to your current rates. Then, adjust your pricing accordingly. Don’t be scared to raise your jewelry repair rates. After all, your time and workmanship are invaluable. Need more information on pricing or other business-related matters? Visit David Geller’s JewelerProfit.com for more.

4. Build Trust

You’ve seen the customer who hesitantly hands over her engagement ring to have a prong re-tipped. When you tell her it will take about 30 minutes, she offers to stick around while you do the work. And who can blame her for being so nervous? She’s entrusting you with what might be her most cherished possession. Create a sense of trust by using a standard, rigorous take-in process using this 3-part jewelry repair form. You can never be too thorough: measure the stones, describe their color in detail, notate any damage to the piece and the condition of the stones, weigh the item, and take pictures from all angles. By taking pictures of her ring and stapling it to the repair envelope, she’ll feel confident that she’s getting back exactly what she left. Plus, if details are not documented on intake, any jewelry repair discrepancies may come back to haunt you.

5. Upsell, Upsell, Upsell

Use the take-in process to tell your customer about all the other services you offer. Tell her you can remount the stone in that ring she inherited or engrave the locket she got for her birthday. You can also charge more for premium services like rush jobs. Customers who need their jewelry soon are generally willing to pay a higher price. Tell her you can appraise that engagement ring so she can get it insured. And don’t forget to use your counter space for trendy, reasonably priced items near the take-in counter to make impulse purchases more likely.

 

Here are 10 simple steps to the perfect jewelry repair process

Jewelry repair ten tips

Download and print this invaluable handout regarding tips on pricing by David Gellar

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 16, 2015 and has since been completely revamped for accuracy.