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My Workshop Experience – Joy Allen

Former student and budding jeweler shares her workshop story

Meet Joy Allen

Joy Allen and her fiance
Joy Allen and her fiancé

I grew up in a large active family, very involved in sports and our community. My passion for jewelry started when I was young. Around the age of ten years, I started making beaded jewelry. And as I grew so did my skills and love for jewelry. Toward the end of high school, I learned about Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology. Not long after I visited the school, I knew that was the place for me.

Joy’s Jewelry Student Journey

When I first started at TIJT, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. For the first couple of weeks, all I touched was a hand file and a saw. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Aren’t I supposed to be learning to make jewelry?” Little did I know that what I was learning was a very valuable skill. The Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology is a well-rounded program that has given me a solid basic knowledge of jewelry making. I have learned everything from polishing, soldering, and casting to fabrication, stone setting, some hand engraving, and laser welding skills.

Initially, we learned about different tools that we would use daily. As I was going through my tools, I noticed a pattern: many of our tools came from Stuller, which sparked several questions. Soon, I was informed about Stuller’s Bench Jeweler Workshop and all it had to offer. As the semester went on, my professors promoted the workshop and suggested that all students should attend.

Joy Allen First Engraved Piece
My first hand engraved piece

Joy Allen First Pave Piece
My first pave

Joining Bench Jeweler Workshop

After hearing my professor talk about the workshop frequently, I did some of my own research and decided that it would be beneficial for me attend. Before coming to the Stuller workshop, I had imagined learning about different tools and techniques and about the facility. However, I was blown away by the magnitude of what I experienced.

Joy Allen Custom Matrix Design
A basket pendant I designed with Matrix

I took a couple of the classes offered and learned about new products and the best way to use them. I was truly amazed during the tour of the facility with the many different production rooms. I especially enjoyed seeing all of the jewelers set up with their benches in the main area of the workshop and getting to watch different ones use their refined skills. Being a visual learner, it was great to be able to watch the jewelers work and observe various ways to handle different tools for the best outcome.

I would encourage any jeweler or jewelry student to attend the Stuller workshop. There was much to learn and benefit from to become a better jeweler. It is set up in a tasteful way with a great schedule, allowing you to take classes, watch different jewelers, eat lunch with other people attending, and have a great time!

What an Experience!

Joy Allen and her Stuller Excellence Award

Attending the workshop as a student was very beneficial, and it was a great opportunity to learn and be inspired. I saw that jewelry could go in many directions, and there were many beautiful skills to strive to have. Going to the workshop enhanced my love for jewelry and inspired me to become a better student. It challenged me in several different ways and also encouraged me as a student.

Since the workshop, I received the Stuller Excellence Award for my hard work. Upon graduating from Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology, I quickly began my job search. In September, I started my first job as a jeweler in College Station, Texas; and I love it!

Through each aspect of Stuller, from tools and production to jewelry at its finest, the characteristics that impacted me the most were hard work and attention to detail. Daily, I strive to work hard and pay attention to detail, just as Stuller displayed.


Joy Allen

Recent graduate from Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology • Bench Jeweler for Montolongo's Fine Jewelry • I am one of seven children • I wish eating sweets made you sweeter • Love God and love others • I want to be a hand engraver • What doesn't kill you makes you stronger