gold-recovery-header

How to Maximize Your Gold Recovery Returns

Dust in your store can reap unexpected rewards. In day-to-day activities like buffing, polishing, grinding, and so on, fine metal dust spreads around your workspace.

Collecting this accumulation of dust and precious metal amounts to a considerable return that can put money back in your pocket.

Here are a few easy ways to get the most out of your gold recovery:

Keep It Inside

A bench mat is essential to keeping your workspace clean and tidy. This can help to collect small bits of precious metals and prevents debris from falling onto the floor and getting scattered.

Also, the sticky adhesive of a Gold Mat placed at the entrance/exit of your work area will capture bits of gold and precious metal, helping you gather the tiny fragments on the bottom of your shoes.

TIP: To maximize your returns, keep different grades of metal scraps separated for refining.

Keep Your Sweeps

Keep cutoff/separating wheel pieces, old flex-shaft buffs, brushes, etc. and throw them in with the floor sweeps.

  • Designate filings and trimmings from stone setting and seat cutting, for example, as clean filings.
  • Use your bench mat to collect finishing wheel debris, buffings, pumice wheel, and other pre-finishing wheel debris. Keep this separate from your clean filings.
  • Keep old buffing wheels, used sandpaper, and anything else you think might contain gold. It probably does!

Buy a Dust Collector

Rather than a traditional vacuum cleaner, use a Variable Speed Dust Collector with disposable bags to vacuum shop floors. This ensures the collection of 99.9% of debris and traps particles (down to 0.3 microns in size) in its collection chambers.

Save the filled bags, and keep them with your floor sweeps. These bags can contain a substantial amount of gold in the form of small solder snippings, filings, cut-off disc powders, small pieces from ring sizing, etc. that can all be sent to your refiner.

TIP: Vacuum your buffer daily. It helps keep the shop neat and decreases buffing dust from falling to the floor.

Don’t Forget the Ultrasonic Solution

Use a rinse bucket to rinse items coming from the ultrasonic. Also, bottle your old ultrasonic solution, settle it out, and pour off the clear top liquids. The sludge can be dried out and returned to your refiner with the buffing dust. Yield is typically about the same as buffing dust.

Drain Sweeper Installation

Don’t let your gold wash down the drain!

By investing in a drain sweeper, you can capture precious metal sediment that would otherwise be flushed down the pipes.

A Stuller tools study revealed that after nearly six weeks of using the drain sweeper, 0.082 ounces of gold were recovered, equating to roughly $77.67 at $947.25 gold. A product like this will pay for itself.

Crucible Care is Crucial

If you cast, rinse out your quench tank/bucket and pour off the suspended used investment.

  • Keep the bottom sludge and put it in with the floor sweeps. This can contain a good amount of gold debris.
  • Save old melting and casting crucibles and return with the floor sweeps as well; these also contain a good amount of finely divided gold particles.

More Ways to Maximize Gold Recovery Returns

  • Save your filters, including those from air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and dust collectors. These can contain a good amount of fine gold dust from buffing.
  • Segregate gold by karat from ring sizings and such. If kept separate, you can remelt and roll these pieces out to make sizing stock, wire, etc. You’ll get a higher return if the karatage of your gold bits is known.
  • Save gold-filled and gold-plated pieces, along with silver watch batteries (throw out NiCd batteries; they have no value). These may have a small amount of gold, but anything saved helps pay bills.

Approximate Gold Recovery Yieldsgold recovery

Clean Filings: Approximately 40% fine gold by weight

Dirty Bench Sweeps: Approximately 5% to 20% fine gold by weight

Buffing Dust: Approximately 2% fine gold by weight

Floor Sweeps (including vacuum cleaner bags): Approximately 1% by weight


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 10, 2016.




10 Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency Blog Header

10 Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency In Your Workspace

You’ve briefed yourself on your game plan, you’ve started stocking your bench, and you’re gearing up for the approaching customer tidal wave. The holiday season is on the horizon and it’s time to prepare your workspace for the slew of jewelry it’ll be seeing.

 

Here are 10 jewelry-making tools for efficiency to help you handle the demanding selling season ahead.

 

Leica® Bench Microscope • 29-4758

With its zoom and focus knobs, this easily operable microscope is perfect for detail work and can be adjusted to the user’s preferences.

Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency Leica Bench Microscope

GRS® Microblock XL Ball Vise • 26-4219

Made for stone setting and engraving, this vise is the perfect size between the GRS Microblock and the GRS Standard Block. Plus, it works well with GRS attachments and accessories.

Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency GRS Microblock XL Ball Vise

GRS® GraverSmith Pneumatic Power Tool • 26-4013

Ideal for jewelers on a budget, this versatile tool offers basic work capability for stone setting and engraving at a smaller cost than fully-featured machines — but with no sacrifice on work quality.

Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency GRS GraverSmith Pneumatic Power Tool

NSK Micromotor Kit • 35-1237

The NSK Micromotor offers both balance and motor power for smooth handling. The FiXpeed® system grants independent footswitch operation for the A and B motors, bringing you unprecedented versatility.

Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency NSK Micromotor Kit

Jeweler‘s Workbench • 13-0750

Made of sturdy composite multilayer material and featuring ten drawers for maximum storage, this workbench is a jeweler’s best friend. It will surely prepare you for the busy holiday season ahead.

Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency Jeweler‘s Workbench

Coherent®-Rofin Starweld Desktop Laser • 14-0135

Life is better with laser welders, and this one is perfect for small shops needing big power. You can do it all: last-minute holiday repairs, work near heat-sensitive stones, and boost your efficiency by 50%.

Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency Coherent-Rofin Starweld Desktop Laser

Asiga® Max™ X 3D Printer • 24-1192

Top performance, reliability, and 18 resins printed each hour — this 3D printer exceeds the needs of jewelers and casting houses. Meet your holiday demand with an Asiga®.

Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency Asiga Max X 3D Printer

Elmasteam Basic Steamer • 15-2050

This powerful steamer uses a combination of pressure, speed, and temperature to clean hard-to-reach crevices — on both jewelry and complicated tools like burs and drills.

Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency Elmasteam Basic Steamer

Arbe Variable Speed Magnetic Tumbler • 47-4153

This magnetic tumbler has a small footprint but does big things: it delivers a high-polish finish and cuts down your time on hand finishing. Your holiday work will sparkle and shine nonstop.

Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency Arbe Variable Speed Magnetic Tumbler

Legor Plating Unit • 45-4092

Maximize your plating productivity with the six one-liter tanks of this unit. This system supports plating from start to finish, making it a great plating time saver during the holiday crunch.

Jewelry-Making Tools for Efficiency Legor Plating Unit

Which jewelry-making tools for efficiency help enhance your workspace? Let us know in the comments below!




Jonathan Smiddy Header

Meet Jonathan Smiddy – The Returning Competitor

Jonathan Smiddy Battle of the Benches HeadshotThis year’s Battle of the Benches® competition is right around the corner, kicking off March 24th. Among the contestants is Jonathan Smiddy, a seasoned jewelsmith with over twenty-two years of experience under his belt. A bench jeweler at Robson’s Diamond Jewelers in Baytown, Texas, he spends his days repairing precious pieces and helping clients to create beautiful jewelry.

As a graduate of the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology, Jonathan Smiddy knew he wanted to be a bench jeweler right out of high school after taking interest in Indian handy crafts. “I’m a real classic kind of person. I like Art Noveau. I like Art Deco,” he explains. “So in most of my stuff, I sample a lot of those lines and a lot of French curves.” Jonathan’s passion entails building new and exciting pieces while his specialty lies in creating unique designs that end as exquisite works of art.

After participating in last year’s competition, Jonathan knows the ropes. He has a pretty good idea of what’s in store, having been there and done that. Does this give him a leg up on the competition? We’ll see! We surely expect Jonathon to bring his calm and collected demeanor along with his talent and creativity. The greatest challenge he faces in his day-to-day is meeting impossible deadlines. “Yet, somehow it always happens,” he says. And according to Jonathan, he works best under pressure. This is quite a fitting strength for the competition.

Jonathan Smiddy Battle of the Benches Pendant

Jonathan’s pendant from Battle of the Benches 2016

When it came down to scoping out last year’s competition, Jonathan had this to say: “It’s been really interesting, especially with the other jewelers. There’s lots of really good talent on the panel.” His only real concern, however, was aiming to set all of his stones in time.

In day one of the competition, Jonathan created a CAD design and model of a cocktail ring inspired by a customer profile. Day two brought about the Parts & Pieces Challenge where participants were given a box of “stuff” and tasked with creating a unique piece of jewelry. Jonathan created a sleek, modern pendant.

On the third and final day of the event, attendees visited any additional classes they might have missed. They walked the demo floor and even met with our technical folks. The final challenge also took place. This time, the task was to prep, polish, assemble, and set the now casted CAD design from the first day’s competition. Jonathan took the prize in this event with an amazing three stone cocktail ring featuring a blue center and pink accents.

When he’s not busy at the store, he enjoys visiting museums, camping, spending time with family and attending church. His favorite part of being a jeweler so far is having the opportunity to create wedding bands for himself and his wife.

Here’s a shot of Jonathan hard at work in last year’s competition, along with a few select pieces of his work-

Jonathan Smiddy Battle of the Benches Pendant Jonathan Smiddy Battle of the Benches Pendant Jonathan Smiddy Battle of the Benches Focus

“The leftmost image is a 9 carat Tanzanite pendant with .5 carats of side diamonds. It turned out absolutely stunningly and the story behind it is even better!” Jonathan reports. “I also really loved building the piece centered above. It’s a competition piece I designed featuring lapis, diamond, tsavorite garnet, and synthetic padparadscha accents.” 


Check out Jyothi Forman and David Adamson, two of Jonathan Smiddy’s competitors in this year’s Battle of the Benches® competition.




Alex Graham Stuller Associate FF Blog

Feature Friday – Alex Graham

In October, I celebrated my 5th year anniversary with Stuller. Five years – wow! While some may consider 5 years a blink-of-an-eye, and it certainly seemed to pass at that speed, it’s a significant chunk of my 26 years on this planet. While I feel very accomplished, I know there is so much more to do! (It’s a little intimidating to think that at my age, my Dad had already founded Stuller!)

I have worked in four different departments: an Events Team Intern, an Accounts Manager for Corporate Operations, a Merchandising Content Manager for Findings, Tools, Metals and Packaging & Displays, and now I serve as the Customer Events Manager in our new Customer Experience department.

Alex Graham Trade Publication

My first feature in a trade publication

It seems I have come full circle. So far, I absolutely love it. I, along with my wonderful and skilled teammates, help put on Stuller’s Events: Bridge, Bench Jeweler Workshop, Transform, Tradeshows and Trainings. My favorite aspect of my job is the energy. Sure, there are moments of high-stress, which occur in any job, but for the most part, the energy is electric. It’s our customers’ passion and love for their professions that overflows and ignites mine. They keep me knowledgeable and grounded. I love that at Stuller Events, jewelers come together and help each other face the enormous amount of change happening in the industry. Our events are where our employees get to sit down with our jewelers and have real conversations about how we can help them achieve their goals. It’s an honor to be a part of that.

Alex Graham Underwater Scuba DiverI get inspiration from everything: our customers, fellow employees, industry events. I particularly appreciate interacting with other “newbies” like me — 20-somethings trying to get into the game. It’s refreshing to know there are others my age who are just as enthusiastic about the opportunities in front of us. I also enjoy attending industry events for networking and education. There is always something new to learn.

Outside of work, I love to travel, write and scuba dive. I am a firm believer that the greatest joy in life can be found by submerging yourself in different cultures. It’s not always comfortable, but it is always, always worth it. You meet the most interesting people and see some of the most beautiful sights this amazing world has to offer. There is not a single plane ticket that I’ve purchased that I regret (I can’t say that about some of my clothing or meal choices). This year I plan on traveling to New Zealand and Prague.

Alex Graham Travel Berlin

Travels to Berlin

Writing is another passion of mine with fiction and personal blogging my main outlets. Scuba diving, however, will always be my number one love. There is nothing like it. You literally submerge yourself into another world, full of the most amazing and wonderful creatures you couldn’t even dare dream up yourself. Luckily for me, my three favorite hobbies often go hand in hand.

I’ve learned so much in these past five years and yet I know that I’ve only scratched the surface. I am beyond excited to be in this industry. The changes don’t scare me; they motivate me! I hope that in time I’ll achieve even half of what my father has. That goal, for sure, is motivation.

I trust in Stuller, I trust in our customers and I believe that as a team – the future will be D Flawless!

Alex Graham Matt Stuller Family


Read more about how I got my start here: Growing Up Stuller




My Workshop Experience – Oscar Noel Garcia

old-mine-oscar-casting

My father Oscar, casting

I am Oscar “Noel” Garcia, co-owner with my father, Oscar Garcia, of Old Mine Jewelers in San Antonio, Texas. Beginning in Mexico, my family has been in the jewelry industry for three generations. Combined, we have 60 years of experience. Our business has grown from a successful neighborhood store, to one with city and statewide recognition.

I began working alongside my father about five years ago. Before that, I was in the technology field, electronics and networking. I came into the family business to do CAD design to help keep the business going. I’ve been enjoying it ever since!

With our many years of experience, we offer traditional techniques and state of the art technology to fuel our designs. Because we perform all of our work in-house, we can provide the best support and ensure the most advanced and competitively priced jewelry service available in the area.  We have also manufactured highly acclaimed masterpieces. Over the years, local customers and other Jewelers turn to us for custom work.

 

A few custom pieces we’ve designed • See more of our work here
old-mine-pendent1 old-mine-ring2 old-mine-ring1 old-mine-ring3

 

old-mine-championship-rings

Championship rings for a local billiards league

Old Mine Jewelry is a full-service store; we do it all. I like to tell visitors, “We do everything under the sun when it comes to Jewelry.” In addition to producing custom designs for our customers and other stores here in San Antonio, we perform repairs on all jewelry, watches and clocks. Our specialization ranges from simple, traditional pieces all the way to the most modern and exquisite designs you can imagine. To fulfill our customers’ jewelry vision, we strive to exceed their wants and needs. Because we are family owned and operated, we have and always will offer our services at competitive prices.old-mine-emblem

We keep a homey retail storefront, so customers feel comfortable visiting our store. After 25 years, we recently moved our location which has been a challenge for us. However, we know things will work themselves out. We constantly aim to offer the best value and service for our merchandise and to treat our customers with dignity and respect. The smiles and sense of joy from all of our clients tell the real story behind our work. It makes this line of business so fulfilling and enjoyable. The sophisticated creations of Old Mine Jewelry, together with personalized service and support, have made it a business recognized for its excellence in innovative efforts, outstanding success, and exceptionally fast growth.

Our store mascots, Roman & Toby 
old-mine-pets oscarpet

In April 2016, I visited Bench Jeweler Workshop at Stuller’s headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana. I first heard about the workshop from a Stuller email and immediately I knew I had to attend. I have been learning all I can about jewelry design and production, for one day this store will be solely mine, and I won’t always have my father’s guidance at hand. Going to the workshop, I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing I could relate to was attending the Gemvision Symposiums with classes held throughout the day.

Bench Jeweler Workshop had a similar structure and feel as past learning seminars. I would describe the event as very informative and laid back. If you have questions about something you can likely find the answer here, from the classes or a vendor. I learned quite a few things from Workshop, mainly about pricing and sales. The classes were a big help along with our old-mine-storefrontvisit to 302, Stuller’s in-house model retail store. It helped us visualize how to stage our jewelry in our store. I must say that I didn’t expect to have lunch provided every day and it is not just a sandwich box lunch. Also, the dinner party was quite a surprise. That helped with expenses and also with making friends, networking and learning from other jewelers.

I have been well since the event as I continue to learn and implement the strategies and pricing knowledge I learned from Workshop. This new store of ours is an uncharted venture, and topics I learned about at Workshop have helped us move forward and grow as a business.




My Workshop Experience – Joy Allen

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!

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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.




gold-recovery-header

Dust Today, Gold Tomorrow

Though not quite as extraordinary as say, interstellar cosmic dust or remnants from a shooting star, dust in your store can reap unexpected rewards. In day-to-day activities like buffing, polishing, grinding, and so on, specks of fine metal dust can be spread here and there around your work space. Collecting this accumulation of dust and precious metal amounts to a considerable return and will help to put money back in your pocket.

Here are a few easy practices for getting the most out of your gold recovery:

Don’t let your gold walk out the door! A bench mat is essential to keeping your work space clean and tidy. This addition to your bench can help to collect small bits of precious metals and prevents debris from falling onto the floor and getting scattered.

The sticky adhesive of a Gold Mat placed at the entrance/exit of your work area will help to capture bits of gold and precious metal, helping to avoid tracking these tiny fragments on the bottom of your shoes. In fact, some large facilities even require employees to change their shoes when going in and out of their work spaces!

TIP:
In order to maximize your returns, it is important to keep different grades of metal scraps separated for refining.

Floor Sweeps

  • Save cutoff/separating wheel pieces, old flex-shaft buffs, brushes, etc. and throw them in with the floor sweeps.
  • Designate filings and trimmings from stone setting and seat cutting, for example, as clean filings.
  • Use your bench mat to collect finishing wheel debris, buffings, pumice wheel, and other pre-finishing wheel debris. Keep this separate from your clean filings.
  • Save old buffing wheels, used sand paper, or anything else that you think might contain gold…it probably does.

Dust Collectors

  • Rather than a traditional vacuum cleaner, use a dust

    collector with disposable bags to vacuum shop floors. This ensures the collection of 99.9% of debris and traps particles down to 0.3 microns in size in its collection chambers. Save the filled bags and keep them with your floor sweeps. These bags can contain a substantial amount of gold in the form of small solder snippings, filings, cut off disc powders, small pieces from ring sizings, etc. and can be sent to your refiner.

  • Vacuum your buffer daily. It helps to keep the shop neat and decreases buffing dust from falling to the floor and being lost.

Ultrasonics

  • Use a rinse bucket to rinse items coming from the ultrasonic. Also, save your ultrasonic solution, settle out, and pour off the clear top liquids. The sludge can be dried out and returned to your refiner with the buffing dust. Yield is typically about the same as buffing dust.

Drain Sweepers

Don’t let your gold wash down the drain. By investing in a drain sweeper, you can easily capture precious metal sediment that would otherwise be flushed down the pipes. In fact, a Stuller tools study revealed that after nearly six weeks of using the drain sweeper, .082 oz. of gold was recovered, equating to roughly $77.67 at $947.25 gold. A product like this will pay for itself in no time.

Castings

  • If you cast, rinse out your quench tank/bucket and pour off the suspended used investment. Keep the bottom sludge and put it in with the floor sweeps. This can contain a good amount of gold debris.
  • Save old melting and casting crucibles and return with the floor sweeps as well; these also contain a good amount of finely divided gold particles.

How to Maximize Returns

  • Save your filters, including those from air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and dust collectors. These can contain a good amount of fine gold dust from buffing.
  • Segregate gold by karat from ring sizings, etc. If kept separate, you can remelt and roll these pieces out to make sizing stock, wire, etc.
  • You’ll get a higher return from gold buyers if the karatage of your gold bits is known and not mixed.
  • Also, save gold-filled and gold-plated pieces, along with silver watch batteries (throw out NiCd batteries, they have no value). These may have a very small amount of gold, but anything saved helps to pay the bills.

Approximate Gold Recovery Yieldsgold recovery

Clean Filings: Approximately 40% fine gold by weight

Dirty Bench Sweeps: Approximately 5-20% fine gold by weight

Buffing Dust: Approximately 2% fine gold by weight

Floor Sweeps: (Including vacuum cleaner bags): Approximately 1% by weight

 

How do you get the most out of your gold recovery efforts? Share your wealth of knowledge by posting in the comments below!




BENCH JEWELER WORKSHOP WRAP UP

This past weekend, we welcomed more than 200 jewelers from around the country to our annual Bench Jeweler Workshop here at our global headquarters.

IMG_0551The 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.

DA

David Adamson

pd

Patrick Dobbs

CF

Craig Farley

js

Jonathan Smiddy

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.”

DavidAdamson

David Adamson’s piece

FullSizeRender

Patrick Dobbs’ piece

craigfarley

Craig Farley’s piece

js

Jonathan Smiddy’s piece

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.

4rings

From L-R: Jonathan Smiddy’s ring, David Adamson’s ring, Craig Farley’s ring & Patrick Dobbs’ ring

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:

BJW1 BJW2 BJW3
BJW4 BJW5 bjw8

bjw6

Matt Stuller and the Battle of the Benches contestants

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.

 




Meet David Adamson

David Adamson

The son of a master jeweler and watchmaker, David Adamson brings a wealth of expertise to the bench. At a young 16, he started working at his father’s store, Jimmy Adamson’s Jewelry. It was during this time, when a friend of his father and great jeweler, offered him an apprenticeship. 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.
David enjoys hand fabricating. In his own words, “The real pleasure is in having a rolling mill, some precious metal and gemstones, and just letting the imagination run wild.” Bench work is his ultimate passion. Whether it’s simple design or something highly complicated, seeing that finished piece of jewelry that he’s made brings a great sense of satisfaction.
David knows that the Battle of the Benches competition will be exceptional, and that it will be a true challenge. However, he’s been under pressure all his life. When it comes to being in a stressful setting, he says “I do my best work when my back is against the wall.”
When not at the bench, David loves to help people study the Bible. He also likes to sail, snow ski, travel, and hang out with his beautiful wife, kids, and gorgeous granddaughter.
Being in the jewelry industry for 39 years has taught David how to adapt to change. He knows it’s a new, ever-growing retail landscape and he’s constantly attending CAD training seminars and technology fairs to stay abreast of current changes.

To see what the other three contestants are up against, here is some of David’s work:

reachingforthestars

David created this six inch long solid gold object d’art of a nude. It is suspended from flowing waves of silver and supporting a cherry Mexican fire opal star in her outstretched hands. The star is removable and can be worn as a pendant.

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A custom design for a local customer that wanted something unique done with her mother’s emerald.  This was a CAD design and carved in 3 pieces with a Roland JWX30,  cast in 18k gold, set and finished by David Adamson.

 

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This was a large 16 x 13 mm genuine Morganite that the customer wanted a custom halo setting for with the gallery to be domed with pave’ swirls.  CAD designed in RhinoGold, 3D printed in 3 pieces, cast, set, assembled and finished by David Adamson.

 

pendant

David fabricated this piece for a good friend, using a large Madeira citrine, diamonds, and a long freeform blue drusy chrysocoll he got in Tucson. This enhancer was entirely made of 14K white & yellow gold.

 

Which is your favorite David Adamson piece? Tell us in the comment section below.




Meet Craig Farley

Craig Farley (Defendant)An artist at heart, Craig Farley’s specialty is working with customers and translating their ideas into purposeful pieces. His passion is creating future heirlooms for people who are looking for something personal and meaningful.

His career as a bench jeweler began 22 years ago. He started as a polisher at a small trade shop, and then 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, Craig realized that in order to take his business to the next level, he had 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.” Although he doesn’t accept tips, he has more happy tears, hugs, cards, and cookies than he knows what to do with.

Craig’s deep passion for CAD design gave him the confidence to enter last year’s SMART Jewelry Show Chicago’s Bench Pressure Challenge. Craig works well under pressure and demonstrated that last year by taking home top honors for round #1 of the challenge and overall co-champion.

But when it comes to the Battle of the Benches, there can only be one winner. And Craig’s hungry for his next title. Being in a competition like this humbles yet energizes him as he enjoys working around other creative minds. “I feel this [Battle of the Benches] will be a fun learning experience, as well as, a great, personal challenge.”

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 make me a good challenger,” he suggests. The spotlight doesn’t bother Craig and he’s looking forward to competing in Battle of the Benches!

Here are some of Craig’s pieces:

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This elegant but edgy piece was designed around a 2 carat princess cut, using 14K palladium white and rose gold.

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For this piece Craig used his customer’s diamonds from her old jewelry. The center stone is a 4.5 carat sapphire. It was challenging but fun to squeeze all the diamonds into a pleasing shape.

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This is one of Craig’s favorite pieces. It’s hand fabricated in 14KY, set with an emerald shaped ametrine. A flush set yellow sapphire is on the side, and it has shakudo mokume gane inlay to accent the colors of the center stone.

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This is a redesign of a common marquise shape cluster ring. Craig took an old worn out ring and created a fun modern look.

Which is your favorite Craig Farley piece? Tell us in the comment section below.