Everyone always asks how and why I got started making jewelry. The "why" is easy – to never work in a cube again and because I could never find anything I liked within my budget. The "how" is a little longer of a story. As many of you know, I studied art in college and worked as a graphic designer for years. I honestly never thought the two would meet until print design began to die in front of me. So, I moved to web like everyone else and found it didn’t suit me at all.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do while doing what I didn’t want to do as my day job. I found a metal smithing class at this place, Lapidary Arts. It was perfect!

Lapidary Arts

There I took metal smithing classes from Joe. We started with rings. Here’s Joe…

Joe at Lapidary Arts

He’s teaching me to set stones in a ring on this occasion.

Angela at Lapidary Arts

They also sell plenty of gemstones and even teach classes on how to properly cut those stones. Ruby teaches those classes.

Here’s a student cutting a stone (I don’t cut stones-I only purchase them here).

Cutting stone at Lapidary Arts

They even have plating machines so I can go plate larger items like my bangle bracelets in bulk amounts. They have a small pen plater there as well. Here’s the larger plating machine. I’m plating 24k gold over silver here.

Plating at Lapidary Arts

I liked Joe’s small pen plating device so much that I bought one for myself! I’m trying to talk his sister, Ruby, into selling me this big one. 

Together, they taught me everything I needed to know about working silver, gold and rose gold. They also have wax carving, casting classes, wire wrapping classes, soldering, gemstone cutting, grinding and much, much more.

It’s a little building in a strip mall off a freeway, so don’t expect fancy. Do expect to learn in a very casual setting with Jerry Springer playing in the background. Joe loves trashy reality TV on a huge 47 inch TV set right in front of his station where he teaches. I always giggle a little when I hear, “My husband is +@e#ing my brother while I’m pregnant!” while learning to set gemstones.

You can find all my handmade jewelry in my Etsy shop!