As a student in the School of Jewelry & Metal Arts (JEM), we will help you cultivate your artistic voice as you create innovative new pieces. From traditional jewelry-making skills, to the latest in lasers and 3D modeling and printing, you’ll learn a wide array of techniques you can use in your future profession. You will be challenged, supported, and driven by artist-educators who are as passionate about teaching as they are about their own studio practice. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with students from the Schools of Fashion and Acting to create memorable, one-of-a-kind pieces.

Jewelry & Metal Arts Areas of Interest

Jewelry Designer

Jewelry designers are usually drawn to their career because of a passion for artistic pursuits and fashion. Designers may work with jewelers and individual customers to create one-of-a-kind jewelry, or they work for manufacturers developing new pieces for the company’s collections. Some entrepreneurial designers go on to start businesses, selling designer jewelry under their own names.

Metalsmith

Metalsmithing can be an attractive career for those who are creative and skilled with their hands. They develop skills in cutting metal parts or joining them together. This is an important part of the process in jewelry creation. Those with metalsmith skills can go on to teach on the university level, work in jewelry repair, or design custom jewelry for weddings.

Bench Jeweler

Bench jewelers use various hand and powered tools to cut, grind and polish metal, and utilize various liquid solutions for cleaning and plating metal and stones. Responsibilities may range from basic repair and sizing through to fine clean cast and detail work. Typical repair work includes enlarging or reducing ring sizes, resetting stones, and replacing broken clasps and mountings.

Degree Details

Our programs have many choices to help you customize your educational journey based on your areas of interest. Click the semester class breakdowns to explore the classes we offer.

Student Work

Our Faculty

Charlene Modena

Director, School of Jewelry & Metal Arts

Ms. Modena received her MA in Sculpture from San Francisco State University with an emphasis in Jewelry and Metal Arts and an MFA in Sculpture from Academy of Art University. She also studied with the S.F. Art Institute, Penland School in North Carolina and Haystack School in Maine, and conducted additional research in England, Mexico, Italy and Hawaii. She has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout the world, including the American Institute of Architects, the University of Guanajuato (Mexico), the Butler Museum, Elements Gallery, the Velvet da Vinci Gallery and the Biennale Internationale-Limoges in France.

Karen Chesna

Online Coordinator, School of Jewelry & Metal Art

A native of Chicago, Karen Chesna earned her MFA in Sculpture/Metals from Academy of Art University and holds a BA in the History of Art and Architecture, with a concentration in Indigenous Art, from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She spent many years working in the Anthropology Department at the Field Museum of Natural History and considers this immersion in humanity’s cultural past a major influence on her sculptural jewelry, artist books, and small metal-based mixed media sculptures.

Faculty Work Highlights

Technology and Facilities

Our comprehensive equipment and studios provide you with all the tools needed to inspire any creation.

View Facilities

Pre-College Programs

The Pre-College Art Experience Programs are programs that provide intensive art experiences for high school students. All high school students are invited to apply to take advantage of these full-tuition art scholarships (based on availability). Learn more about Pre-College Programs

Continuing Education

A flexible admissions process allows students to craft their own online education program. Dive deeper into fields you're already familiar with, or branch out into new creative disciplines. Learn more about Continuing Education

Careers in Jewelry & Metal Arts

Metalsmith / Gallery Artist

Focus on developing a conceptual and technically sound body of work for exhibition within a museum or gallery setting. Explore historical, political, or personal narratives while creating one-of-a-kind and limited edition works in your studio. Engage in a dialog with viewers and collectors about the many techniques incorporated into your pieces and the underlying themes represented.

CAD Jewelry Designer

Create jewelry designs using software for 3D modeling and printing. Realize designs using printed wax and plastic models, CNC machines, milling, and laser cutting for use with modern jewelry production techniques. Work side by side with production teams to ensure manufacturing consistency in this dynamic career path.

Technical Designer

As a technical jewelry designer, you are a part of the design team creating drawings and digital files for use in production. Plan, iterate, and create maquettes for rapid prototyping in this exciting career path.

Jewelry & Metal Arts Instructor

Teach students to apply traditional hand techniques and modern technology in the production of jewelry and metal arts while encouraging creativity and self-expression. Instruct the next generation of artists and designers in the latest fabrication methods, materials, and aesthetics used by leading jewelers and metalsmiths. Provide a historical context for the student's artistic exploration and practice.

Casting Specialist

Work with a variety of clients during the design, prototype, and final production stages. Utilize your expertise to provide solutions for intricate designs and challenging concepts. Stay updated on the newest metal alloys and technologies to ensure the best possible metal castings.  

Gallery / Museum Curator

Apply your knowledge of the jewelry profession to curate exciting and thought-provoking exhibitions in a gallery or boutique-style space. Inspire and educate the general public about the jewelry and artwork you represent. Introduce collectors and connoisseurs to new and emerging artists from around the world.

Online Education

Whether you are a curious beginner or a practicing metalsmith wishing to take your work to the next level, our online JEM program will push your creative boundaries and teach you the skills necessary for success. Learn from detailed written lectures and quality instructional videos that let you see intricate details up close. Your instructors — actively engaged metalsmiths with a passion for teaching — are there to help you master challenging techniques and concepts through personal attention. Connect with an international community of peers as you study from your own studio. Get started today.

 

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Alumni Success

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