Learn | Issue No.08


Dedicated to the Bench Artist F E AT U R I N G Deliberate Practice A Conversation with Ben Bentveltzen 2023 GRS® Training Center Guide International Training TC Information Schedule & Courses Meet the Instructors

Dedicated to the Bench Artist

GET READY FOR TRAINING CENTER SEASON WITH THE LATEST ISSUE OF LEARN! In this volume, we’ve got an in-depth interview with the talented Ben Bentvelzen. Check out his work for some great inspiration and read about how he followed his interests to build a career as a world-class artisan. If you are looking to LEARN in the US, find the right course for you with our 2023 GRS Training Center Guide. We’ve got an excellent lineup for next year, whether you’re picking up a graver for the first time or you want to master a specific technique. Nine exciting new courses and many returning favorites will help push your skills further in the new year. Check them out and make your plans to attend a course at the GRSTC in 2023!


Bob Finlay used deep relief engraving to depict Diana, goddess of the hunt, and scenes inspired by traditional Greek and Roman reliefs on this GRS® MicroBlock®. We congratulate Bob on his recent retirement and thank him for his work on the 2023 Learn project and all the years he spent teaching this engraving style at the GRSTC. Thanks for sharing your skills, Bob!

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means: electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the Glendo LLC. Although the highest care has been taken to make the information contained in “Learn” as accurate as possible, neither Glendo LLC nor the authors can accept responsibility for damage of any nature resulting from the use of the

information within. ©Glendo LLC 2022

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CONTRIBUTORS Learn magazine wouldn’t be possible without our awesome contributors! If you have an idea for an article, tips or techniques you’d like to share, or just want to send us some photos of your latest work, please email GRS at creative@glendo.com.


Growing up, Ben Bentvelzen enjoyed making things with his hands. The smaller and more precise the build, the more he enjoyed it. When the time came to start considering his future career, his father suggested that he look into a De Vakschool, which offered courses to become a bench jeweler, silversmith, watchmaker, and the like. He completed their 4-year program and began working as an independent contractor for the two companies where he had interned. Ben had dabbled in stone setting and hand engraving during school and enjoyed both, so he planned to study them further. This led him to take two weeks of courses at the New Approach School for Jewelers with Blaine Lewis. After that, he completed the 3-month program at the Alexandre School for Optical Diamond Setting. Since then, Ben has studied engraving with Sam Alfano and Martin Strolz and taught in Singapore, Denmark, Tahiti, Guatemala, Brazil, the Netherlands, and the United States. Currently, he divides his time between client work, instructing, and demonstrating at trade shows.

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How did you first become interested in Engraving/Jewelry/ Stone Setting? When I was growing up I had two big passions. One was playing sports and the other was working and making things with my hands, the smaller and more precise the more fun I had doing this. When I was around 14 I had to choose a school and a direction I wanted to study and pursue. I didn’t see myself becoming a high school gym teacher (or a professional athlete for that matter) and I had a hard time figuring out what I could do as a career that involved making precise object with my hands. I thought of going to a trade school to pursue a welding or carpentry degree but all the schools that I checked out didn’t really get me fired up, to say the least. After what felt like seeing all the schools that were somewhat in my general interest my dad told me there was a school in a remote city called ‘De Vakschool’, where you could learn to become a bench jeweler, silversmith, watchmaker and similar professions that require precise hands. This sparked my interest and since I had not a lot to lose (my ‘best’ options, I thought, were to become

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an awesome metal welder and pursue a career in underwater welding, join the army (thanks to a childhood fan boy obsession with Rambo, Arnold and the like), or to become the best carpenter in town. So as a fourteen-year old I checked the school out. When I saw the goldsmith classrooms fully equipped with cool looking work benches, students who were slugging along personal tool boxes with intricate tools and the sounds of polishing machines, hammer blows and the faint smell of fire in the background I had two thoughts running through my head. First one, sign me up! Second one, when do we start! How did you learn this set of skills? What training have you pursued? I started the aforementioned bench jeweler school when I turned 16 and went through the 4-year full time program. This started out with 2 years in school with a variety of subjects like art history, gemology training, drawing, sculpting and Thursdays and Fridays behind the bench. The last two years were both divided in half. 50% was spent interning at a jeweler company and the other half in school. During the time in school I had to write a business plan and during the last internship period (at a different company) I had to design and make a ‘masterpiece’ that showed my level of proficiency in all the aspects that are important to a bench jeweler. When I was 20, with my diploma in my pocket, both companies where I had done my training asked me to work for them on a part-time basis. My uncle mentioned it was fairly easy to start and register my own business entity in order to work for them both as an independent contractor, and how that could be a benefit for them as well as for me. During these first months I worked around 5 days a week with these companies and took on any other jewelry jobs that came my way (both ‘bosses’ were a bit older and happy to drop my name when they had other jewelers knocking on their door to do extra work), invested in quite a nice workshop where I was spending many hours around those 5 days and building up a solid reputation as someone who can get the job done in a good way and on time. I learned a lot during those months but the one thing I had to outsource were stone setting jobs.

I had dabbled a bit in stone setting and hand engraving while still in school as extra subjects and truly had a great time doing that, so my plan back then was to, after finishing up school, to get proper training in this at a specialized school or training facility. I ended up going to New Approach School For Jewelers in Franklin Tennessee to follow two weeks of stone setting classes with Blaine Lewis. This was a great experience in and of it itself, but probably the best thing was that he recommended to me to check out Alexandre School in Belgium. (My initial Google search wasn’t all too good when I initially looked for stone setting schools, I totally missed Alexandre School). So pretty much straight after returning from America I visited Antwerp and talked to Alexandre and the secretary at the school to learn more about the course options. I was super fired up after this visit and in my head totally ready to start the 3-month course. I definitely caught the stone setting bug at this point and didn’t want to do anything less than the longest and biggest course available. But having mentally decided that turned out to be the easy part. Getting actually started with the course came with some minor challenges to figure out first. Mainly I had to save up enough money to cover the course, tools, apartment and normal living expenses, plus enough to cover the 3-month period without any income. So back to my workshop in Holland I went to put in a ton of work and get myself ready for January 2013, when I had the test week with Alexandre. This all went according to plan so one Sunday evening I found myself in an Antwerp hotel across the school pretty nervous but super excited to start the next day. On my first trip to the school I discussed with the secretary if it was possible for me, if, after finishing and passing the test week, to buy all the tools and go home to practice with them for a couple of months before starting the ‘real’ course. This happened to work perfectly with their student schedule so they were okay with that. This had multiple benefits for me. Some of which were that now I had plenty of time to arrange a good place to stay during my time in Antwerp, to let my clients know upfront that I would be off in a couple of months for a pretty long time, (they had to find another bench jeweler in the meantime). Most were pretty excited for me and saw the benefit for them as well, when I would return afterwards with

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I spent every waking hour that I didn’t have scheduled for goldsmith work practicing with my new tools.

I didn’t set any stones, just cut what felt like a thousand circles and other shapes and struggled through sharpening my own gravers. When I finally started early in April I had put in a little over 250 hours of deliberate practice.

the skills to set stones, they could test me out and see if I was up to par with their other local setters, some were a bit less enthusiastic and gave me the unsolicited advice that I didn’t need all that fancy equipment or training and could and should learn it the “proper way”, by buying a couple hand push gravers, a shellac stick, and some practice stones. I truly appreciate advice from veteran bench jewelers, but in this instance I’m very happy I didn’t take it to heart and went to Antwerp anyway. The test week went well and like the plan I went home, built myself a bench, bought a compressor and spent every waking hour that I didn’t have scheduled for goldsmith work practicing with my new tools. I went through a ton of the practice plates and two trips back to the school to discuss my progress. I didn’t set any stones, just cut what felt like a thousand circles and other shapes and struggled through sharpening my own gravers. When I finally started early in April I had put in a little over 250 hours of deliberate practice (yes, I’m the type of person who tracks that stuff). Probably some of the biggest return on investment hours I’ve spent in hindsight. The course itself was absolutely great. We worked pretty much 7 days a week and I loved every second of it. Around half way through the course I started to notice it took Alexandre longer and longer to figure

out what I should tackle next as a practice project. Because of all the practice at home I went fairly quickly through the ‘normal’ program. This was when the real fun began and we started to work on some bigger projects together. Please describe your work history/ experience since you began metalworking. While still a student in Antwerp, around month 2, the main stone setter of Alexander went for a couple of weeks back to his home country for summer holidays. This was when Alexander asked me if I was interested in doing ‘real’ stone setting work for him. There was a pretty big job coming in that was fairly basic, but a lot of pavé work. Not something he fancied doing himself and one that couldn’t wait until his stone setter was back again. To me this sounded like a brilliant opportunity. Learning and working with real jewelry and stones while being compensated in a small way, plus being able to say afterwards that I worked for real with the great Alexander himself! Somewhere during these weeks there was a group of Dutch goldsmiths, who were part of a Dutch jewelry guild, who came for a visit to Antwerp and stopped by at the school. Quickly they figured

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out I spoke the same language and soon they crowded around my bench and bombarded me with questions. This was truly fun for me. I looked up to many of them because some had 30+ years of experience and now those same people were asking me for my opinion and advice regarding the training. Afterwards I asked Alexander if this was somewhat comparable to the questions and the crowds he worked with on trade shows. That got us talking about the trade shows he did to promote his school back in 2014. During the talk I said something along the following line: “would it be helpful if I join you on your next trade show, so people can see what a student is capable of after 3 months working with you? They can ask me questions, and company owners can see the real results that are possible when they send their staff to you for training. And, and, and...” (I laid it on pretty thick. I really was pumped to help him on a trade show). After some contemplation on his part, and me helping him remember my offer, he explained he didn’t really need me there to work but I was welcome to join him if I so choose. I could drive with him to Switzerland (the Baselworld trade show it was!) and he would pay for my restaurant and train fare expenses. A couple of weeks before we left, Alexander received a 901 steel hand-piece from GRS to test out the metal and see if he could set some stones in it or do some engraving on it, with the idea of continuing that during the fair. He received two, just in case something happened with the first one, which was not the case. One morning he dropped it on my bench and said “if you want, you can do something with it. For example something that is typical Dutch (I’m from the Netherlands, and he did something on his knob that was related to his country), and you can finish it in Basel.” “So, if I want, I can do whatever I feel like with this knob you just gave me, and try on it as many of the techniques we tackled together during the course?” It took me no time to answer wholeheartedly yes to that question! From that point on I put in many extra weekends and late hours until we left for the show, and by that point I had the majority of the work done on the top part. Back then, when he still did trade shows with his own physical stand, he used to share a booth with GRS Tools at the Inhorgenta and Baselworld shows.

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So the first day we arrived for the build-up I met the GRS team as well and over the next 14 days we spent a lot of time together. The responses of the visitors, other demonstrators and the GRS team were very positive and I had a great time working on the knob during the show. Towards the end of the fair I was asked by the president of Glendo if I was interested in doing trade shows for them directly in the future. Because the last couple of days working on the show were a ton of fun for me I straight away said yes. I kept in touch with the GRS team when the show was over and in 2015 I did my first show directly for them in Birmingham, UK. Since then many more have followed in Europe, Asia and America. At this point I was, including the course, 1.5 years living and working in Antwerp as an independent contractor with Alexander, and I felt like moving on to something new and learn some extra skills. During the Basel show I met Andrew Biggs from New Zealand, who did hand engraving demonstrations for GRS. This got me fascinated with hand engraving and I wanted to learn a bit more about it. I spoke to him and to Alexander and

they both recommended Sam Alfano as the person to go to. So that’s how I ended up doing a private course with Sam in Covington, Louisiana in 2014, which was a great experience! From then on I traveled quite a bit for work and to learn more skills. During my time in Antwerp I met many different people from around the world, and with some I stayed in touch. Through those contacts I flew to Singapore and worked and lived there for a couple of months, after I packed everything up in Antwerp. From there I traveled to Perth, Australia, and worked there for a couple of weeks, also at a former student’s private workshop. Both were great experiences! (I traveled back to Singapore for many more multiple month trips afterwards). The week with Sam was such a good experience I felt like diving deeper into it. After discussing it with Sam he recommended that I contacted Martin Strolz, from Austria, to see if he was able and willing to teach me more about hand engraving. After many e-mails, phone calls and a personal visit I started as a private student of Martin at the beginning of 2015. I stayed with him for a little

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more than a year during which time I learned a ton and had a great time in the beautiful Austrian countryside. I paid for my living expenses by doing stone setting jobs for a company in Vienna during the weekends and did multiple seminars at the goldsmith school where Martin taught, for all the different classes there.

me a couple years later teaching on Tahiti, crazy when I connect the dots in hindsight). After going through this process, I was officially a GRS instructor and taught my first GRS course with the Aktiv Guld company in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of 2018. I learned a ton from this experience, and if I did my job well, the students as well. Since then I’ve taught a couple classes a year at Aktiv Guld, which are always great fun to do. Over the years I’ve received inquiries from time to time about private courses with me. I always thanked the person for reaching out and felt somewhat honored they sought me out for private training, when there are so many places to learn. But, unfortunately, I wasn’t in the position of teaching private lessons. Mainly because my work setup was only arranged for myself and I was never long in my own private workplace to begin with. Then in March 2020 I was stuck in place, like the rest of the world. But the inquiries kept coming in. After a while I was done with my stone setting jobs, and because all the trade shows and my travel plans had been cancelled, all of a sudden I was in a position to say yes to this. First I started with people I knew personally. This went and felt very good, both for them and for me. Then I had private students I didn’t know very well, but through acquaintances of friends and colleagues. Then the ball started rolling and since then I’ve been pretty much fully booked back to back, as of this writing many month in advance. They come now not only from Holland but from all over Europe, and from time to time even from overseas, which is awesome! Sometimes I receive a nice and friendly e-mail, phone call or message with the question if I’m willing and able to teach in their personal workshop. My go to answer is no, but on some special occasions there is a possibility it can work for both of us. At the end of 2020, for example, I received an email from a bench jeweler who I had spoken to briefly at the JCK show in Las Vegas back in 2017. I must admit that I couldn’t remember that particular conversation (I talked to hundreds of visitors during those trade show days) but he mentioned how impressed he was with the 901 bird knob and how he had mentioned on the show that he would possibly get in touch with me at a later point. He happens to run a workshop and jewelry

How did you transition into being a teacher?

The first time I started to teach in a minor capacity was during my first trip to Singapore. The company there just received 3 Leica’s and GRS machines but had only ‘old timers’ working in the workshop. So my job was to explain the benefits of the tools and how to utilize the machines in a proper way, so it could help them in their work. I was 23 back then and had no idea how I could convince them of the benefits of these machines. Something about ‘you can’t teach old dogs new tricks’ came to mind and the start was a bit rough. But after doing my setting jobs, which I did there as well, and they 10x looped my work when it was finished like their life depended on it, they started to come around and slowly they asked if I could demonstrate again how the machines worked and what kind of gravers I used. Then, during my second Baselworld show with GRS Tools, the president of Glendo asked me if I would be interested in teaching official GRS courses in the future. I was all for it but had some slight doubts. I wondered if people would take a person like me serious. A young guy with not a 30+ year track record of working experience under his belt. She convinced me they would look at my work first and foremost and then at the results my potential future students would get from the courses I taught, if they were uncertain of my competence the first time around. I didn’t see any flaws in that explanation, so I was thrilled to get this plan started. Glendo flew me over to the US for 5 weeks to shadow 5 different classes that were taught at their GRS Training Center by 5 different instructors. This was to see and experience for myself how they run classes there. This was a great experience in and of itself and had the bonus for me of meeting many great artists from the US. (At the end of my stay in the US I flew to Las Vegas to demonstrate for GRS at the JCK show, which got

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What do you want students to take away from your classes? When a private student comes to me for, say 5 days, I tell and warn them the first morning we’re not going to make any ‘masterpiece’ in the relatively short time we have together. There is so much to learn but in my opinion there are some important, foundational techniques, with which, after getting the basics in, the student can work and practice on their own afterwards to hone their skills further. What looks so easy on a video, cutting a nice circle for example, can be pretty challenging when you’ve never done it before. This takes hours of deliberate practice, with properly sharpened gravers. So I tell them I want them to become good enough with this step (to stay with the circle example) so we can continue with their circle with the absolute minimum touch up from my end, so it stays their work in the end. The main techniques I hope and strive for that every student is able to do at the end of the course, is the ability to sharpen a variety of gravers and to be able to do basic castle, filet, and imitation pavé. Another thing I really hope for and like my students to take away from the classes is a motivation to push themselves to get to the next level and continue their practice and training on their own. When they have seen the possibilities and how much there is to learn, I see it as my job to push them as far as possible in the days we have together without going too far, so they stay motivated and not discouraged by how difficult it can be at some points. When they walk away with a fire to get after it, it totally makes my day!

You traveled all over the world, learning, teaching, and working. How have these travels inspired your own work? In my own daily work I very rarely have to design jewelry pieces. Many times I discuss in depth with the goldsmith what the possibilities are regarding techniques we can use and just the plain physics of what is possible. What the travels did do is open my eyes on the difference between how people work in different countries, and on the other side the similarities in the drive of dedicated craftspeople to grow and do their best work, no matter which country they’re from. To see how they incorporate different gemstones and materials in their designs, and how they tackle a project from start to finish is very interesting and inspiring to see for me. store in Tahiti and asked if he could fly me in for a private training. Definitely not the smoothest travels back and forth I’ve had in my life (thanks to Covid rules) but one of the best experiences for sure! This year I’ve done a similar awesome trip to Brazil and Guatemala to teach privately as well. Crazy to think that back in 2012, I was the one who flew to the other side of the world for courses and quality training and 10 years later people fly me in for that! What inspired you to teach? I love to learn and gain new skills and truly appreciate good teachers who are enthusiastic about the subject they teach. There is so much to learn and in my opinion life is too short to reinvent the wheel on your own all the time. In this day and age there is so much knowledge available through books, online, in schools, and through all those channels I gained many new skills and knowledge myself. When the opportunity came up for me to teach, and be on the other side of the spectrum and share the things I’ve had learned over the years I grabbed it with both hands.

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What do you enjoy most about teaching? It is unbelievably rewarding, no matter what starting level they come in, to see how the student picks up new skills. When after a couple of days together they automatically grab the tools and attack the project exactly as I do myself and taught them, it gives me a great feeling. When after struggling through a couple hours of straight line cutting or drilling exercises I hear a joyful shout and see them grab their phone to photograph a perfect metal chip coming out of a beautiful cut line or straight drilled layout I’m just as happy as they are. Another big part I love about teaching is hearing from time to time about the projects they are working on or seeing the progress they are making with their work through photos and videos they share with me. To meet up with former students at trade shows or other events, and to hear how much they use and appreciate the techniques they learned from me and how it helps them in their career gives me a ton of pleasure as well and is definitely a major reason why I enjoy teaching so much. In addition to teaching, you also do work for clients. How do you divide your time between the two? In the workshop are two fully equipped benches with all the tools necessary to do stone setting and engraving work, one for my student and one for me. During the day the student works on his or her project and on a big screen where I see what they are doing. I give demo’s and guide them through the different exercises. At the same time I work on my own project for my private clients. It’s hard to give an exact percentage on how I divide my time between teaching and my own work. The students

training progress definitely has my number one priority, so how much time I can spend nowadays on my own work has decreased (during normal working hours). But I like the combination of the two and how I spend my days in the workshop. Many students like to see what I’m working on also and to see how I use the techniques they are learning at the moment on a daily basis myself. How do you go about promoting your work and gaining new clients? This has grown very organically without me putting a conscious effort in it to be honest. At the VicenzaOro show in 2018 Andrew Berry convinced me to make an account on Instagram (he definitely had to use all of his persuasive skills for that, and thank you Andrew for doing that!). On this page I very sporadically post a picture of some project that I’m working on or that is finished. Because, as a stone setter, many jobs I do aren’t my design or for my own private customers, I can’t share them on social media. But in a few instances I can after discussing it beforehand with the jeweler or designer. For quite a long time now I’m not in a position to receive and do more work, so I do promote my work from time to time but not with the intention of gaining new clients. Where do you go for inspiration? Are there particular artists that inspire you? I get inspiration from many different artists. There are so many very good artists in this world it’s unbelievable. Seeing their work makes me want to push my skills to the next level all the time.

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Out of everything you have worked on, do you have a favorite project? What is your most memorable project? Why are these your favorite/most memorable? The first thing that comes to mind are the 901 handpieces. The first one back in 2013/14 got my foot in the door so to speak with Glendo and is how I started doing trade shows for them. The second one is also very memorable to me, and in hindsight interesting to see what came out of it. During the Baselworld show in 2018 one of the managers of GRS who came overseas to work on the show asked me if I was interested in doing the ‘Learn’ project for them. I replied, (with 95% of my focus on the demo I was doing at the moment and not paying much attention to him sipping coffee and talking to me), sure Josh, sounds like fun. And what exactly is it that you want me to do again? After some laughs on his part he explained how it worked and that the finished piece would be featured on their calendar and catalogue, and potentially on other dealers’ catalogues and advertising material as well. We bounced some ideas of each other and thought it cool to do a project on another knob. So I received a blank steel 901 hand-piece and between trade shows, working in Singapore and my normal work, I spent a couple of weeks working on this second handpiece. The only ‘rule’ was it had to have the word LEARN on it, for the rest it was all up to me. The whole project in itself was cool to do but what made it especially memorable to me was how that piece in the end was the catalyst to the 10 day Specialty Pavé class I did the following year in America.

What are your interests outside of jewelry and engraving? I’m an avid reader and can talk and nerd out on books that interest me with others who have similar book tastes for hours. Two titles that pop up from this year that were great reads for me are ‘The Wright Brothers’ by David McCullough (I love a good biography!) and ‘The Psychology of Money’ by Morgan Housel. It’s just unbelievable how much you can learn from a book on a topic that someone else has spent many years researching or a skill they honed for a lifetime, and share it with the world in a way in which you can absorb it in 10,20 or 30 hours, unbelievably cool if you ask me! Another major passion of mine is working out and staying healthy. It is so cool how much you can ‘ask’ of your body if you stay healthy and take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. I enjoy a hard callisthenic workout after a day behind the bench and there is no better start of the day, in my opinion, than hopping on my Rogue Echo-bike after a cold shower for an intense short workout. Related to this I greatly enjoy listening to podcast which cover health related topics, like the ‘Huberman Lab Podcast’ or podcasts that cover business related topics like ‘Impact Theory’ with the occasional mix of ‘The Tim Ferriss Show’ thrown in. Where do you see the future of jewelry and hand engraving? I’ve been only in this field of work for 10 years now. During that decade I have seen many things change but just as much stay the same. Technology develops fast in every industry, including ours. I’m of the opinion that if you do great quality work and can add value that another person (or robot) cannot, you will not need to worry about the future of jewelry making, stone setting and engraving. If you’re a life long learner and don’t stagnate or become obsolete because you stay in your comfort zone all the time, my outlook on the future is very positive. You will have to transition from time to time but overall I see a very bright future for jewelers and artists in our industry. Of course this is only the opinion of a young guy without a crystal ball but it’s what I tell my students and what I believe in myself.

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My advice to other artists is to schedule in time for self-improvement.

...a couple hours of deliberate practice or experimenting with new techniques each month will push you out of your normal workflow.

If you could pass one bit of advice on to other artists, what would it be? You can go so wide and/or deep into so many techniques as a jeweler, stone setter and hand engraver. Only speaking for myself I still learn on a weekly basis after 10 years of doing this (I know, I’m just getting started, but still a decade is a decade). When you enjoy your work and consider yourself a life long learner it’s unbelievable how far you can come. My advice to other artists is to schedule in time for self-improvement. Doesn’t have to be anything crazy but a couple hours of deliberate practice or experimenting with new techniques a months will push you out of your normal workflow. Don’t cheap out on quality training or courses if it piques your interest. Just do your due diligence if it’s worth your time and money and then go for it. It’s unbelievable how much you can gain from the expertise of a professional in his or her field in a couple of days. You have to be willing to put on the ‘student’ hat again, which can be a humbling experience in and of itself, but the rewards can be great! All of the sudden you are in the position to ask a million questions and to work with potentially new or, for you, strange tools and materials. Even if you don’t

utilize the techniques on a daily basis in your own work afterwards, it will for sure let you see many more possibilities and options that are possible regarding the work you do. There is some debate of spreading yourself too thin and not zeroing in on one technique. The saying “Jack of all trades master of none” is definitely true. Speaking again for myself, I did a ton of courses and trainings and afterwards dove deeper into the directions I liked most. Automatically, when you like something you do more of it. So pretty soon you get really good at it, which makes it even more fun to do. People start to notice your quality of work and you can get questions to do similar jobs for them. So before you know it you spend many hours doing the thing you truly enjoy doing. Without me spreading myself first thin and wide to see what I liked most I wouldn’t have been where I am now, specialized quite deep into stone setting. So my last piece of advice is to try and test out many different techniques and gain some rudimentary skills in them, and then go deep into the ones you like most. As long as it pays the bills I don’t see how you can’t sit comfortably behind the bench all day when you do something you truly enjoy doing.

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Check out more of Ben’s work instagram.com/benbentvelzen/

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International Jewellery School

Aktiv Guld


Work by Alexandre Sidorov.

Work by Nadja Ihsen.

Work by Alain Lovenberg.

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You can learn hand engraving and stone setting skills at an international training center in several locations throughout the world that exclusively use GRS Tools to propel their students into success. Looking for an international training facility with GRS equipment on the bench?

Aktiv Guld VALLENSBÆK, DENMARK aktivguld.com +45 43 66 20 00 ag@aktivguld.com Alexandre Diamond Setting School ANTWERPEN, BELGIUM alexandreschool.com +32 (0) 3 213 25 31 info@alexandreschool.com

Alloy HAMBURG, GERMANY goldschmiede-alloy.de 040– 421021 16 goldschmiede-alloy@web.de International Jewellery School ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA jewelleryschool.com 8-800-2000-477 top@jewelleryschool.com

Wing Wo Hong HONG KONG wingwohong.com (852) 2544-7932 wwhhk9@netvigator.com

Wing Wo Hong

Work by Roman Karakurkchi.

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No other learning experience provides the same opportunity and guidance. For over 25 years, GRS has pioneered and constantly improved this unique training. Each instructor is chosen for their ability to help you learn more in far less time.

The Training Center itself is uniquely designed for individual attention in an enjoyable, small-group environment. Whether you are starting a new business, career, or adding a distinctive and rewarding skill, the GRS Training Center is truly the destination for learning.

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The GRS ® Training Center is more than a classroom where innovative techniques are shared. It is the beginning of new friendships, an invigorating setting for artistic achievement, and a significant part of your creative journey.

Available in the common area: Snack & cold beverage machines Refrigerator/freezer Microwave, air fryer, & toaster Coffee, hot water dispenser, & hot tea selection Enrollment, Rescheduling, and Cancellation: We reserve your seat upon receipt of course deposit. To transfer or cancel your reservation, notify GRS at least 30 days before the class start date to transfer deposit or receive a refund, less $50. Deposits are not transferable or refundable less than 30 days before the course start date. DOORS OPEN 7:50 HOUR DRIVE TO KANSAS CITY 3 8a – 5p 1.5 12 CLASSROOMS CLASSROOM HOURS MONDAY-FRIDAY STUDENT BENCHES IN EACH CLASS

State-of-the-Art Equipment

In addition to benches fully- equipped with GRS tools, each classroom has copiers, grinding stations, light tables, and more are available to help meet the demands of each class. (5) 55-inch televisions are located around the classroom, allowing you to see what the instructor sees through the microscope. This is helpful for explaining in-depth techniques in great detail. Our fabrication classroom features new Jura benches, 2 large fabrication areas, a 50-ton press, 4 soldering stations, polishing equipment, micro TIG welding systems, and more. All tools and supplies are provided.

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All Basic Courses at the GRS Training Center offer you an introduction to the world of hand engraving and jewelry work in a way that is friendly, easy to understand, and fast paced.

To help the learning process take less time, your bench is personalized with a full set of tools necessary for your specific course. The curriculum includes a custom set of practice plates with laser‑marked designs. When you follow these designs, you build confidence and accuracy while learning. Our instructors use personal experience to give each course a unique perspective. Each GRSTC instructor is a working professional who offers a wealth of practical knowledge. Get a foundation for future courses and start engraving today.

Our Courses range from jewelry industry applications, to single point engraving Which Course fits you best?

Learn to efficiently complete a wide range of settings. This course is designed for people who have never set stones, as well as those who want a better foundation for basic stone setting.

Principles of stone setting and engraving in the same class. This course is designed for people who want a broad introduction to skills used in the jewelry industry.

Focus on applications in the jewelry making industry. This course is designed for people who want to embellish jewelry with engraving, and may not need stone setting experience.




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In every Basic Course you will learn: Correct setup of GRS equipment Operation of common classroom tools Tool sharpening, theory, and geometry Artwork layout and design principles Design transfer techniques Line cutting techniques Proper use of workholding fixtures and devices Business practices and pricing work (varies by instructor)

$1095 $1095

Basic Gun Engraving Basic Metal Engraving

Rex Pedersen Jake Newell


Mitchell Lurth $1295

05/08—05/12 Basic Stone Setting 05/15—05/19 Basic Bright Cut Engraving

$1095 $1095 $1095 $1095 $1295

Jeremiah Watt Jake Newell Steve Dunn Layne Zuelke Todd Daniels

Basic Jewelry Engraving Basic Metal Engraving


06/12—06/16 Basic Jewelry Engraving 06/26—06/30 Combination Class For Jewelers

Mitchell Lurth $1295

07/17—07/21 Basic Stone Setting 07/31—08/04 Basic Metal Engraving 08/28—09/01 Basic Metal Engraving 09/11—09/15 Basic Metal Engraving


Rex Pedersen


Sam Alfano

$1095 $1095 $1295

Jake Newell

Basic Bright Cut Engraving Combination Class For Jewelers

Jeremiah Watt Todd Daniels



10/02—10/06 Basic Metal Engraving 10/16—10/20 Basic Jewelry Engraving 10/23—10/27 Basic Metal Engraving 10/30—11/03 Basic Metal Engraving

Layne Zuelke

Mitchell Lurth $1095

$1095 $1095

Layne Zuelke Steve Dunn

Learn flat graver use for the western or jewelry markets. This course is designed for people who want to learn essential techniques of western engraving, which can also apply to jewelry embellishment.

METAL ENGRAVING This course is designed for people who want to learn single point engraving for applications ranging from guns and knives, to motorcycle parts, and beyond. Gain practical knowledge of traditional engraving.

Focus on embellishment of firearms. This course is designed for people who want to learn the basics of single point engraving, but with the end goal of working on guns.



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$1495 $1495 $1495 $1495 $1495 $1495 $1495 $1495 $1495

05/08—05/12 iPad Drawing, Design, & Engraving

Sam Alfano Todd Daniels Adam Guzzon Liam Powers Todd Daniels Layne Zuelke Jake Newell Diane Scalese Liam Powers

05/15—05/19 Intro to Pavé 06/26—06/30 Bridal Settings

07/17—07/21 Technical Wax Carving for Stone Setting 07/24—07/28 Decorative Setting & Engraving 09/11—09/15 Start To Finish Gun Engraving: 1911 .45 Pistol

09/18—09/22 Scroll Design & Engraving

10/09—10/13 Flare Cutting

10/23—10/27 Technical Wax Carving for Engraving

Intro to Pavé Build on basic setting skills and start creating complex pavé patterns. Layout

Bridal Settings Build practical skills by prong setting solitaire, pear cut, and princess cut stones. Learn how to shape traditional prongs, polish, safely hammer prongs, cut seats for varied stones, and make tools for specialty jobs.

Technical Wax Carving for Stone Setting

Flare Cutting Achieve unique, sculptural flare-cut style by combining bright-cut and single-point engraving. Use a variety of specially shaped and sharpened gravers to create this bold, three- dimensional style.

Technical Wax Carving for Engraving Learn to carve rings suitable for casting and bright cut engraving, from design transfer to finishing every surface. Techniques will enable more complex shapes and movement in jewelry.

Learn how to carve wax for casting and expand the

stones, use bright cuts and millgrain to embellish designs.

possibilities of design. Carve rings suitable for casting and setting, from design transfer to finishing every surface.

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06/12—06/16 Advanced Stone Setting on Finished Jewelry

John Sorich IV

$1895 $1895

Advanced Jewelry Engraving On Rings

Layne Zuelke John Sorich IV


Micro Pavé


09/18—09/22 Sculpted Scroll on Ring

Sam Alfano

$1895 $1895 $1895

10/02—10/06 Fabrication & Engraving: 4 Projects 5 Days

Jeremiah Watt Sam Alfano Todd Daniels

10/09—10/13 Advanced Bowie Knife 10/30—11/03 Signet Ring Embellishment

Micro Pavé Layout micro pavé with stones smaller than 1.5mm, set snow and fantasy shapes, use multi-colored stones to create vibrant patterns, and cut ajours to create a polished piece.

Fabrication & Engraving: 4 Projects in 5 Days Create and finish four projects: cuttlefish cast ring, corrugated bracelet, etched buckle, salad serving set. Improve etching, riveting, forming, sawing, piercing, and soldering skills.

Advanced Bowie Knife Gain practical knife engraving experience. Add deep relief engraving to a traditional Bowie- style knife. The finished knife will be suitable for display. Use custom design or those provided for the course.

Signet Ring Embellishment Use decorative lettering and embellishment on signet rings. Learn to combine stone setting, engraving, bright cuts, millgrain, and lettering to make expressive and creative designs.

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GRS provides a friendly environment with personal access to the best tools and the best instructors. Because the engravers and stone setters of today see the value of passing on this trade to the next generation, you can learn from top professionals who are active in their fields. GRSTC instructors share well over 100 years of combined teaching experience. These pros are passionate — and they want to see you succeed. Learn to engrave, set stones, and more at the GRS Training Center in Emporia, Kansas. Instead of spending years learning to engrave, you can get started in days.

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SAM ALFANO Sam is well known for his elegant scrollwork

TODD DANIELS Todd provides intensive training opportunities on all facets of jewelry design, manufacturing, and production.

STEVE DUNN Steve’s mastery of

knifemaking, combined with advanced engraving

and execution of techniques, offering a unique study for any student.

JAKE NEWELL As a professional engraver, Jake designs and hand engraves a variety of items for larger, skills, provides a strong foundation for his role as a GRS instructor. 2 CLASS OFFERINGS



ADAM GUZZON Adam’s lifelong passion for jewelry has driven him to earn degrees and learn from world- renowned instructors

LIAM POWERS For nearly 20 years, Liam has created custom handmade jewelry that has pushed the boundaries of MITCHELL LURTH Mitchell’s extensive training, innovative design work, and stunning technical abilities make him a great instructor at the GRS Training Center. 3 CLASS OFFERINGS

in jewelry & stone setting.

well-known companies.


PG. 28



REX PEDERSEN Rex is a third-generation gunsmith who began engraving in 1978. His vast experience is

DIANE SCALESE Diane has been building and engraving bits, spurs, trophy belt buckles, saddle silver,

a great resource for any aspiring engraver.

and jewelry for over 30 years.

what is possible within the craft.





JOHN SORICH IV John has been a professional jeweler for many years now, and brings enthusiasm and a passion for learning to his classroom.

JEREMIAH WATT Jeremiah developed a love early on for the horses, the gear, and the artistry involved with the saddlemaking trade.

LAYNE ZUELKE Layne’s journey has taken him through education, apprenticeships, 25 years at the bench, & earning

the title of FEGA Master Engraver in 2017.






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Following a lifelong passion that was ignited at a young age, Adam Guzzon pursued a career in jewelry, earning both his Graduate Jeweler and Graduate Gemologist Degrees from the Gemological Institute of America. Adam has studied engraving and stone setting techniques at the GRS Training Center, and in 2018 he studied under Master Setter Alexandre Sidorov and earned the Optical Diamond Setting Degree. He spent the early years of his career working at Alchemy, one of the most iconic jewelry stores in the Pacific Northwest. After studying with Alexandre, Adam returned to the U.S. to launch his private custom design studio, Guzzon Luxury. Today, Adam splits his time between working as a Bench Jeweler and Diamond Setter for Lang Antique and Estate Jewelry in San Francisco, California, and working on his own private commissioned pieces for Guzzon Luxury. @GUZZONLUXURY



Bridal Settings

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FOR ADAM 5 Tell us about your favorite instructor or learning experience. QUESTIONS

I have been fortunate to study with some of the most talented artists and instructors in the world - right here under the GRS roof as well as abroad. There’s no question that studying under Alexandre Sidorov in Antwerp had the strongest impact on my skillsets. It was a life changing experience to learn from him for three months. My most favorite learning experience, though, would be apprenticing under my Mentor, David Iler, the mastermind behind Alchemy, for three years. David saw my potential right out of GIA and took me under his wing. So much of what I know about this business and this craft came from exposure to his expertise and passion. I am the jeweler I am today because it all started with him. I am forever grateful to have learned from him, and I feel his impact in my work every single day. Much love, David! What has inspired you to teach? I remember taking my first GRS class in 2015. As I worked through the five days, I remember thinking, “One day, I’d like to be able to hone my skills to a professional level, and come back and teach here at GRS.” In fact, Otis and I even had a conversation about it. I’ve been inspired by small things like the photos of instructors going down the hall in the training center, and big things like the realization that your instructor, someone at the top of their field, has traveled all the way here to teach you what they know. To be honest, I knew in March of 2015 that I wanted to teach at GRS. Classes at the Training Center have a strong sense of community. How do you facilitate connections between students? Because I’ve taken several classes at GRS, I know exactly what it’s like to be a student. I remember it well, they weren’t that long ago. I plan to use my own experiences as a student to help to create an environment that fosters community and camaraderie within the classroom. There’s much opportunity for that sense of community to grow outside of the classroom, too. A lot of times, this is the best time to continue some shop talk and learn about one another. I’ve never visited Emporia without going bowling, so there will definitely be a class bowling night. What do you want students to take away from your classes? I want students to finish class with a sense of accomplishment, increased confidence, and burning curiosity and inspiration. I want them to leave GRS feeling like they have a whole new group of colleagues and friends, polished skills, and room to continue growing as artists. What are you most excited about as an instructor? I’m so very excited to give back to a community, a family, that has given so much to me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the GRS family of instructors, employees, and students. They have all had a tremendous impact on my success within my career. I’m also just stoked to be in a room full of artists that have come from all corners of the country to learn more about diamond setting. I may be at the instructor’s bench this time around, but there will be much for me to learn as well.

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