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The JIA is reviving the 'dying art' of hand engraving, amongst other techniques. Image courtesy: JIA
The JIA is reviving the 'dying art' of hand engraving, amongst other techniques. Image courtesy: JIA

Jewellery institute revives ‘dying art’

A new Australian jewellery institute has opened in an effort to provide the local industry with greater access to specialised skills training.

The Sydney-based Jewellery Institute of Australia (JIA) offers short training courses with a focus on hand engraving, diamond setting, micro-pave setting, 3D CAD design and laser welding.

According to founder Gabriel Owen, the JIA was established because he saw a gap in the market for a school where jewellers could learn specialised skills.

“After attending the Alexandre School for Optical Diamond Setting in Belgium, I started to look into teaching organisations here in Australia,” Owen said.

Gabriel Owen, JIA founder
Gabriel Owen, JIA founder

“After attending the Alexandre School for Optical Diamond Setting in Belgium, I started to look into teaching organisations here in Australia,” Owen said.

“I found that there were no advanced classes for micro-pave setting and hand engraving. The idea for the school was born so that Australians won’t have to travel across the world to receive professional training in hand engraving and diamond setting.”

Owen explained that in addition to conducting his own classes, ‘masters’ would also be invited to teach throughout the year.

“I have organised for my mentor and master setter Alexandre Sidrov to deliver master classes in micro-pave setting – the diamond setting skills workshop will be based on the methods used by the Alexandre school of Belgium.”

Sidorov is scheduled to conduct classes in April and Owen said he was also finalising dates for Fabrizio Acquafresca, an Italian master in the chasing technique, to teach a short course during the year.

Owen added the school was intended for anyone wishing to advance their hand engraving and diamond setting skills – including students, TAFE graduates, current jewellers with little to no experience in engraving and setting as well as those looking to enter the jewellery industry.

Student support

The school opened in January 2017 and Owen said student feedback was ‘overwhelmingly positive’.

“The students were happy to find a school that teaches the dying art of hand engraving,” he said, adding, “They were very impressed with the professional set-up that each bench had, including GRS equipment and Leica microscopes and hand tools to make each task easier.”

The JIA is a private business operated and funded by Owen; although the school was not affiliated with registered training organisations (RTO), Owen said he was working towards registering the JIA as an RTO in the future.

Owen is a second-generation jeweller and Gemological Institute of America (GIA) graduate.

A master bench jeweller course was also planned for the end of the year.

Work benches are said to be fully equipped with state of the art tools
Work benches are said to be fully equipped with state of the art tools

The JIA is based in Sydney, NSW
The JIA is based in Sydney, NSW

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Wednesday, 20 September, 2017 12:04pm
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