MJSA. Professional excellence in jewelry making and design.

MJSA to Present Bench and Business Seminars at AGTA GemFair Tucson

MJSA, the trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, will debut a new seminar series, "At the Bench and Beyond," at the 2017 AGTA GemFair Tucson. Running twice daily from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3 in GemFair’s Tools, Technology, and Supplies pavilion, the sessions will cover topics ranging from bench repair and production techniques to the art of communicating through words and pictures.

The sessions are sponsored by the American Gem Trade Association. The bench and tools used in the demonstrations are sponsored by Stuller Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana. 

Below you’ll find the full schedule and the sessions’ presenters. For more information, click here. For information about AGTA GemFair, which runs Jan. 31 to Feb. 5 at the Tucson Convention Center, visit AGTA.org.


Jan. 31

Red Flags for Repairs
Presenter: Arthur Skuratowicz
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Some repair jobs are simple—and some only seem simple: Many times, one repair is a signal that other problems lurk below the surface. In this session, Arthur Skuratowicz offers common "red flags" to help you uncover all of the problem areas in a piece of jewelry, as well as handy tips to ensure those repairs go as smoothly as possible.

Hold It! Creating Your Own Fixtures for Holding and Positioning
Presenter: Arthur Skuratowicz
3:30 to 5 p.m. Whether you’re assembling components, repairing or modifying a piece of jewelry, or simply trying to fit together the parts of a design, you need a workpiece to hold steady. In this session, Arthur Skuratowicz will take a page from woodworkers and luthiers to demonstrate how to make your own positioning fixtures for complex fabrication or repetitive assembly. Ensure that even the most hard-to-hold shapes remain still for greater accuracy and ease.

Arthur Skuratowicz, GJG, is a third-generation jeweler who was the first instructor at the Gemological Institute of America to teach both gemology and manufacturing arts. He is the former education director of the Jewelry Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the co-author (with Julie Nash) of the MJSA Press book Working with Gemstones: A Bench Jeweler’s Guide. He is currently the bench jeweler at Georgetown Jewelers in Wood Dale, Illinois.


Feb. 1

Digital Design Tricks for Gemstones
Presenter: Gary Dawson
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thanks to the latest digital technologies—from high-end design software right down to the phone in your pocket—incorporating gemstones into a design has never been easier. Join Gary Dawson as he demonstrates how to use the latest technology to create gemstone arrays easily, adjust settings more accurately, and incorporate even the most unusually shaped gems into unique designs.

Techniques for Small-Scale Production
Presenter: Gary Dawson
3:30 to 5 p.m. From how to best set up workpieces for batch soldering to techniques for mass finishing, Gary Dawson will show how to apply small-scale production strategies and techniques in your shop. Employing both live demonstrations and video, this interactive session will help you to increase your production while maintaining the quality and finish associated with hand-crafted items.

Gary Dawson is a designer/goldsmith and the owner of Gary Dawson Jewelry Design, a studio specializing in custom design that was named a "Best of the Best" by Instore Magazine. A specialist in digital design technologies, he is a frequent contributor to both MJSA Journal and MJSA Custom Jeweler, as well as a tech columnist for Jewellery Business magazine. He has presented at numerous industry events and conferences, including the renowned Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing Technology, AGTA GemFair Tucson, and MJSA Expo in New York City.


Feb. 2

The Art of Communication 1: The Basics
Presenter: Lisa Krikawa
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a bench jeweler, a designer, a salesperson, a store owner, or all of the above: At some point, your success will depend on how well you listen and communicate your ideas. In this session, Lisa Krikawa will share some strategies to help ensure that two-way communication flows smoothly. Learn about the basic personality traits, ways to identify them in yourself and others, and using that knowledge to hone your listening skills, adapt your presentation, and get your message across.

The Art of Communication 2: Practical Sketching
Presenter: Lisa Krikawa
3:30 to 5 p.m. Whether you want to bring a design to life before your customer’s eyes, or provide visual guidance to a CAD artist or model maker, one sketch is worth a thousand words. In this interactive demonstration, Lisa Krikawa will present an easy-to-master sketching method that not only communicates design concepts, but does it so accurately that you can use it to calculate gemstone weights. This is your chance to learn how to communicate through images.

Lisa Krikawa is the founder, designer, and CEO of Krikawa Jewelry Designs (krikawa.com) in Tucson, Arizona. While her formal education is in the arts, Lisa discovered a passion for business early in her career, and she grew Krikawa Jewelry Designs from a small retail craft business into a multi-million-dollar enterprise. Her staff of 12 now produces and sells custom wedding and engagement rings to clients around the world. Recently, she established a business coaching platform, Garage Jeweler (garagejeweler.com), to help emerging jewelers experience the excitement of measurable results.


Feb. 3

Photographing Gem-Set Jewelry, Part 1: DIY Basics
Presenter: Matthew Perosi
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Whether you’re developing an ad campaign or preparing an e-commerce storefront, you need quality images of your work to command attention and drive sales. In this session, web guru and photography aficionado Matthew Perosi will describe the challenges in photographing gem-set jewelry, then provide a tutorial on how to choose the best camera and lens for the job, use proper lighting, and create the right backgrounds for powerful, provocative shots—inexpensively.

Photographing Gem-Set Jewelry, Part 2: DIY Demos
Presenter: Matthew Perosi
3:30 to 5 p.m. Bring your own camera to participate in this live demonstration of taking compelling photos. Matthew Perosi will show various camera techniques and illustrate how proper lighting and backgrounds can make your images memorable. He’ll also offer some post-processing tips to help you enhance and perfect your images. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced hand with a camera, you’re sure to walk away with at least one photography pointer from this session.

Matthew Perosi is an internet authority, certified business coach, and the president and chief thinker of Sapphire Collaborative, which specializes in showing jewelers how the latest technologies can improve their businesses. He publishes the jwag.biz blog and Golden Nuggets e-newsletter, both of which provide current business and internet information (based on statistical research and firsthand experience) that help jewelry retailers and designers improve their profitability. Because photography is the key to making all your ads look amazing, Matthew has tested and written about several photography methods that jewelers and designers can follow.

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