Every year, talented students from across the United States look to MJSA for help in realizing a shared dream: to have a successful career in designing and making jewelry. And thanks to the MJSA Education Foundation Scholarship Group, the association can help provide the some of the financial support they need.
The Scholarship Group consists of five permanent endowment funds managed by the Rhode Island Foundation on behalf of MJSA and the Foundation. Money generated by these funds provides support to U.S. students enrolled in jewelry design, jewelry making, or other jewelry-related degree programs at colleges, universities, and technical schools. Several awards of $500 to $3,000 are given every year. Since 1997, the Foundation has awarded over $230,000 to students interested in pursuing professional careers.
In addition to MJSA’s annual scholarships, students enrolled in jewelry design, jewelry making, or other jewelry-related degree programs at colleges, universities, and technical schools in the state of Rhode Island are eligible for a special grant, in the amount of $2,500, donated by the Providence Jewelers Club Foundation.
Any student enrolled in a jewelry program, who intends to pursue a career in the jewelry industry and can demonstrate financial need, is eligible to apply. Applicants are assessed on the basis of course of study, academics, career plans, recommendations, and industry experience. Students must be U.S. citizens.
In addition to the MJSA Education Foundation Scholarships, which is open to ALL U.S. citizens, applicants enrolled in programs in the state of Rhode Island are eligible to receive $2,500 from the Providence Jewelers Club Foundation Grant.
For application eligibility and content inquiries, contact:
Donor Services Administrator
1-401-427-4028 or E-mail
Pursuing a graduate jeweler certificate at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) campus in Carlsbad, California. Expected graduation: April 2020.
In 2014, Hannah Marlin started her own business, Littlest Fish Designs, in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. Having recently graduated from the University of New Hampshire, she returned to her native Martha’s Vineyard with both a bachelor’s in Studio Art and a newfound love for jewelry design. She soon channeled that passion into the creation of wampum jewelry. The island’s Wampanoag tribe had been crafting wampum out of quahog shells for thousands of years, and Marlin soon taught herself how to carve the locally (and ethically) sourced shells into modern, minimalistic designs. Littlest Fish (the name comes from its owner being the youngest of the Marlin family) soon earned regional renown, and Marlin moved from a home studio to a shared maker’s space. In 2017, she took a beginner’s metalsmithing class; with it, she says, “I finally found the career I was made for.” Marlin admits that, as a self-taught jeweler, she has “large gaps in my set of skills.” She aims to rectify that through her GIA classes. Ultimately, she wants to open a contemporary fine jewelry business featuring her own designs.
About the jewelry pictured: 14k & vermeil ring with stackers. The textured backplate and triangular wampum shape put a modern twist on what is mostly seen as traditional Native American jewelry, Marlin says.
Pursuing a graduate jeweler certificate at the GIA campus in Carlsbad, California. Expected graduation: December 2019.
“Jewelry is more than just a rock held by string or metal, it is an experience.” That’s how Ashley Craver describes her connection to her chosen medium. A native of Littleton, Colorado, Craver graduated in 2013 from the local Fort Lewis College with an undergraduate degree in art and graphic design. That art background soon found a home in the world of jewelry, with an apprenticeship at a Jared retail store in nearby Westminster. “Our whole store called her ‘the Amazing Ashley,’” says Ray Dean, a 31-year veteran jeweler who worked alongside her. “Ashley likes to learn what needs to be completed, and she will take complete control… and be victorious. She also has a very lovely way of interacting with people—‘bubbly’ is the first word that comes to mind. She knows how to bring out the best in the people around her.” That desire to connect can also be seen in her professional goal: “As a jeweler and designer I hope to make not only beautiful works of art, but pieces that bring a special meaning to people’s lives.”
About the jewelry pictured: Agate and smoky quartz necklace with matching earrings.
Pursuing an MFA in metalsmithing at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Expected graduation date: May 2021
Matt Rabito describes himself as “an artist and a social activist.” With one look at his jewelry, it’s clear he doesn’t differentiate much between those roles. He works with a range of materials, from recycled metals to cement, wood, and even a cigarette (for a two-finger ring that symbolizes the stigma attached to smoking). “I treat ‘cheap’ or ‘wasted’ products with the preciousness of gold and gemstones,” he says, and always with the goal of raising “important questions about our society and our art practices.” For example, he says his Reminder brooch is made primarily from copper because the metal is so “reactive—it interacts with oxygen, moisture, light, and heat, just as we all should react and respond to changes in our biosphere.” Last year, Rabito graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. This fall, he begins his graduate studies at Cranbrook, which he chose because of its experimental nature: “The school exists to help young artists push boundaries and open new conversations.”
About the jewelry pictured: Reminder brooch. The spheres are made of cement clad in copper; they gently tap the wearer’s chest as a “reminder of the passage of time,” Rabito says.
Working toward an MFA in metalsmithing at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. Expected graduation: May 2022.
When Allison Ice returns to her alma mater to begin graduate studies this fall, she’ll bring with her a range of experience. After earning her BFA in metalsmithing in 2014, Ice honed her commercial skills—specifically in CAD and casting—at Genovese Jewelers in St. Louis. Genovese’s services include in-house custom work, and Ice says she became “extremely proficient in CAD fine-jewelry technical design.” (Her ring Worldview, which was a finalist in the 2018 Saul Bell Design Award competition sponsored by Rio Grande, testifies to that proficiency.) Where her classroom studies had allowed her to experiment with tools and concepts, her professional work instilled a “pragmatic grasp of metal as a material, and an understanding that structural integrity and production standards are practical applications.” She now wants to combine these opposing forces—conceptual vs. commercial, technological vs. traditional—as she fosters her skills. “My expertise is in CAD and 3D printing,” she says. “I truly believe in the power of utilizing these technologies alongside traditional metalsmithing techniques to preserve and enhance the art and craft of jewelry.”
About the jewelry pictured: Sapphire cocktail ring in 14k gold with melee diamonds (with CAD rendering)
$2,500 Providence Jewelers Club Foundation Grant
Pursuing a BFA in jewelry and metalsmithing at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. Expected graduation date: May 2022.
Anna Van Ness took her first metalsmithing class while in high school, and she knew from that point on she wanted to be a jeweler. She took every available metals course the school offered, pursued outside studies, began gathering tools and equipment for a small home studio, and last year entered her freshman year at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). “I am grateful to be part of such a creative community,” she says. After she graduates, Van Ness would like to start her own jewelry business, creating pieces with sustainable and ethical materials. “I care a lot about the environment, and I know that my jewelry practice can fit into the sustainable world we must work toward.”
About the jewelry pictured: Rutilated quartz ring. Because of the heavy stone and setting, Van Ness split the half round wire at the ends to create four points of contact with the backplate.