MJSA. Professional excellence in jewelry making and design.

Episode 4: The Next Generation of Jewelers with Nanz Aalund

Nanz Aalund Headshot

With the current generation of master craftspeople aging out of the jewelry industry, demand for professionally skilled workers is high. But a number of barriers stand in the way of developing an effective education-to-employment pipeline for prospective jewelers, including issues such as pay scale disparities, gender bias, a lack of on-the-job training, and misaligned expectations between the industry and educators.

Award-winning jewelry designer, goldsmith, author, and educator, Nanz Aalund has been spearheading a movement to raise awareness about these issues and to help develop the necessary training and apprenticeship programs to meet the industry’s growing needs. Currently the owner of Nanz Aalund Art Jewelry in Poulsbo, Washington, Aalund has had a far-ranging career: She’s taught jewelry and metals classes at the University of Washington and at the Art Institute of Seattle; served as a designer and consultant for Nordstrom, Rudolf Erdel, Neiman Marcus, and Tiffany & Co.; was associate editor for Art Jewelry magazine; and created her own series of DVDs on jewelry making. She is also the author of A Jeweler’s Guide to Apprenticeships, published by MJSA Press, and a member of MJSA’s Council of Custom Jewelers. In May 2019, she presented a paper at the Santa Fe Symposium conference, along with co-author and fellow jewelry artist and educator, Charles Lewton-Brain. Their paper, entitled Jewelers: The Next Generation,” takes an in-depth look at the challenges of creating the practical hands-on professional training programs needed for the future. 

In this episode, Aalund discusses her own path to becoming a jeweler and educator and identifies the existing obstacles and opportunities to ensure a steady flow of future qualified jewelers.

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