W H A T I S A M A S T E R J E W E L E R ?
Until recently, the jewelry industry was almost completely unregulated and standards of competence were nonexistent. A national organization, The Jewelers of America (JA) saw the need for standardization and set up a testing system to determine a bench jeweler’s level of expertise. There are four levels of testing from Entry Level Technician up to Master Jeweler.
The Master Jeweler exam requires approximately 40 hours to complete, and consists of the creation of three highly complex jewelry pieces and a written test. The three pieces are made according to exact specifications, and strictly graded on 146 different points. The projects have been specially chosen to test the jeweler’s artistic judgment, knowledge of materials and techniques, efficiency, and skill as a craftsman.
The 2-hour written test covers gem treatments, safety issues and technical knowledge. Eric was the 97th jeweler in the U.S.A. to achieve Master-level certification, and only the 3rd in Colorado. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Madison, WI.