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Jewels Among Furniture at North Bennet Street School Exhibit

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An assortment of rings by current North Bennet Street School students in the jewelry program are stacked on a ring measurement tool. The thick pave gold band has an intriguing pattern of alternating triangles.

Carpentry and furniture making are the two most popular programs at the North Bennet Street School in Boston’s North End. Its students are well-known for producing exquisite examples of woodworking, but at Made by Hand: An Exhibit of Extraordinary Craftsmanship, a show we previewed at the recent Annual Evening of Traditional Craft, we were particularly impressed by the achievements of lesser-known areas of study such as violin making and bookbinding. However, we were mesmerized by the sparkle of fantastic jewelry. The exhibit, which shows the work of more than 70 students and alumni, is on view through May 30 in the main lobby of Two International Place in Boston’s Financial District.

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The Jewelry Making and Repair program is intense. Current students Kaley Ledwidge (below left) and Liz Taylor (below right) explained the commitment and dexterity needed to graduate and become a professional jeweler. They also demonstrated techniques they learned during the 72-week curriculum, which includes metal forming and fabrication, polishing, soldering, engraving, and stone-setting. Students use any stone or gem available, often practicing with cubic zirconia. To train in repairing jewelry, many students use pieces of their own, or broken pieces offered by family and friends.

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All that work requires tools and gadgets (below). Among screwdrivers and pliers, jewelers need a variety of pumice wheels are for polishing, and a chic pair of goggles for safety.

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Exhibit work by alumni elaborates on the program’s depth. For example, carousel rings (below) by Eva Martin (NBSS, 2004) of Boston are stunning, with a variety of diamonds and sapphires set in a channel of white gold.

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Geraldine Kish Perry (NBSS, 2000) of the Concord, Massachusetts, goldsmiths Fairbank & Perry made I Love Colors (below left), a ring of 18 karat gold with sapphires and diamonds. She also made the Halo Pendant (below right), which is made of 18 karat gold and spessartite garnet.

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Great design is always at your fingertips! Read Design New England's May/June 2014 issue online!