I just recently finished the Graduate Bench Jeweler program at New Approach! It was an incredible experience. The program is a 12 week that covers everything you’d need to start in this industry. It goes through basic beginner techniques like sawing, filing, and soldering for the first few weeks. Then the program expands to stone setting and silver fabrication. To finish up the 3 month long experience, students get an introduction to ornamental hand engraving, advanced stone setting techniques, and working with gold and platinum (as pictured in this platinum Trellis ring with a 18K gold shank).
It was such a technique building experience. I had classmates ask if I regretted going to SCAD first because of how well the program introduces you to the industry, but I had to answer no. New Approach built my bench skills, but SCAD gave me a great overview of the industry as a whole. SCAD covered basics of hand fabrication to CAD work and ideation development, whereas New Approach gives students all the skills they need to find success as a bench jeweler. I appreciate both experiences for what they have given me: the skills to become the best jeweler I can be.