WOODSTOCK —Woodstock High School students are taking advantage of the opportunity to learn about gemstones and get ahead in the job market with a certificate in colored gemstones, offered through a new class this year.
The Jewelry and Metal Craft class, taught by Anne Berman, is partnered with the Diamond Council of America to give 14 students the chance to become certified in colored gemstones as part of the class.
“The students who get this certification will have a leg up on anyone applying for a job to work in a jewelry store as a salesperson, because they will have already passed one of the courses that is pretty much required for the industry,” Berman said.
The Diamond Council of America sponsored the class, waiving the almost $100-per-person cost of certification. The class focuses on a range of aspects related to jewelry creation, sales, laws and gemstones.
“In addition (to the certificate), they learn a lot about the gemstones, about how they’re treated, about the laws regarding disclosure of certain treatments and how something is made,” Berman said. “We will be doing some hands-on work, the students have been working on some colored bead projects. We’ll be doing copper enameling, we will be doing some wire wrapping and sewing of metals and rolling metals to flatten them.”
The President of the Diamond Council of America Terry Chandler spoke to the class on the first day of school, Berman said, and Kurt Schneider from the Gem Shopping Network visited the class Sept. 10.
“Instead of just looking at pictures and seeing things online, they actually were able to hold them and look at them under different light, and turn them in light so that they could see how the opal changes color,” Berman said. “One of the (student) comments was, ‘I think he should’ve stayed longer.’ He was here the entire class period but they wanted more.”
Berman said she had four jewelry-making courses in college, primarily in silversmithing, and was certified by the Diamond Council of America the past summer in preparation to teach the class.
Samantha Urbaniak, a junior at Woodstock, signed up for the jewelry class last year after hearing Berman speak to her art class.
“Growing up, I always liked jewelry,” Urbaniak said. “To be able to take the class and learn more about it was exciting.”
Urbaniak said the class “is really fun,” and she loved making jewelry. She said that she would definitely recommend the class to her friends.
“It’d be really nice to be able to go into like, Kay Jewelers, and work and teach more people about gemstones,” Urbaniak said. “Kurt Schneider knew a lot about the gemstones … and he was really easy to talk to.”
Ashley Casado, a sophomore at Woodstock who wants to study chemistry in college, heard about the new jewelry class while taking a ceramics class last year, also taught by Berman.
“It sounded fun. I like jewelry, my mom likes jewelry, everyone in my family likes jewelry,” Casado said.
Casado said her favorite part of the class so far was working with clay beads, and said she really enjoyed Schneider’s visit, as well.
Casado said she would probably use what she’s learned in the class when looking for jewelry in the future, and maybe even for a job, and said she’d recommend the class to other people, too.
Berman said there were only 14 students in the class this year, mainly because the class was so new and not on the list of available courses last year until after students had already picked their schedules. Berman said next year she expects a lot of students to sign up.
“I know next year there are going to be a lot more, because so many students have said, ‘Oh, gosh, I’m taking that class (next year),’” Berman said. “It seems to be going well and I think we’ll have a lot more students sign up for it next year now that they know about it.”