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Setting out at dawn was enthusiastically embraced by 65 students escorted by faculty from the Paris Junior College Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology recently as they attended the Smart Jewelry Show in Grapevine, Texas.
The show is open to qualified jewelry professionals, but not the public, and the PJC students attended by special invitation. Buyers must either be listed in the Jewelers Book of Trade, or be able to provide proof of $100,000 of annual purchases and demonstrate their operation is in a location with a storefront – not a studio or garage. No amateurs or hobbyists are allowed.
“This was a rare opportunity for our students to be introduced to our industry,” said PJC Jewelry Technology Instructor Ulla Raus. “They talked with metal refiners, tool and equipment vendors, gem dealers, vendors carrying finished goods, representatives of watch companies, vendors dealing in displays, and observed demonstrations of the latest Computer Aided Design software, milling and rapid proto printing machines as well as the latest cutting edge technology from our industry.”
“There were so many opportunities to be able to network, learn, stock up on supplies, and just have fun,” said PJC student Brittany Bean. “One of the most interesting attractions was the bench pressure challenge, consisting of a two hour contest to create a design and hand carve a wax model. The participants for this contest were four of the greatest jewelers in the nation. Just being able to watch them work was an experience in itself.”
“All of the exhibitors were extremely helpful,” Bean said. “They had so many creative and luxurious products, gave priceless insight, and were willing to answer questions as well as ask them. All in all, it was one amazing show and I am most definitely looking forward to the next one.”
Stuller, Inc., a jewelry tool and supply company located in Lafayette, La, sponsored the student trip. The company also underwrites the Stuller Awards of Excellence, presented to outstanding jewelry students during their graduation ceremony.
“We knew it was a success,” said Raus. “Excited chatter filled the buses the entire return trip and carried over into the next couple of class days.”
Next year the Smart Jewelry Show plans to include seminars designed especially for PJC jewelry students.