Over 20,000 makers in 150 countries follow Alan Revere’s Facebook jewelry group.
Despite the pandemic and what many believe is a decline of interest in hand-made jewelry, Alan Revere has come up with a formula to address both issues.
Revere is a master goldsmith, award-winning designer, and author of seven books on jewelry. The founder and director of the recently closed Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco, Revere now teaches through the internet.
For the past three years, he has directed a Facebook group, called “Let’s Make Professional Jewelry,” focused on replicating the projects in his classic book, Professional Jewelry Making. The book includes photos and instructions on how to make 35 classic pieces of jewelry by hand. The group has grown to 20,000 members in 150 countries.
“The group began when a few people decided they would like to follow the projects in my book and make them one-by-one together – but in different locations,” says Revere. “When the group got to six members someone contacted me, and I was invited to join. At that point I became the administrator, set up a schedule, and began guiding the program.”
The group follows Revere’s book very closely, as members sit at their own benches around the world. Every three weeks a new project is introduced. Members are invited to post their work along with comments. Then, administrators and other members respond and offer their own comments and suggestions to help the maker move forward.
“Four years ago, I retired and shut the doors to my school, thinking my teaching days were over. This has been an unexpected silver lining in retirement,” says Revere. “At my school, I used to guide 15 students at a time – now there are thousands! It’s a win/win. I am able to continue to pass along skills in the craft I love – and new jewelry makers are born,” says Revere.
During the pandemic, while people were shuttered and isolated, members of the group stated that learning a new skill was a lifesaver.
“I’m writing to give all of you thanks for providing a lifeline to a world that I’m not so connected to anymore. Thank you, all of you, who gave me something on Facebook to read that wasn’t politically caustic and disheartening. I was reminded that so many of you are out there doing your thing and working to do it better. Thank you for saving my sanity and being the first thing I pull up on the computer every morning,” wrote one participant, Christine Rizzi-Archer from Connecticut.
Despite being sequestered during the pandemic, members are able to be in communication with others around the globe who were working on the same project at the same time. Administrators delete anything that is non-relevant. As a result, the group developed a sense of community. “It was an antidote to the virus,” says Revere.
Though there are dozens of online classes and tutorials about jewelry, “Let’s Make Professional Jewelry” is an affordable introduction to the profession of jewelry making. Aside from the cost of a book, or $9.99 for the eBook – membership in the group, participation, instruction, and feedback are all free.
As a result of the Facebook group’s interest, Revere’s book, Professional Jewelry Making, recently sold out and needed to be reprinted. It is now back on the shelves.
The group is beginning a new year of projects in June. It welcomes beginners, hobbyists, students, serious makers, jewelry artists, professional bench jewelers, designers, manufacturers, and others who are interested in how jewelry is made by hand. Administrators, like Revere, are all professionals in the field and include Michael David Sturlin, Melissa Muir and Tim McCreight.
Interested parties can find the group by searching for “Let’s Make Professional Jewelry” on Facebook.
The book, Professional Jewelry Making by Alan Revere, is available from a number of industry suppliers including Rio Grande, Otto Frei, etc. and through Amazon.