Saturday, March 7, 2009

Week 3

Week three has been great, things have started to speed up, and are finally coming together to make sense! Here are a couple of pictures of rings we have been setting. i didn't make the rings, just set the stones and or assembled the components to make the rings and they are not finished off or polished! The stone setting so far has been pretty awesome - its crazy to think we are learning so much in only week three which is the basic stone setting - I wouldn't call bead setting basic, but apparently Blaine does!! ha - he has a way of making it easier though!

A few of us from class got together to write notes last night, but why do notes when you can drink loads of cocktails and sing silly songs with helium! It was a fun night!! but strangely enough no notes!! OH BUGGER!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stone Setting

Well the last week has been so much fun, I never thought learning could be such a blast! Over the last week we have been learning many stone setting techniques - flush, gypsy, prong and bead setting have all been covered - the most difficult being prong and bead - its a lot harder than it looks to raise those little beads up properly, and requires quite a bit of muscle! - Blaine insists on going over the story of the graver going though his hand - that makes me nervous - but at least makes me keep my hands well out of the way! I still can't believe we are going this far in week 3, but man what a great time we are having, this place certainly isn't short of laughs!

The funniest part of today was probably the "meat puppet episode" Blaine had cut his finger earlier in the week and superglued it back together - but on the high magnification TV where we see everything, it looked like it kept opening up and "talking". After several minutes of Blaine playing "meat puppet" with his finger - Adam was about ready to give back his lunch!
Pictured are Ryan, Penny, Lois and Tommy hard at work!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Birthday!

Mmmmm.............. Cheesecake!!! Thanks guys!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Obrira Binoculars - Wow what a difference!

I have been working with these little gadgets belonging to Blaine (our instructor) for the last couple of days. What a difference they make - if it looks good under this kind of magnification it looks amazing to the naked-eye. I have a pair on order - I just don't think I could live without them after using them for a few days. The field of vision on these things is just crazy, they blow optivisors out of the water - although they should do for the price! No more crouching over my bench for me, these give the best view about 10" away from the object in focus - and thats the whole object mind - not just the few mm you get with the optivisors.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Well its the end of week one, and what a fantastic first week its been! This week was covering the basics, such as filing, sanding, sawing, using the flex shaft and its many attachments and some soldering - inclusing upsizing and downsizing rings. I'm pretty pleased with my progress so far, my only gripe would be that some of the ring castings we have been working on are bloody ugly! No amount of polishing, sawing or filing could make them look pretty, just less ugly.

I have made 6 fantastic new friends, Michelle, Adam, Tommy, Ryan, Penny and Lois - all of whom are really fun people - we have shared quite a few beers after class! and I'm sure we're going to share many more! As well as our instructor Blaine Lewis, who is a genius at making this stuff easy to understand, as well as being one of the best diamond setters in the US! finally, not to forget lovely Barb who runs the office - there seems to be nothing this girl does not know about Virginia Beach - sounds like Barb keeps the restaurants and bars in business! She keeps us laughing throughout the day thats for sure!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The view towards the front of the classroom. The monitors at the back display exactly what Blaine - our teacher - is doing via a very fancy camera system!
The other half of the classroom

This if the view of my half of the "L" shaped classroom. What a great space!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Looking Forward to My First Day

This evening we all attended the school for a quick orientation and to go over all the rules and regulations - I didn't realize there would be pizza! I would have skipped the cupcake at Starbucks if I'd known! There are only seven of us in all, in a class that should have 18!! what an opportunity. I'm pretty confident I'm going to leave with 6 new friends though! everyone seems really excited to be there. One lady, Louis - drove 2500 miles! I thought I had a hard drive!

The actual studio where all the work is done is amazing, so clean, light, and spacious - it has just been refurbished too. I couldn't believe I was finally there - after the disappointment over the room, this was the best! So much more than I had even hoped for. If I don't come out of this course a great jeweler - I only have myself to blame!

First Day in Virginia

After close to an eight hour drive, I finally arrived in Virginia Beach! Woo hoo! The drive wasn't too bad at all - especially considering the large amount of zambuca consumed the night before - Cheers Charlie! I arrived at around 7pm at the Candlewood Suites - suite my ass - its tiny, I can't believe I am going to be living here for three months in this dark hotel room - I get a feeling the course is going to be worth it though, I have heard nothing but great reviews of the school - I just hope everything lives up to my expectations - including my own skills!

Here's a link to the school I will be attending starting tomorrow -

To end my first entry, I just wanted to say a huge thanks to my mum and dad, and my husband dan - but most of all my nanan - for this amazing opportunity. I'm so grateful, and I won't let you down!