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I have taken the Intro Class and two of the Advanced classes at Jewelry Class DC and I’ve been extremely happy with the classes and Dan Valencia, who’s been the instructor for all three.
I’ve never been what you would describe as a very artistic person, but the classes at Jewelry Class DC have helped me bring out my creative side. Dan walks the students through every step of the process for making the pieces, and then helps you to customize the jewelry to match your style (or in my case, my girlfriend’s style.)
Each student gets their own jewelry bench, fully equipped with with all the tools you need (and plenty more that you learn to use along the way.) Dan is always very patient with the students and is always willing to help if there are questions about the projects, or just about metalwork in general. I’ve really enjoyed that he doesn’t just tell us what to do with the silver, copper, or gold and move on, but he describes how the metal acts when you’re working with it. Mostly importantly, he describes why it acts that way, and what you need to anticipate when you’re using either a hammer, file, or flame.
Several of the people in the classes with me have been interested in setting up their own bench at home and Dan has been very good at telling them what tools them will probably need, and which ones they can do without. Every few months, Dan also invites a gem wholesaler to come by the studio for a day and sell all the students gemstones at really good prices.
If you are at all interested in learning to make jewelry, either for yourself or someone else, I highly recommend Jewelry Class DC.
“I sought out Dan to take some advanced lessons in Goldsmithing, We made my first beautiful gold brooch with a set stone in just two sessions. Dan teaches beginner through advanced classes, and he attracts strong motivated students. I take advantage of his open studio hours and the students who I’ve met seem to feel equally comfortable in his studio. The studio is a very quick walk from the NOMA Metro station (maybe 5-10 minutes) in a large multi-studio building, and has plenty of room for his small class sizes (his class size limits mean more one-on-one instruction during lessons.)
The other reviewers are confident in his beginner silversmithing courses, but I would also recommend to more advanced students.”
“Ok let’s just say that I’ve been dabbling in beading/jewelry making for a number of years and this class is really helping to step up my creations! I’m in the middle of my second class here and I look forward to this experience every week. We have learned so many great things and the instructor is fantastic. He’s great with teaching/showing techniques to the class or one on one. He promotes proper techniques but is patient with students when mistakes are made. The class is a very relaxed atmosphere and the studio has pretty much all of the tools you could every dream of having access to to create your own masterpieces! I highly recommend this course to folks interest in jewelry making regardless of your experience level. You’re not going to find a better course out there.”
“I took a 3 hour private session with Dan just prior to Christmas. He was an excellent teacher, I had zero experience making jewelry, Dan was patient and explained each step perfectly.
His studio at 52 O St NW is simply amazing, there are fully equipped work stations for each student and the tools provided were incredible. I have researched other jewelry schools in the area, this is the only one for me.
I ended up with two pairs of forged sterling earrings that looked better than I would have ever believed possible. Dan was a stickler regarding my learning how to polished my pieces professionally, My girlfriend and Mother could not have been happier with their gifts and they could hardly believe that I had done all the work myself. I am going to sign up for an eight week course at Jewelryclassdc, I cannot say enough about the great experience I had at this school!”
“I just completed my second class with Dan and it was a complete learning experience the class is designed to make everyone feel as talented as the next person in the class. I recently showed my finished works art to my coworkers and they were so impressed with what I have learned in such a short period of time. Learning how to metal smith has always been a life long goal of mine and I can honestly say I have finally achieved that goal and I look forward to the next step of exploring the endless possibilities. This class has been therapeutic for me because its a place to release the stress that builds up due to work, life and etc. When forging (hammering) a piece of sterling silver you can find your self getting a little out of control because your so focused on your piece but at the same time your secretly releasing the stress that you have build up, also several men have taken this class and trust and believe the recipients of these pieces will not be disappointed. Thank you Dan for allow us to be a part of your world.”
“I am just about to finish the entry-level beginner’s course and had absolutely no experience in jewelry making prior, just a near obsession with all kinds of jewelry. My husband bought me the course as a Christmas gift. It was a great idea and I’ve had a lot of fun doing it. Most importantly, I’m really proud of the pieces I’ve made and wear them on an almost daily basis. I’ve even incorporated one of the rings I made into my wedding band (a silver ring I made in between two diamond bands I already had – it looks perfect). From the 8-9 weeks, I’ve made seven pieces (1 bracelet, 2 pairs of earrings, and four rings, including a new wedding band for my husband!) all out of sterling silver. You will practice on copper but all your finished pieces are made out of sterling silver.
Dan is an excellent teacher, has the complete set up with every tool you can imagine, and gives you a lot of freedom to learn on your own & make mistakes, but then he also helps you fix any errors so your pieces turn out great. I was really intimidated at first, but he breaks things down step by step, showing you how to do everything first and then letting you try on your own. You will get your own work bench with all the tools you need. He is very generous with his materials as well, which allows you to make a lot of pieces in a semester. He has also been very flexible with scheduling.
For those of you interested in metal work and jewelry making, I really can’t recommend this enough. You won’t be working with beads, but really manipulating silver and making amazing finished pieces. From the first semester, I would say the main skills I’m taking a way are shaping, texturing, sawing, welding, polishing, and also coloring (making the silver darker). The class sizes are really small (6 or fewer) as well which ensures you learn as much as possible.”
“I started a couple of years ago with a bit of beading for fun. I have since “graduated” to making silver jewelry through this class – and I love it! Dan shows us step-by-step basics and helps each student individually when we need it, but after a few sessions he gives us a lot of latitude in what we choose to do in class. From really intricate work all the way to hammering and welding, each class is a creative outlet, and so much fun. The resulting jewelry is amazing – I’m proud to have made and wear my pieces often – and as gifts, they have blown away my friends and family. The per/class price is very reasonable – I’ve checked with a jeweler friend and he says the price can’t be beat.”
“I took the beginning level jewelry-making class at JewelryclassDC with Dan Valencia. Dan was a very careful and patient teacher who gave you individual instruction when needed, and step by step demonstrations, I never thought I would end up with a handmade sterling ring with a bezel set stone that I had made myself. I was amazed to end up with finished pieces that appeared to be professionally made. I would recommend his jewelry classes to anyone who would love to learn how to make their own jewelry and learn the techniques of working with fine metal.”