Home Jewelry Introduction to Southwest Silversmithing with Jamie Halpern & Susie Sawin – G24070201

Introduction to Southwest Silversmithing with Jamie Halpern & Susie Sawin – G24070201

Jul 07 – 13 2024

Learn the basic skills of Southwest-style silversmithing in the awe-inspiring Ghost Ranch jewelry studio. Experience hands-on work in sawing, soldering, stone-setting, and finishing beautify jewelry in an inspiring environment. Wearable (and sellable) pieces of art will be made. For beginning or experienced students. Serious-minded youth 14+ are welcome.

This is a hands-on course in learning the basics of silver jewelry-making and stone-setting. Techniques are demonstrated but learning comes from actually doing the work. Problem solving is a significant part of this learning process. Studio work will be supplemented by demonstrations and discussions and guest instructors. Students will learn to safely use the basic tools of silversmith work. Students will leave with multiple pieces of wearable jewelry art and a discovery of their own creative potential.

The fully-equipped Ghost Ranch jewelry studio provides a wonderful opportunity for students to learn the skills and techniques of silver jewelry-making in a beautiful location with a long history in the creative arts. Ghost Ranch is a place of beauty and serenity that nurtures the creative spirit. Silversmith students come away from this class with unimagined creations, a proud sense of accomplishment, and a personal connection to the arts of the Southwest.

The studio is equipped with all the needed tools, supplies and equipment. Students may bring their own hand-tools, stones, and silver supplies, if desired. NOTE: Silver metal and some special rocks used in class projects can be purchased at the Ghost Ranch studio. Students should expect to spend between $100 – $200 on silver for the week – this cost is NOT included in the class fee. All other materials, including most rocks used in class are included in the course fees.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will learn basic skills needed to construct silver jewelry: sawing, soldering, stone-setting, and polishing/finishing
  • Students will learn to safely use silver-making tools: saws, torches, hammers, rolling mill, Foredom flex shaft, sanding belts, grinding and polishing wheels
  • Students will acquire confidence in their creative abilities and skills
  • Students will learn about the history and styles of southwest jewelry-making
  • Students will create wearable and sellable jewelry art




  • Jamie Halpern

    Jamie Halpern is an accomplished silversmith, lapidary artist and metalsmith instructor. His work reflects southwestern art and jewelry-making styles and is influenced by travels throughout the United States, the South Pacific and Europe. Working with silver and colorful semi-precious stones through metal fabrication and inlay, and through his teachings with beginning and advanced jewelry students and artists, Jamie celebrates creativity and personal exploration and nurtures artistic expression. His jewelry is sold through private commissions. He has taught silversmithing and lapidary art at Ghost Ranch for a number of years to rave reviews and testaments to how professional pieces can be crafted with focused time. Examples of Jamie’s work can be found at: Jehalpernjewelry.com.

  • Susie Sawin

    Susie Sawin is an artist, dentist, and mom. She started her study of silversmithing and lapidary arts under the wonderful instruction of Dale Smith and Judith Foster here at Ghost Ranch. Over the past 8 years, Susie has continued to explore and refine her skills both at the ranch and at her studio in Columbus, Indiana. She loves the confluence of technical challenge and artistic freedom that comes when silver and stone is brought together in a piece of work. Susie’s jewelry has been featured at local galleries and shows around her hometown and examples can be seen online at keepinghillecoart.com.