In regard to classes
If your interests lie in becoming a "real" jeweler we can talk to that end. Maybe you already know all this but I'll say it anyway since you have said the magic words. First, I don't consider myself to be a real jeweler, there are a couple of divisions of the jewelry trade I would define; 1) real jewelers or a better description a bench jeweler. 2) studio crafts-person 3) artist educated in academia in jewelry or better yet sculpture I personally straddle these three areas and fell very fortunate to be able to do that because I would hate to be pegged as any one of the three. Bench jewelry is like a real job in that you are working for someone else and you are a tradesman like a plumber. Studio craft is the funnest out of the three but to my tastes is a bit too free and not constrained by convention enough to be forced to specialize. It's a trap many non schooled artists and hobbyists fall into. My main objection to studio crafts persons is that they are scattered by the desire to learn too many techniques and buy too many tools to solve problems of their own making. Academic artists have a lot going against them if they want to make a living as an artist. Schools, four year institutions, seem to teach sculpture and design and no business or technique. So, it's a fast track to being something else when there is no money and yet there are financial responsibilities. Not knowing business and thinking of supporting myself in business is a discouraging way of life. All the talent, knowledge or artistic accolades in the world won't put food in the table unless I known how to focus my money. The necessity of knowing business is the line that separates hobbyists from a working artist. The need to create a functioning business and remain an artist is what drives me to be creative and constantly re-invent myself to find a niche and then blow it up in pursuit of the next niche. Some of my students are hobbyists who sell and I know myself well enough to know that I would be hard pressed to be creative under those circumstances. So, the desire to become a real jeweler is a fascinating one to me and I make it very complicated because I have lots of time to do so (apparently). It bears discussion though because it can help anyone define their personal energy and resources to a productive career in jewelry if that is what they seek. God, I'm brilliant, now let's see if I can put it into practice!