Studying jewelry design abroad is an excellent way to learn directly from international artists and designers, build connections from all over the world, and develop a new perspective in your craft. You will encounter new visual, cultural, and historical inspiration by living in another country, which will influence your work and ideas. You’ll also meet other art students and professionals who come from other backgrounds, and the conversations you’ll have about jewelry design techniques will provide you with invaluable development as an artist.
Why Study Jewelry Design Abroad
Many jewelry design study abroad programs are hosted by design studios or art schools that have an extensive history in the field; some have been around for hundreds of years! These institutions introduce specific methods that have been developed over generations. Therefore, students who choose to study jewelry design abroad may have the chance to take courses exploring centuries old techniques taught by masters of the trade.
Most jewelry design programs encourage students to develop their own style and therefore expose students to numerous methods of design and styles unique to the region, culture, country, and city. In addition to practicing the basics of jewelry design, such as welding, soldering, polishing, filing, and forging, students may also be able to learn how to work with precious stones, unusual metals, or rare gems that are unique to their location.
Some jewelry design study abroad programs include field trips to important sites related to the field, such as Arezzo, Italy, Europe’s largest manufacturing center for gold. Experiences like these are second to none, and are irreplaceable foundational steps for any future as a jewelry designer.
There are several countries that offer excellent programs for jewelry design study abroad, but each country tends to have its own approach to the field. Remember, the descriptions below are not necessarily representative for every single program in that country, or every type of program available for that matter, so it’s still good to figure out what you want from your program and do your research on destinations across the world.
Italy is by far the most popular destination for studying jewelry design abroad, and for good reasons. The country’s history is rooted in art and metalwork, and many schools have specific degree programs that focus on jewelry design rather than just one or two courses. You might study jewelry design in Italy at a local university, but more than likely you’ll be studying at a design school or studio, which is primarily based on hands on jewelry design rather than theory or history. With plenty of famous Italian artisans and thousands of tourists visiting cities like Florence, Rome, and Milan for the pure creative attraction alone, it is clear that Italy is an excellent place to learn from the best of the best.
Australia is an ideal choice for studying jewelry design abroad in the context of a larger university and campus, alongside students from other countries and majors. However, there are still many jewelry design programs in Australia offered by stand-alone art studios or design schools, providing students with a creative and focused group of colleagues who are focused on developing their artistic talents.
Scotland is a great destination for studying jewelry design abroad, especially in the city of Glasgow, because many artists and schools call Glasgow home. With small group instruction and the chance to learn from established artists as the norm, studying in Scotland is a good choice for those interested in honing their skills and style.
Brazil is a growing location for jewelry design study abroad programs, as it is naturally a creative and colorful country, a perfect fit for aspiring artists or those looking for inspiration. The emphasis on costume, craft, and performance in Brazil gives students with an added interest in bold and bright designs an ideal learning environment. Also, artists in Brazil tend to not be afraid to take risks, which won’t hurt either!
Studying Jewelry Design Abroad
Most courses available in jewelry study abroad programs are production and critique-driven in studio art or design. Courses may focus on the history of jewelry, understanding the symbolism in various styles over time, or involve instruction on particular crafting techniques. Many jewelry design study abroad programs offer an emphasis on metalwork, based in tradition and history, allowing students to learn new practices and methodology.
Students can expect to use the environment around them as inspiration while studying jewelry design abroad, sometimes even visiting specific museums and exhibits centered around jewelry design. While some courses may have structured assignments and tasks before moving to higher-level projects and hands on work, others will be more free-form; the structure of courses all depend on what jewelry design study abroad program you choose.
Another element of studying jewelry design abroad relates to the business management, marketing, and financial aspects of being an artist. It is, of course, vital that artists are well-versed in artistic techniques and production methodologies, especially if you are hoping to build your skills into a career; but, nowadays, without knowledge of the marketing, administration, and organizational side of the art world, artists are at a significant disadvantage to their peers and artistics far along in their career. Though it’s good to take these types of courses in your home country as well, it will be good to experience various approaches and understand how the art world works on a global scale. These skills will be especially important if you’re looking to eventually have your work shown in museums or art galleries abroad.
Before you study jewelry design abroad, you may be asked to provide a portfolio or website that illustrates your skills and artwork; however, most beginner courses are open to students of all levels and experience. No matter what you begin with, at the end of your jewelry study abroad program you will likely have a body of work that will be able to show your progression and skill development in the field. Studying jewelry design abroad will encourage you to be open to new ideas and take risks with your designs.
During a jewelry design study abroad program, you might be taking classes from internationally renowned artists and designers or have the chance to hear from experts through guest speakers who come to present in your class. These will be incredible learning experiences, as well as networking opportunities.
Global Perspective & Connections. In addition to receiving specific instruction on jewelry design techniques and learning from well-known artisans and experts, students will also gain a better understanding of the methodologies used around the world and the field as a whole. Many students return home after studying jewelry design abroad with a clearer idea of what it takes to be an international artist. By choosing a program that is specifically focused on jewelry making, you will be able to align yourself with well-known studio names and build connections in areas of the world that are top destinations for artisan works too.
Step Outside the Box. The inspiration and growth that occurs during a jewelry design study abroad program makes it a natural fit for pushing yourself as an artist and creator. You may find yourself trying out techniques or materials that were not interesting before, and that’s a great thing!
Professional Growth. Gaining professional training, in production methods as well as the history and business of jewelry design, is an additional benefit of jewelry study abroad programs. You’ll develop the skills needed to succeed in your career as a jewelry maker and designer by taking the once in a life time opportunity to explore the field during your degree program!