Jewelry and Metal Working student using a torch to mold their ring

BFAJewelry + Metal Arts

Create original jewelry, functional objects, and sculpture that bring your personal views and interests to life.

Overview

Learn how to make jewelry at a top art college

The Jewelry and Metal Arts program, founded in 1912, is one of the oldest and most recognized in the field. You’ll explore a variety of processes for jewelry making and design through courses taught by nationally and internationally renowned faculty. Our location in the Bay Area gives us instant access to world-class museums and galleries, a large metalsmithing community, and materials suppliers.

Blend the traditional and cutting-edge

With faculty guidance, you’ll use rapid prototyping equipment, including 3D printers, jewelry welders, and laser cutters to create innovative designs. Blending craft-based processes with cutting-edge technology helps you develop a unique aesthetic approach that’s compelling and original. You’ll also expand your ways of thinking and making during internships with professional Bay Area metal artists.

Studios + Shops

Make jewelry, holloware, and sculpture

The main Jewelry and Metal Arts studio has three main work areas that include professional jeweler’s benches and a breadth of jewelry tools. We cover the full range of techniques to help you master metalsmithing, contemporary jewelry design, sculpture, and installations:

  • Soldering
  • Cold connections
  • Forging
  • Casting
  • Enameling
  • Stone-setting
  • Hinges and mechanisms
  • Production methods
  • Holloware
  • Patination
Jewelry and Metal working student using microscope to examine and carve their jewelry

Examining metal as a creative medium

You’ll examine metal through basic metalworking techniques, including filing, sawing and piercing, soldering, and forming. Then you’ll build upon these skills while studying the history of the metalsmithing field and other fine arts practices. Your goal is to lay the groundwork for your own original concepts.

Metal working shop class

Our curriculum challenges you to develop your techniques even further by emphasizing fabrication, concepts, and narrative. You’ll begin to create personally expressive work that engages with contemporary discourse. Opportunities to use traditional and contemporary techniques help you visualize and experiment with interesting dichotomies.

Metal working tray in studio

Project-based work and special techniques

As you develop a cohesive body of work for your senior solo show, you’ll take project-based courses that challenge you to conceptualize and create quickly. Themes, such as specific art history movements and personal narratives, help you find new sources of inspiration. You’ll have the opportunity to take four special technique courses in casting, enameling, production, and holloware to explore these skills in-depth.

Learn the tools of the trade

  • Rolling mill
  • Anvils, stakes, and hammers
  • Centrifugal and vacuum casting equipment
  • Sandblaster
  • Bandsaw
  • Annealing torch
  • Polishing, grinding, and etching tools
  • Enameling kilns
  • Shears and other hand tools
  • Hydraulic press
  • Pulse arc welder
  • Resin 3D printer

Faculty

Study with acclaimed professional artists

Our faculty are nationally and internationally recognized artists in jewelry, sculpture, metal arts, architectural detailing, large-scale public art, and installations. They work one-on-one with students to build their conceptual and technical skills while helping them bridge the gap between the program and other fine arts and design disciplines at CCA.

Chair Marilyn da Silva helping Jewelry and Metal Working student

Marilyn da Silva, Co-chair of Jewelry and Metal Arts

Co-chair Marilyn da Silva’s work tells stories through images and representational work. She creates sculpture and wearable pieces with her trademark surface treatment of gesso and colored pencil. Her work has appeared in national and international museums and galleries, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the National Gallery of Australia. She was selected Master Metalsmith at the National Ornamental Metals Museum, and is an ACC Fellow. Recently, da Silva was selected as a Master of the Medium by the James Renwick Alliance in Washington, D.C.

Curtis Arima - studio_andrialo - Study with acclaimed artists

Curtis Arima, Co-chair of Jewelry and Metal Arts

Co-chair Curtis Arima is a metalsmith who makes jewelry and sculpture in his Berkeley studio. His work has appeared in the National Ornamental Metal Museum, Vennel Gallery in Scotland, and the Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Design Fair in New York and Chicago. Arima has been nominated for a NICHE Instructor of the Year award and received a Best of Show award at the Innovations in Contemporary Craft exhibitions in Richmond, California.

Curriculum

We think with our hands

Every undergraduate student participates in the First Year Core program, an opportunity to explore a wide range of materials and tools. Faculty from many different disciplines guide studio projects, group critiques, and discussions on foundational theory to help set students up for success. The program brings in national and international guest artists for lectures, workshops, and student critiques.

BFA Jewelry + Metal Arts

Core Studio

Drawing 1
3 units
2D, 3D, and 4D
9 units

Jewelry + Metal Arts Major Requirements

Jewelry and Metal Arts 1
3 units
Jewelry and Metal Arts 2A
3 units
Jewelry and Metal Arts 2B
3 units
Jewelry and Metal Arts 3A
3 units
Jewelry and Metal Arts 3B
3 units
Craft Workshop
3 units
Digital Tools: 3D
3 units
Contemporary Issues in Craft Theory
3 units
Special Techniques
6 units
Senior Project: Jewelry and Metal Arts
6 units

Additional Studio Requirements

Interdisciplinary Critique
3 units
Interdisciplinary Studio
3 units
Diversity Studies Studio
3 units
Studio Electives
15 units

Humanities + Sciences Requirements

Writing 1
3 units
Writing 2
3 units
Introduction to the Arts: Antiquity to Early Modern
3 units
Introduction to the Modern Arts
3 units
Foundation in Critical Studies
3 units
Media History: Jewelry and Metal Arts
3 units
Literary and Performing Arts Studies (200 level)
3 units
Philosophy and Critical Theory (200 level)
3 units
Social Science/History (200 level)
3 units
Science/Math (200 level)
3 units
Visual Studies (200 level)
3 units
Humanities and Sciences (300 level)
9 units
Diversity Studies Seminar
3 units
Humanities and Sciences Electives (200 or 300 level)
3 units

Total 120 units

Careers

Forge your future in metal arts

Our alumni start their own businesses, teach at fine arts colleges, exhibit their work in museums and galleries, are accepted into artist residencies, and attend leading graduate programs, where they continue to collaborate with other metalsmiths and artists.

Their interdisciplinary approach to form makes them extremely competitive for national awards. Recently, four of our alumni received prestigious Windgate Fellowships for exemplary skill in craft. Another recent alum won the SECA award and a solo show at SFMOMA. Wherever they are in their careers, our students continue to create ambitious work that pushes the boundaries of metal arts.

Potential career paths

  • Educator
  • Fine artist working with galleries and museums
  • Production studio artist working with wholesale shows and shops
  • Designer for wholesale manufacturing
  • Sales expert in a jewelry shop or art gallery
  • Fine artist in custom jewelry and objects
  • Arts writer/critic
  • Gallery owner

News + Events

What’s happening in our community?

How to Apply

Create a range of metal works

Our applicants are often just as excited about research as they are about making objects. Some want to make wearable objects and fine jewelry, while others want to blur the lines between design, craft, and fine art. We look for promising artists who want to dedicate time and space to rewarding craftsmanship.

Find your creative community at CCA

Apply now