The path to metalsmithing for Ron started when he would buy a ring for his wife each year as a Christmas gift. He admits at the beginning he barely knew the difference between an amethyst and a citrine, however each year while talking to jewelers about a new piece he learned a little more about jewelry and gemology. This eventually led him to an interest in metal work and gemology. At this time he was living in Maryland just outside Washington DC. One day he noticed a basic jewelry making course offered through an adult education program. The course was taught by an enthusiastic husband and wife team and sounded like the perfect introduction to jewelry making. The instructors emphasized that a lot could be done with the basic skills of sawing, filing, and soldering and the class focused on obtaining and developing those skills. The class turned out to be an excellent introduction to jewelry making.
A year later he enrolled in a metals class at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD. Over the next year and a half he was fortunate to have two very skilled, and personable instructors who focused on different techniques including fabrication, wax carving, casting, tool making, and enameling. In addition to the excellent instructors, the class was filled with energetic students who created a high level of motivation within the class. During this time, many workshops and seminars in metalsmithing were available in the DC area and he estimates he has taken at least 20 such workshops. He has also taken classes at the Revere Academy, Blaine Lewis stone setting classes, and three engraving classes at GRS in Emporia, KS.
In his previous life, Ron was a research chemist and his interest in chemistry led him into gemology including a wide range of topics such as gem identification, treatments, and synthetics. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) offers a comprehensive gemology program in which he enrolled and completed the requirements for the Graduate Gemologist (GG) diploma.
The piece shown here is one of his favorites because it incorporates multiple construction techniques. The basic form of the piece was inspired by a microscopic marine protozoa. The body of the piece was carved from wax and cast in sterling silver. Copper domes were soldered in the recessed areas of the body. The green dome at the top was cut from a marble, and the setting fabricated from sterling silver. The outer surface was sand blasted, hand engraved, and engraved areas darkened with an antique patina.
Ron is a member of the GIA Alumni Association, and a returning member of MSG having previously been a member for about five years. His work has been sold in galleries in Maryland and Michigan, and also at several local craft shows including The Saline Craft Fair, The Ann Arbor City Club Craft Festival, and The Ann Arbor Art Fair in conjunction with MSG.
Ron is an avid golfer and spends much of the summer months on the golf course.