Last year, Rio Grande launched one of our largest educational events here at our Albuquerque headquarters. Jewelers traveled from far and wide, many stopping on their way to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, to experience Rio Grande firsthand. They attended one- and two-day classes on a range of jewelry-making techniques, toured our 180,000 square foot facility and had hands-on opportunities to experience and evaluate innumerable tools and equipment.

Well, the party has begun again –Rio In Motion 2012 is on!

Students arrived from twenty seven U.S. states and as far away as Trinidad, French Polynesia, Australia, Honduras, Mexico, and Canada. It’s been buzzing around here all week as the students immerse themselves in great instruction from many teachers including Bill Fretz, Kate Wolf and G. Phil Poirier, who are back to teach popular classes on metal forming, wax carving, hydraulic press tooling, and much more.

This year, were proud to offer a broader range of classes with instructors Lauren Tobey, Charles Lewton-Brain and Joshua St. John. Students are exploring the incredible possibilities of CAD design and learning all about fold-forming from professor Brain who pioneered this exciting style of metal forming. They’re also experiencing firsthand the scope of our solar-powered manufacturing and distribution facility, which is responsible for crafting thousands of American-made findings as well as a selection of leading-edge machines and equipment.

One of the best parts of Rio In Motion, is our hands-on demo room which gives attendees the opportunity to play with the latest tools and equipment.

Oh my gosh!! Nate Perea's tiny glass animals melted hearts around here.

Maria demonstrated a variety of techniques as she crafted her cuff bracelet.

A couple of favorites from the demo room: Nate Perea, a key accounts representative here at Rio has charmed us all with his menagerie of lampworked critters, and Maria Baca made a cuff bracelet of sterling sheet and PMC Sterling. She textured the cuff with the new Fretz Cross-Hatch Hammer and colored it with Copper Gilders Paste. This isn’t finished yet, but you can see how nicely it’s coming along. Stones were set and the piece was soldered in the Rio In Motion demo room.

Check back at The Studio next week for more Rio In Motion highlights and some favorite moments of the attendees!