The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

New Approach School: Take your Jewelry Making Skills to the Next Level

Mar 8, 2012
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Molly A. Bell
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Blaine Lewis and New Approach School for Jewelers recently opened its doors at a brand new location in Franklin TN, and we're excited to tell you about this unique place!

The new classroom boasts some impressive advancements in state-of-the-art audio/visual communication and workflow. Live instruction is captured on high-definition cameras and is viewed on three large flat-screen monitors. This allows Lewis and a select group of visiting masters to communicate the most intricate of techniques with ease. Class size is limited to 16, which allows plenty of personal attention for each student. Because the HD cameras use high-magnification, students are able to see their instructor’s work in precise detail. This visually-intensive teaching method enhances the instructors’ ability to communicate the most intricate details before the student proceeds with the hands-on experience. The instructor follows the live demo with personal attention and one-on-one instruction at each fully-equipped bench.

Seventeen years ago, Lewis pioneered the technique of using high-magnification video cameras to enhance the effectiveness of his traveling workshops, which in those days taught advanced stone setting to the professional jeweler. In 1997, Lewis opened New Approach School for Jewelers (originally located in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia), which offers all levels of stone setting, soldering and jewelry repair. He also hosts visiting masters, such as Kate Wolf, to teach wax carving, and Jason Marchiafava to teach ornamental hand engraving.

Blaine has also applied his visionary teaching techniques – using high-magnification and clearly-illustrated animation – to his best-selling DVD’s on stone-setting.

In 2010, Blaine’s reputation for innovation and exceptional teaching led Tiffany and Co. to invite him to train a new generation of stone setters for their manufacturing facility in Lexington, KY. Lewis spent six months in Lexington, training over 60 new Tiffany employees.

And in 2011, in response to student requests, Lewis made the decision to move the school to a more central and accessible location just south of Nashville, in Franklin, TN.

Considering a visit to Franklin and New Approach School?

If so, you should know that Blaine welcomes visitors and even invites them to watch during classes so they can see for themselves what sets this classroom apart. You should also know that Franklin is a vibrant place with abundant lodging options that is easily accessed from Nashville.

If you do decide to explore New Approach School, you’ll be rewarded by Blaine Lewis’ passion for teaching and a truly unique learning experience!

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Thanks AGAIN for Giving: Rio Teams Up with Customers to Help our Friends at Ganoksin!

Jan 25, 2012
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Molly A. Bell
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Our friends at Ganoksin were completely overrun by flooding in Thailand last fall. With the help of our customers –who value Ganoksin’s immeasurable contribution to our industry, Rio was able to offer a helping hand to these good friends. Many thanks to all!

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Romancing the Peridot and Yellow Beryl: Chapter 1, Finding the Rough

Feb 28, 2011
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Molly A. Bell
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I traveled to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show in early February in search of faceting rough material (precious or semi-precious stones suitable for faceting). For years my husband, Charles Springer, has traveled the show buying rough material on behalf of his jewelry manufacturing business, often returning with a precious piece or two of faceting rough that eventually ended up as a treasured piece of jewelry gifted to me! This year I had the rare opportunity to travel the Tucson Gem show as a spectator and shadow my husband as he shopped. He encouraged me to join him in looking for faceting rough…

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Welcome to Rio In Motion!

Jan 26, 2011
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Molly A. Bell
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Today, January 26, marks the opening day of our first-ever Rio In Motion event (Jan 26-31). We’re excited because we’ll be seeing many familiar faces and looking forward to meeting others for the first time! We welcome your visit to Rio, look forward to showing you how we manufacture your products and fill your orders – and how it’s all powered by over 5000 solar panels!

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Powered by the Sun: A Solar Update

Dec 1, 2010
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Molly A. Bell
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As you may have already heard, Rio Grande recently installed more than 5000 solar panels atop its parking lot. To acquaint yourself with some of the details of our solar project, you can read our “Powered by the Sun” announcement here. Now that our solar array has been functional and producing energy for about four months, we are pleased to report that, the solar panels have generated nearly 30% more electricity than the monthly estimate calculated…

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Did You Make These Wire-Wrapped Earrings?

Nov 18, 2010
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Molly A. Bell
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I often think about how many memories are tucked away in my jewelry box. Beyond the aesthetic appeal of each piece, my jewelry is more fun to wear because each has it’s own “story”. Adding to the pleasure my jewelry brings, is the extra special gratitude I feel when a piece brings a nice compliment from others…

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