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Fundamentals of North Shore Pebble Jewelry   

Have you ever collected perfectly smooth, round pebbles from the shores of Lake Superior or other places in the world and then wondered what to do with them? This course offers the perfect solution. Students will spend time on the first day gathering and identifying  basalt pebbles that can be easily used for jewelry making and searching for elusive agates with local rock aficionado Susan Ferguson. Then we will learn to use diamond-encrusted drill bits to drill holes in the pebbles and techniques for incorporating North Shore Pebbles and agates into jewelry. 

The Lake Superior agate is Minnesota’s state gemstone. Many are easy to identify but others require a deeper understanding of what makes an agate. Class will spend our first day together delving into “everything agate”; including agate imposters and the violent origins that make these gems so unique. We’ll spend part of the day in the classroom and part of the day on the best agate hunting beaches in our area. We’ll also learn about and collect other rocks with volcanic origins that will be used in the jewelry portion of this class.

The pebbles can then be made into pendants, necklaces, bracelets and rings. Sterling silver wire, chain, tubing and sheet will be used to fabricate unique pieces of jewelry based on each student’s own design theme. Discover the song of the jeweler’s saw, the hum of the drill, the intrigue of cold connections, and the thrill of a finished piece using these age-old techniques and go home with at least six handmade works of art to wear…truly treasures from the North Shore. 

Some soldering skills will be introduced. Good hand-eye coordination and vision (or magnification) are fundamental  for this course.

A course materials fee of $35-85.00 will be paid to your instructor in class. This will cover all course materials and drill bits.

Students age 14+ may register for this course.  

 Required Tools

  • Students will need to bring a small hand held Dremel type rotary tool 
  • Sketch/notebook for designing and note taking.
  • 2 extra-fine sharpie pens
  • Eye magnification required - opti-visors are preferred and can be purchased from any jewelry supplier - visit for a good source

Optional Tools

  • Any small jewelry tools you may have: jewelers saw, hand tools (pliers, nippers, hammers), bench pin, steel block, and any other jewelry tools you wish to use.
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