Jeweler Robert Wins Battle of the Benches!


We’re excited to announce that Jeweler Robert at our Bellevue Studio has won Stuller’s Battle of the Benches! Keep reading to hear from Robert about his experience at the competition and what it’s like to be a jeweler at Green Lake below. Be sure to check out the YouTube link below to see Robert in action in the top right corner.


Image of a Battle of the Bench set up courtesy of the Stuller Blog

The Competition

Three challenges are a part of the annual Stuller bench jeweler workshop: Stone setting, CAD, and Parts & Pieces. There are four slots for competitors to sign up in each category. Robert already has his sights set on the Parts & Pieces competition for next year!

“The challenges take place in the middle of the main space where all the vendors are set up. The stone setting challenge was right at the very start of the workshop so it was a bustling atmosphere to try to focus on a new-to-me bench and locate the tools I would need. They had seats set up for spectating. To add more pressure my mom was having hip replacement surgery while the challenge was taking place so I was very worried about her. But once I got started I was able to tune everything out and focus on the task at hand.” -Robert

“The project with a 3-hour time limit was set up for an emerald cut halo with bezel set baguettes on the shank. To further complicate the challenge the stones were cz, much harder to set than diamonds due to the possibility of breakage, and had very odd cuts and extremely thick girdles. It was quite challenging. I was concerned with not damaging any stones and finishing the project within the timeframe yet still having a high-quality setting. I was extremely relieved when I finished with a couple minutes to spare. The other competitors were very highly skilled stone setters.”


Robert’s Passion for Jewelry

“Not only do I love the nature of the materials involved with setting stones into jewelry but I love the techniques and challenge as well. Platinum, gold, diamonds and gemstones are some of the most beautiful things produced by nature. Just about every job is different. The equipment and techniques have changed so much since I first started working with my grandfather when I was 14. Modern bench microscopes and micro tools allow for incredibly precise work and endless experimentation.”


Robert working at his bench at the Bellevue studio.

Filigree, Stone Setting, Detailing by Robert

Stone Setting by Robert

Assembly, Texture, Hand Forging, Filigree, Hand Engraving, Stone Setting, & Detailing by Robert

“Working at Green Lake provides daily opportunities to work with these materials and perform at the highest level. Our clients and designers conspire to come up with some of the most artistic and unique designs in the industry.  I do CAD and wax carving as well as design. I am definitely partial to mountain rings or anything inspired by nature.”


Design and Fabrication by Robert

“I run ultras, ski, mountain bike, and climb when I am not working and find my inspiration in nature. I do a pretty deep dive when I’m carving mountain bands utilizing pics as well as Google Earth to try to capture the distinct contours of the various peaks.   My favorite projects are the ones when I can use all of my skills. Sit down with the client and listen to them, come up with a design, produce a model via CAD or wax carving, and finish the metal work with stone setting and hand engraving. I get a tremendous sense of satisfaction to go through the whole process.”

Mountain Rings

Halos

Contemporary Rings

French Setting

Animal Rings

Nature Inspired Wax-Carvings