I Want to Go to the AJS Kids Jewelry Camp

Start ’em young, that’s what they say. If my daughter were a mere six and one-quarter years older, I know where we’d be the first weekend of March.

For budding jewelry enthusiasts 7 and older, that place to be is at the Kids Jewelry Camp, a two-day program geared toward showing children the ins and outs of the business, complete with interactive activities and expertly crafted learning sessions. For parents in the industry, this is one-stop shopping: The camp runs alongside the Atlanta Jewelry Show.

I jump at the chance to bring my little sidekick along wherever appropriate (sometimes inappropriate, too), so this upcoming event is the perfect opportunity for any parent who, like me, dreams of imparting the good stuff that makes this industry so wonderful to their children.

AJS Kids Jewelry Camp 2018
Barbara Palumbo’s daughter Beatrice (left) and another camper view gemstones at the Kids Jewelry Camp in 2018.

I think it looks amazingly cool, but since I’ll be waiting more than half a decade to experience it myself (or rather, to have my child take part), I asked someone who has had experience with the program. Barbara Palumbo, freelance jewelry writer and watch journalist of What’s On Her Wrist, brought her daughter Beatrice (who is pictured above) to the camp last year.

“As a person who’s spent half (yes, half) her life in the jewelry industry in some way, shape, or form, it seemed only natural to want to introduce this world to my daughter someday, and when I heard that AJS was going to be doing a kids’ camp, I knew Beatrice would want to take part in it. She’s a really creative child, and she immediately wanted to ‘make’ jewelry when we arrived, so the parts of the camp that appealed to her most were when she got to pan for gemstones in the sand and when she was able to play with real pearls at a class taught by Joshua Israileff of ASBA,” says Palumbo, when I asked her about her daughter’s favorite facets of the program. “Another aspect of the camp that I think she enjoyed was being able to visit the vendors on the show floor for a mock buying experience. For the buyers who are dropping their kids off to the camp, I think it allowed their kids an opportunity to see what they parents actually do and how much work it can be, while also being a lot of fun.”

There, two separate age groups (7–12 and 13 and up) are treated to educational programs and interactive sessions concerning CAD/CAM design, gem identification, careers in the jewelry industry, bench jewelry, safety, and trade show etiquette. Plus, campers will be invited onto the show floor with their parents to take part in some IRL buying experience.

The cost to attend for both days is $150 per camper, or $100 per camper for one day. Lunch and snacks are provided. The camp runs from Saturday, March 2, through Sunday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. More information and online registration can be found here.

Top: A trio of campers colors in a gemstone portrait at the 2018 Kids Jewelry Camp (all photos courtesy of the Atlanta Jewelry Show)

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JCK Contributing Editor

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