Carving and Shaping Mother of Pearl for Jewelry

Course Description

About this course

In this live, virtual workshop students will learn the process of carving and shaping shell to make custom components for various types of jewelry. The class will focus on translating traditional jewelry hand skills such as sawing, drilling, and polishing into methods of manipulating Mother of Pearl. Using flat shell blanks provided in a kit, students will use a diamond saw blade and their jeweler’s saw to pierce out their designs and then add finer detail using rotary bits and wheels. Completed shell components are versatile and can be used as cabochons, beads, or stand alone pendants that hang in the spotlight!

This course will consist of two sessions. There will be a no-class day between each session. 

Class will be held live via Zoom during the designated time frame. A link to the Zoom room will be sent via email. 

Each session will be recorded and you will receive a password protected link to the recordings that expire after 30 days.

Please read the Materials & Tools tab! 

Meet the Instructor

Breana Ferrara

Breana Ferrara is a jeweler, metalsmith, and maker of excessive body adornment at her home studio in Fitchburg, MA. Breana moved to Fitchburg from Boston after graduating with her BFA in Fine Arts 3D with a concentration in Jewelry & Metalsmithing from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, where she was nominated for the Windgate Fellowship in 2017. Breana’s work has been featured in many exhibitions in the Boston metropolitan area, and she’s branching out into the national contemporary jewelry community, recently exhibiting at the Adorned Spaces exhibition during the 2019 Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) conference in Chicago, IL. She is planning to exhibit at New York Jewelry Week in Fall 2019. When Breana isn't working in her studio on a jewelry line, body of work, or commission, she can be found teaching at MassArt and around the community, or working as a studio assistant to other artists.

Materials & Tools 

To lower expenses for students, the following $75 supply kit will be sent to the shipping address you have listed on your Metalwerx account. To get a kit, students need to register prior to January 18th. If you register after, you will need to order the following supplies yourself. Please inform us if you reside outside of the United States, as your shipping cost may differ from the standard shipping included in the materials kit fee and may also need to be expedited. All items listed below will be included in your kit:

  • 1 x tube of Zam compound
  • 4 x pieces of mother of pearl sheet (plus some small bonus pieces)
  • 1 x assorted diamond bur set
  • 2 x diamond saw blades
  • 2 x screw mandrels for rotary buffs
  • 20 x assorted rotary felt buffs
  • priority mail shipping
Students should bring 

Carving shell can get messy and smelly, so in addition to the above items, you will need to have the following items available (economy suggestions linked in red): ​

  • 1 x jewelers saw - one that can get wet (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x bench pin (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x rotary hand piece (Rio Grande)
  • hard work surface
  • sandpaper - 220, 320, 400, 600 gits
  • dust mask or respirator - required
  • fan and open window - or ventilation system
  • safety glasses/goggles - required
  • ultra fine point Sharpie marker
  • old clothing or apron
  • rags/towels
  • containers for water - glass or tupperware 




Breana Ferrara


February 3 -5, 2021


4:00 PM -6:00 PM


2 days

Basic and above

No Class Dates

February 4

Virtual - Eastern Time Zone
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