The Jewelry District

The Jewelry District

Episode 49: Guest Alan Revere

July 20, 2021

In This Episode
You’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk with Alan Revere, award-winning jewelry designer, author, and founder of the now-closed Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts.

Show Notes
00:50 Victoria and Rob introduce their guest, Alan Revere.
07:16 Alan got his start with jewelry in Germany, and he explains what he did once he got back to the United States.
11:00 Alan tells the JCK editors what the jewelry industry was like back in the ’60s and ’70s.
13:04 Alan discloses which jewelers have stuck out to him.
15:47 The Revere Academy closed in 2017, and Alan explains his feelings on that time.
18:58 Now retired, Alan lets listeners know what he's up to these days.

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Producer and engineer: Natalie Chomet

Show Recap

Introducing Alan Revere
Victoria and Rob briefly mention this year’s new issue of JCK magazine, which is all about JCK Las Vegas, now taking place in late August. They then introduce their guest, Alan Revere. He is the past president of the American Jewelry Design Council, founder of the Contemporary Design Group, and founder of the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco. He’s now retired in Lucas Valley, in Marin, Calif., living in a midcentury modern home. He grew up in Great Neck, N.Y., but trained in Germany. Here he tells the story of how he got involved in the jewelry industry.

How Alan Got His Start
Alan tells us he dropped a potential career in law for the arts in the ’70s. Victoria asks about what happened when he came back from Germany in 1974 and landed on the West Coast. Alan says he got a job as a bench jeweler in Oakland, Calif.. It was there that he learned how to do repairs, resize rings, fulfill custom orders, and the like. At the California College of the Arts, Alan taught a small class—which eventually led to him teaching from his studio, and then his home. In 1979, he established the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts.

Industry Changes in the ’60s and ’70s
Rob says we think a lot about how the ’60s and ’70s were a big time for change in arts and design, and asks Alan what school of design he belonged to. Alan says in the ’60s, contemporary jewelry started to come of age, but no one was selling under their own name. By the ’70s, that had all begun to change, when a range of trends began to bloom and jewelers started their own name brands. At that time, Alan says people had more money than they knew what to do with, so it was a better time for buying jewelry.

Who Stands Out
Victoria asks Alan if he taught CAD at the Revere Academy, and he explains that he did, but seldom. For him, creating jewelry is best when done with your hands. He’s a craftsman who wants to touch the materials—but he recognizes how useful today's technology is. Changing subjects, Victoria asks which of Alan's students have really stood out. Alan says James Binnion, a metaler; Mary-Lee Rae an enamelist; and Dana Bronfman, a newcomer to the space. He also mentions Kirk  Bloodsworth, the first convicted inmate to be released because of DNA evidence, who then released a line of jewelry for others who have been exonerated. Though Alan says there is no other academy like his as none are all-encompassing as his was, there are a few he likes.

The Closing of the Academy
Rob asks Alan how he feels about having closed the Revere Academy in 2017. Alan says he believes that everything happens on time when it’s supposed to. The price of rent for his building exploded. Someone suggested that he sell the academy, but he didn’t want anyone to tarnish something founded in his name, so he decided to finally close its doors four years ago.

What Alan Is Up to Now
Alan tells us he has a bench in his home, so he’s still making jewelry. He belongs to the American Jewelry Design Council, a group of 30 talented jewelry designers across the country. They make jewelry every year according to a theme. Rob asks Alan about the future of jewelry design—but Alan says that he’s an expert of the past, not the future. Alan then gives fun facts about the history of jewelry.

(Photo courtesy of Alan Revere)