Professional industries often ensure the longevity of their field by sharing ideas and knowledge among those who work in their industry. Such is the goal of the Santa Fe Symposium. This year the symposium celebrates its thirty-second year in May by offering not only professional presentations on the industry but also showcasing the winning designs of the Saul Bell Design Award.
Bringing together professionals in the field of jewelry making for four days of presentations and Q&A sessions was the brainchild of Eddie Bell, Executive Vice President Emeritus of Rio Grande Jewelry Supply and his friend, Dave Schneller. Through their own work, the two noticed the lack of opportunities to share new ideas and innovative technology opening up in the field. There were marketing opportunities, ways and places to sell their work, but they wanted something different. What they envisioned was a place where knowledge could be shared outside of marketing and selling, a place where shared knowledge was the goal. Their belief was that the whole industry would benefit from this type of opportunity.
That belief has been borne out by the way the symposium has grown over the years. Today, the event is considered the premier forum for showcasing the technology and innovations in the field of jewelry making worldwide.
The unique combination of educational, non-commercial research, professional panels open to answering and discussing industry issues, and opportunities to engage with other jewelry makers is what makes the symposium stand out. In their call for papers, coordinators look for informative, educational presentations on the latest advances in technology and ideas on addressing the problems encountered by the participants. With a stress on the practical side, presenters also offer inspiration to those who come, helping them push their own work to the next level. Presentations cover a range of topics, offering information on the business side as well as the creative side. They are designed to address the issues facing both large and small businesses. And they offer the opportunity for those engaged in all of them to share both their knowledge and experience.
The goal of the Santa Fe Symposium is clear: participants come away with greater knowledge and a better sense of what they can accomplish with their own business. Along with that, they can see what’s being done in the industry, particularly through the annual gala for the Saul Bell Award Design winner. Putting industry professionals in touch with others in their field and introducing them to new and established designers is the way the Santa Fe Symposium creates longevity for the field of jewelry making.