Decide what you want to make. Then find who teaches it. Albuquerque’s Meltdown Studio offers specialized classes in specific styles of jewelry, including corset and spinner rings, cuff bracelets, and interchangeable hoops.

Talk to the experts. At the Palace of the Governors, in Santa Fe, the Native American Artisans Portal Program features  an ever-changing daily selection of jewelry made from traditional materials such as silver, copper, turquoise, and coral. When you purchase from Indigenous makers under the portal, you support a micro-economy—but you’re also buying from professional artisans! Ask questions, listen well, get inspired, and bring home a piece with a story to tell. 

Go back to school. Some of the best silversmithing, beading, and glassblowing instruction can be found in continuing-education programs. Scout for extension courses in online catalogs from the University of New Mexico, Santa Fe Community College, New Mexico State University, Eastern New Mexico University, and other institutions of higher learning near you.

Read more: A program in Tucumcari draws students from near and far to make functional cowboy art.