NIC metal jewellery design student Valerie Harty stands by a display of some of the pieces she created throughout her time in the program. Photo courtesy NIC

Campbell River NIC grad to launch Island-wide silver guild

‘You are who you are and you love what you love,’ says Calgary-transplant Valerie Harty

Calgary-transplant Valerie Harty’s interest in rock collecting has been polished into a love for jewellery making thanks to North Island College’s Metal Jewellery Design certificate, and now she wants to help share that love far and wide.

“Jewellery making is usually very solitary work, but there’s incredible value in having a place to connect and share ideas and tips,” Harty says, adding that the most important lesson she has learned is to be true to her passions. “You are who you are and you love what you love. Don’t try to change it for a market or a client because then your art won’t be fulfilling.”

Back in Alberta, Harty was interested in connecting her passions of rock collecting and jewellery making and worked to develop a silversmithing studio at the Calgary Rock and Lapidary Club.

“With rock collecting you collect the rocks and usually only show them to other rock collectors,” she says. “Transforming them into jewellery allows you to showcase the pieces and bring them to a wider audience.”

And when retirement brought her to Vancouver Island, it was a presentation in Parksville by NIC instructor Tracey Gibbons that introduced her to NIC’s Metal Jewellery Certificate. “My husband looked at me and said, ‘that program is you,’ and that’s how we ended up in Campbell River and at NIC,” she says.

For Harty, NIC’s program was both inspiring and challenging.

It built on the knowledge she had brought with her from Calgary and gave her not only jewellery-making skills, but also communication and instruction skills in a class of all ages.

“The amount I learned was fantastic and the instructors were incredible to learn from. I can’t say enough about the experience,” Harty says. “I not only learned jewellery, but also some really good communication techniques. You learn the process right from the ground and you can build on it as slow or fast as you need to.”

Anyone who shares Harty’s love of silversmithing and jewelery making and is interested in joining the new Vancouver Island Silver Guild she’s trying to start up to help spread her love of her new art form can contact her by email at

And to learn more about NIC’s Metal Jewellery Design Certificate, go to

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Quadra Island adds voice to provincial old growth protest

Demonstrators and phoning campaign put pressure on provincial government

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Campbell River RCMP describe violent incident as ‘disturbing event’

Skatepark incident described by RCMP as ‘violence for violence[’s] sake’

North Island area timber supply under review

Review will inform annual cut for the next ten years

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

‘Bad blood’ over pathology issue, says Island Health medical director

Regional hospital district board pushes for pathology service in Courtenay, Campbell River

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read