Grand Masters Program ®

A true investment in your future should provide opportunities that excite you and stretch you beyond your current capabilities.

GRS Tools is extremely excited to announce the return of the Grand Masters Program® for 2023. The 10th Edition of this historic program will be taught by two well accomplished masters in their fields. It is our distinct honor to name Damien Connolly and Jason Marchiafava our 2023 Grand Masters!

A Grand Masters class is a true investment in your craft; participation in this experience will impact the level of skill and technique for each attendee. You DO NOT need to be of master level to apply – just have proficient skills and a strong desire to learn from the best.

Classes will be August 14th-25th. Prospective students can apply online at GRS.com starting on February 1st through March 31st.

Meet the 2023 Grand Masters

 

Damien Connolly

Damien Connolly was interested in art, design, and engineering from a young age but discovered a passion for making muzzle-loading rifles at age 21. Starting out, he cut every part from raw steel by hand, except for purchased barrel blanks. He consumed technical books, studied professional work in books, and on rare occasions, had the opportunity to study others’ work firsthand. Damien began his first engraved commission in 1979. Sole authorship of his projects allowed him to take control of all facets of design, manufacture, finishing, and embellishment. Client relationships exposed him to quality engraving from Italy and the US, and that inspiration drove him to ever more complex designs in his growing career. After 1999, Damien began to focus solely on fine embellished firearms. A changing clientele allowed him to take a more expansive approach to design and invest more time in each project. His work features a mastery of all aspects of design and execution, including high-relief sculpting, bulino, banknote styles, precious metal inlay, and low-relief foliate scrolls of many styles. He uses these skills to create work that uniquely integrates artistic and functional design elements.

Meet the 2023 Grand Masters

 

Jason Marchiafava

Jason Marchiafava is a third-generation jewelry master craftsman with a deep understanding of jewelry manufacturing processes. With over 30 years of experience, he has had a lifelong passion for jewelry design, jewelry making, team building, manufacturing facility development, and leadership within the jewelry industry. Jason began his career in his family’s jewelry shop at a very young age, where he built a strong foundation in both hands-on skills and management expertise. Jason has been awarded Master status in three disciplines of jewelry arts: Master Jeweler, Master Setter, and Master Engraver. Later, he applied his expertise and developed strategic leadership skills within the corporate segment of the jewelry industry. He has played key roles in designing and guiding factory development, creating training systems, process engineering, and cultivating leadership teams in multiple countries. Jason has honed his skill through work on fine knives, watches, firearms, and designing high-end jewelry in between engraving projects. He combines engraving and sculpting techniques with jewelry fabrication skills to create refined detail, style, and complexity in his work.

The Approval Process

After the closing for receipt of applications, all candidates’ photos will be reviewed to remove any names or other identifying marks. Each application portfolio will then be assigned a number known only to GRS management.

Photos will be sent to the Grand Masters, who will each select twelve attendees based entirely on the work shown in the photos. Three alternates will also be selected to cover possible cancellations. Applications are kept confidential to ensure selections are unbiased.

GRS Grand Masters

Through the years, some of the world’s greatest engravers and jewelers have come to the GRS Training Center to share their knowledge during the Grand Masters Program.

Winston Churchill

2005, 2007

 

Ron Smith

2005

 

Creative Art (Giacomo Fausti, Giovanni Steduto, and Ugo Talenti)

2006, 2010

 

Ken Hunt

2007

 

Philippe Grifnée

2008

 

Alain Lovenberg

2008, 2012, 2017

 

Alexandre Sidorov

2009, 2012, 2017

 

Martin Strolz

2009

 

Sam Alfano

2019

 

Mike Dubber

2019

 

Damien Connolly

2023

 

Jason Marchiafava

2023