How To Become a Jewelry Designer

To become a Jewelry Designer you need to be a very creative person.

Jewelry designer salaries can vary greatly, but some successful jewelry designers can make a decent living wage from their designs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for these sorts of professionals was $39,940 a year. To discover if this career is for you, take one of our quizzes.

Jewelry Designer Salary

  • Average Annual Salary: $39,450
  • Projected Lifetime Earnings: $1,768,000

Jewelry Designer – Education

Precious stone and metal workers and jewelers have usually had on-the-job training for a longer period of time. Though especially for jewelry manufacturing this is still true, we see an increasing number of professionals that learned their skills and knowledge at a trade school. Quite a few trade schools nowadays provide educational programs where students are taught the fundamentals of how to design and produce jewelry. These programs vary in length and may last 6 months to one year.

Students are educated in the identification and grading of precious stones and metals, and they learn how they should be designing, casting, setting, and polishing jewelry and gems, and how to handle and clean jewelers’ equipment and tools. Employers usually are interested in these graduates as they won’t need so much on-the-job training. Discover whether this profession may be something for you, take a free career test!

Applicants for these programs must have a high school or GED diploma, but if you want to work at a jewelry store, a high school diploma will generally be sufficient, and in many jewelry manufacturing facilities, workers generally will develop their knowledge and skills via on-the-job training, though the length of the required training depends usually on the complexity and difficulty of the position. Training, in general, will be focusing on casting, how to set stones, the making of models, and engraving.

Jewelry Designer – The Job

Jewelers are in the business of designing, manufacturing, and selling jewelry. They also will be repairing and adjusting pieces of jewelry, and are often the right persons for appraising gems and jewelry. Precious stone and metal workers do more or less the same as jewelers, and they typically examine and grade diamonds, other precious stones, and gems, and they are creating jewelry from precious gemstones, gold or silver.

They also shape metal so it can hold gems when they make individual pieces, often using soldering techniques. They are masters in repairing jewelry by resetting stones, altering ring sizes, and they may replace broken clasps.

Nowadays, technology has become a major factor in the production of high-quality jewelry. It reduces cost and makes sure production can be done in less time. To give you an example, nowadays lasers are frequently used for detailed and complex design or engraving work, to inscribe personalized messages on a piece of jewelry, or for cutting stones or improving their quality. Jewelers may also apply lasers to solder or weld various metals together and to avoid seams or blemishes. This improves the quality of jewelry as well as its appearance.

Where Do Jewelers Work?

There are manufacturing companies that use computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) programs to streamline the process of product design, and to automate steps in that process. With CAD (computer design), jewelers are able to create models of pieces of jewelry on a computer and see the effects of changing certain aspects such as the stone, the design, the setting, before they will cut a stone or perform some other costly actions. CAM computer-based manufacturing) allows them to create a mold of a certain piece, making the production of many copies a lot easier.

There are also jewelers who a CAD program to design custom-made pieces of jewelry. The customer can see the jeweler’s design on-screen and see the effects of various options and changes. It requires special skills to be successful in this profession.

Types of Jeweler

We can distinguish various types of jewelers, precious stone workers, and metal workers. The main categories are ‘Precious metal workers’, ‘Jewelry appraisers’, ‘Gemologists’, and ‘Bench jewelers’.

Precious metal workers generally work with and manipulate gold, silver, and some other precious metals using pliers and some other hand tools in order to manipulate and shape these metals. They also may be mixing alloy ingredients in accordance with chemical standards.

Jewelry appraisers examine pieces of jewelry to determine the quality and value and write official appraisal documents. They are able to determine the value by using reference books, by researching auction catalogs, checking price lists, and by studying the jewelry market and the internet. Jewelry appraisers are frequently employed by auction houses, jewelry stores, insurance companies, appraisal firms, or pawnbrokers.

Gemologists assess, analyze, or certify the quality, characteristics, or value of gemstones. They will write reports certifying that an item is of a certain quality or has a specific value, using computerized tools, microscopes, or other instruments for the examination of gemstones or any other piece of jewelry. Usually, gemologists have completed the Gemological Institute of America’s graduate program.

Bench jewelers generally are employed by jewelry retailers, and they may perform any task from repairing jewelry or making pieces or molds from scratch to performing tasks as simple jewelry cleaning.

Job outlook and wages

Over the next decade, the employment prospects of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers are expected to decline considerably. Job options will become less and less as more and more jewelry manufacturing takes place overseas, and the traditional jewelry store will see their customers move to some non-traditional retailers like department stores. In 2014, the median hourly wage of these professionals was around $18,50 and their average annual salary was around $39,450.