How to Become a Jeweler
Jeweler Job Description
Skills and Qualities of a Jeweler
Jeweler Salaries
Influential Professional Jewelers
Leading Jeweler Organizations
Top Cities for Jeweler Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Jeweler

A Jeweler typically learns their craft on the job or by taking courses at a vocational technical schoo. Formal training enhances employment and career opportunities. Jewelers interested in working in a repair shop or retail jewelry outlet should take one of these types of courses to gain basic to intermediate knowledge of the field. Courses may take anywhere from six months to one year and wilteach students how to identify and operate various tools and equipment, different types of gem stones and settings, stone polishing and cutting and repair techniques. Students, particularly those in the repair industry, may also be expected to study shop theory and take advanced math courses.

Many professionals gained their knowledge of the jewelry industry through college courses such as fine arts. Degrees applicable to the field are a bachelor of fine arts degree or master of fine arts degree, with an emphasis on jewelry design. Various colleges and universities also offer coursework in gemology. Gemologists must have a good knowledge of gemstones from identification to grading the cut, color, clarity and carat of various gems including diamonds.

Jewelers may receive one or more of four certificates issued by the Jewelers of America Association. Among these are Certified Bench Jeweler Technician and Certified Master Bench Jeweler. While certification is not necessary in the jewelry industry, it may improve your career prospects.

What does a Jeweler do?

There are different aspects to the jewelry industry. For example, one person may be a gemologist while another may specialize in jewelry design or repair. Below are the main areas of the jewelry industry and their duties:

Jewelry Designer: A Jewelry designer may be responsible for creating a new piece of jewelry, from a bracelet to a necklace, to earrings based on an artist's concept or the specific requirements of a client. In this particular part of the industry a designer would be required to be familiar with various tools and equipment used in making jewelry including specialized hand tools, polishing materials and a wide array of tools used for metal working and setting stones.

Bench Jeweler: A bench jeweler is one that typically performs a wide range of tasks in a manufacturing or retail setting. They are often required to clean jewelry, make repairs, or mold pieces from a concept or client request. Bench jewelers may be required to solder or fuse metals and settings and set stones. They may also be engravers, etchers and gem polishers. Duties vary depending on training, both formal and on the job, as well as education. One may be certified as a bench jeweler or a master bench jeweler.

Jewelry Repair: Workers involved in jewelry repair are often called upon to fix many different issues with existing pieces, including watches, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, cuff links etc. Some of the repairs may include replacing or repairing broken mounts or clasps, creating new settings, resetting stones, adjusting or repairing settings, resizing rings and replacing lost or broken stones. Jewelers in the repair industry may be called upon to fashion new settings or to make recommendations on replacement items and their value.

Jewelry Appraiser: A jewelry appraiser must have an advanced knowledge of gems of all kinds as well as settings and current market value. Pieces are priced by type, style and condition. Appraisers must first determine the quality of the piece before consulting various reference materials such as auction catalogs, the Internet, reference books and price lists. The price may depend on a number of factors such as the age of the piece or where it came from, also known as provenance. Jewelry with a verifiable provenance, such as pieces belonging to particular estates or celebrities, will be worth more than the average piece. Appraisers are often gemologists who work for retail jewelry stores, insurance companies, pawnbrokers, appraisal companies and auction houses. Appraisers are also required to grade the jewelry and be able to document all details as well as sale agreements. Appraisers may also be called upon to decide where to sell the pieces if that is the intention of the client.

Gemologist: A gemologist is a person with an advanced knowledge of all gemstones including their characteristics and value. Gemologists are often called upon to identify, analyze, grade, describe and certify the quality and value of each stone. Gemologists use a variety of tools and equipment including specialized computer programs, computerized tools, microscopes and grading instruments. Many jewelers may study to be gemologists in order to be able to identify the type and quality of the stones they work with on a daily basis.

Although there are many different aspects to the industry, all jewelers must possess advanced skills, be able to work with precision and pay close attention to detail.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Jeweler?

The Jeweler must have the ability to perform close, delicate and precise work. Among the necessary skills are:
  • finger and hand dexterity
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • patience
  • strong concentration skills
  • Artistic ability
  • fashion consciousness
  • possess good communication skills
  • have good moral character due to high value products
  • strong gemology knowledge
  • advanced knowledge of jewelry styles and settings

How much do Jewelers make?

The median annual income for both hourly and salaried Jewelers was $29,750. The lowest reported income was $17,760; the highest reported income was over $54,940.

Typically, a Jeweler's entry level salary starts out as a basic wage. As the Jeweler increases in skill and proficiency, the pay may be based on piece-work. Jewelers working in retail stores typically earn a commission for each piece of jewelry sold.
Jeweler Salary | More details for Jeweler Jobs | Salary

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Harry Winston
Louis-Francois Cartier
Laurence Graff

What are some leading organizations in this field?

American Gem Society
Americas Jewelers Association
Jewelers Association of America

What are the top cities for Jeweler jobs?

The cities that represent the best career opportunities for Jewelers are:

Seattle, WA
New York, NY
Irving, TX
Hyde Park, MA
Chicago, IL

One could assume any large metropolitan area would employ top notch Jewelry designers.

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