Jewellery Designers design, manufacture, and often make jewellery using specialized equipment and a variety of materials, including gold, silver, and precious stones, gems, and crystals. Most Jewellery Designers are self-employed, although they may work for jewellery manufacturing companies or retail stores.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Jewellery Designers are required to complete.
- Designing jewellery using various techniques and computer programs, such as 3D-modelling, computer-aided design (CAD), 3D construction, and other similar techniques:
- Sketching, creating, and drawing designs or models using CAD programs or more traditional methods.
- Creating and fabricating precious and semi-precious jewellery, such as rings, brooches, earrings, pendants, bracelets, and lockets, using a variety of materials:
- Carving wax or shaping cheaper metal to make a model;
- preparing molds to cast metal;
- examining, cutting, shaping, and polishing precious, semi-precious, and synthetic stones, gems, and crystals, using optical instruments, lathes, and laps;
- making the framework for the piece of jewellery, which involves handling, forming, and drilling metal, as well as opening holes in which to place the selected gems;
- setting and mounting precious and semi-precious stones, gems, and crystals;
- welding, stamping, chasing, and engraving different metals, such as gold, silver, steel, among others; and
- polishing the piece once it’s finished, prior to delivery.
- Repairing different pieces of jewellery:
- Adjusting ring sizes;
- welding broken pieces back together;
- resetting stones; and
- fixing or replacing broken mountings or clasps.
- Liaising with existing and prospective customers to talk about their desires and requirements:
- Discussing the precise specifications and requirements for the jewellery that the customer wants designed;
- presenting sample designs and ideas to the customer; and
- recommending several options or alternatives.
- Building a network of customers, vendors, and suppliers:
- Boosting their reputation by entering competitions and attending craft and trade fairs, as well as consulting with galleries and store buyers.
- Keeping up-to-date on the latest market trends and techniques, as well as finding the best quality materials:
- Exploring and evaluating new and emerging trends by going to stores, scouring the internet and magazines, and traveling to trade fairs or shows.
- Organizing, procuring, and maintaining materials.
- Using a variety of materials to design and create accessories for the ears, neck, hands, fingers, feet, and toes.
- Mounting, casting, stamping, chasing, setting stones, and polishing different pieces of jewellery.
- Repairing and appraising jewellery.
- Meeting with the client to discuss their desires and requirements.
- Building a network of clients, vendors, and suppliers.
- Keeping up-to-date on the latest trends.
The average Jewellery Designer salary is $48,331 per year or $25 per hour. This is around 1.5 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $34,000 while most experienced workers make up to $68,000. These results are based on 4 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Creative thinking and innovative vision:
- Producing new and original ideas that fit in the current market.
- Outstanding commercial awareness and excellent negotiating skills.
- Exceptional knowledge of metals and precious stones, crystals, and gems.
- Interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, especially verbally, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with clients; and
- displaying strong customer service skills in order to comply with the clients’ requirements.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Having strong multitasking skills; and
- having time management and prioritization skills in order to satisfy the demand and comply with different deadlines.
- Self-motivated and willing to work independently.
- Dexterity to work with delicate materials and tools, extensive attention to detail, good hand-eye coordination, concentration, and patience.
- Trustworthy and honest enough to handle precious and expensive materials.
Although Jewellery Designers typically learn their trade through on-the-job training and apprenticeships, technical and trade schools are very popular options for aspiring Jewellery Designers to learn their skills. Some specializations or degrees required to become a Jewellery Designer might include Jewellery Design and Production, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Silversmithing, and Applied Arts. Taking courses in CAD programs and 3D-modelling can be a great advantage for any candidate looking to enter this profession.
Due to the fact that this career is mainly driven by individual talent and creativity, building a great portfolio, developing technical skills, and mastering the necessary skills of the trade are more important than having an academic background.
Work experience and commercial acumen are crucial to progress in this career and will help the candidate build up a network of industry contacts. Networking can also be done while attending craft and trade fairs; it’s very important for Jewellery Designers to get the word out there about their business and work.
Most Jewellery Designers build their careers as freelancers or start their own business. They have the option of selling their designs to manufacturing companies, where they will probably be mass produced, or they can design and make their own jewellery to sell through craft shops, galleries, personal clients, and online retailers.