Jewelry designers work with clients and companies to repair or create new fashions in jewelry. They are able to create new styles of jewelry such as rings, earrings and bracelets or to repair existing ones. Jewelry designers may also shape and polish stones or prepare metals necessary in the creation process. Jewelry that is later attached to cups, plate ware or other decorative uses may also be designed by those within this field.
The salary a jewelry designer earns will vary depending on the type of work performed. On average, someone in the field of jewelry design would earn approximately $44,000 annually. Those who work as retail jewelry assistants might make significantly lower annual salaries compared to those who work for private retailers. Those who work on a freelance basis may earn higher or lower as they may be able to set their wages per work order. Wages for those who work with companies to design jewelry may earn up to $55,000 or more per year.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
A number of positions exist within the field of jewel design ranging from jewelry assistants, who help clients choose jewelry that fits their needs to interactive designers who are responsible for the creation of new styles of jewelry. Bridal jewelry designers may be employed by jewelry companies or may work independently on a per client basis. Some jewelry designers may work their own hours, creating jewelry and selling it freelance through various mediums. Jewelry created may be sold at craft fairs, local retailers or through online stores on an independent basis.
Other positions within jewelry design include jewelry repair and jewelry reconstruction. Those who work in jewelry repair may be employed by companies to reset or replace stones that have become damaged or lost, restore metal prongs that may have bent or re-size jewelry. Often this type of work is called jewelry bench work and may be also include work on other items that have a jeweled or ornate appearance that needs to be repaired.
Jewelry repair and design is a field that nearly always has a solid flow of demand as jewelery is always in demand whether for repairs or bridal sets. Jewelers may find employment through private companies such as dedicated jewelry stores, work freelance or even for top design companies in order to create new styles.
Advancement within this field is largely dependent upon skill and whether appropriate apprenticeship has been completed and the initiative shown by the jeweler. Those who have demonstrated their skill may often go on to open their own business in either repair or design or may advance to higher positions within the company. In some cases it may be difficult to advance as the positions are often held for long periods of time. Often positions open when the jewelry designer retires or moves on to another company. This is not always the case but it can be a concern for those starting out as the growth within some design companies may be slower than within other fields, often leading to aspiring jewelery designers forming their own companies or working on a freelance basic.
Training and Education Requirements
The training necessary to become a jewelry designer may vary depending upon the place of employment. Those who work freelance may be self-taught or have taken courses in jewelry making in order to refine their skills while those who seek employment with private companies may be required to have formal education. Formal education for designers can be found through some technical, trade or colleges and may teach a range of skills including metal blending and shaping, stone cutting and concept design.
Other skills necessary for jewelry design include excellent manual dexterity, good vision and a creative touch when working with new designs. Those who work from premade design templates must be able to follow the template accurately when working with precious metals or stones in order to not destroy them. These skills are most often honed during the apprenticeship portion of training.
Certifications for jewelry can be attained through an accredited school and may recognize various achievements within the field. There are several ways to attain certification from Jewelers of America that include bench worker up to master bench worker in the field of jewelry design. Both a written and practice exam is issued before certification can be granted to the aspiring jewelry designer.
Associations within jewelry design varies and includes both local and national or international groups. Some associations may be tailored to helping minority groups within the field advance, groups that cater to women or other special groups in order to not only maintain good communication but share ideas or techniques. Those who attain certification may be able to find associations readily through established channels within the community. These associations may be used to keep current on trends and techniques within the jewelry design field and can also help keep members informed of new positions that may have become available.