What is a Jeweler?
A jeweler is an artisan who uses metals, gems, and other materials to create adornments like bracelets, earrings, rings, and necklaces. They might also be called upon to repair, adjust, clean, and appraise pieces of jewelry.
The history of jewelry making goes back thousands of years. In fact, there is evidence that the people of Africa were making jewelry as far back as 75,000 years ago. Throughout its long history, jewelry hasn't only been used as adornment or decoration. It's also been used as currency, and as protection against evil. Today, skilled jewelry artists have many career opportunities.
What does a Jeweler do?
Jewelry design is perhaps the most creative aspect of this career, and requires a great deal of imagination and artistic skill. But jewelry artists also make, repair, clean and restore jewelry pieces. Some also specialize in appraising jewelry, using a combination of research and direct evaluation to determine a piece's worth.
Many jewelry artists do most of their work at a workbench, using tools similar to those that jewelry crafters have been using for centuries to create and repair pieces of jewelry. However, many new technologies have found their way into the craft.
For example, lasers are often used to cut gems and engrave intricate designs into precious metals. And, with computer-aided design (CAD) technology, a model of a piece of jewelry can be created on a computer. This allows the creator to see how the piece will turn out before they waste valuable resources on what could be a flawed design.
What is the workplace of a Jeweler like?
While many jewelers are self-employed, others might work in retail stores, in jewelry repair shops, or in jewelry manufacturing plants. Those who work in retail jewelry stores often spend a lot of time interacting with customers, either helping them choose pre-made pieces, or taking orders and instructions for custom pieces. Jewelry store employees often earn a commission for each piece of jewelry they sell.
Those who work in repair shops usually spend a lot of time alone, with little or no supervision. While those who work in retail settings often have set schedules, they might also have to work during holidays, when customers often visit jewelry stores.
It is estimated that about 50% of all jewelry artists are self-employed. Self-employed jewelry artists are able to set their own work hours and often work from their own homes, where they have a workshop or studio. Self-employed jewelry makers often sell their wares at craft fairs and trade shows. Many have also started to sell their work online.
Some jewelers open jewelry stores of their own. While this is a competitive field, those who are able to build a solid reputation in the jewelry industry are often very successful as jewelry merchants.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to become a Jeweler?
There are several possible educational tracks to becoming a jeweler. All of them, however, start with high school and involve ongoing career-long learning. The length of time that it takes to become a jeweler will depend on the chosen learning track.
Aspiring jewelers able to secure an apprenticeship without any formal training may enter the field in relatively short order. Today, however, this route to the career is rare. It is more likely that employers will look for new-hires who have completed some related courses or an applicable six-month or one-year program at a vocational school or community college; or who have earned an Associate Degree in Jewelry Design from a university or art institute.
Prospective jewelers seeking a higher level of learning and those planning to operate an independent business may choose to earn a relevant four-year bachelor’s degree, such as a Bachelor's or Master's Degree in Fine Arts.
What are Jewelers like?
Based on our pool of users, jewelers tend to be predominately artistic people. As long as jewelers are imaginative, creative, and artistic, jewelry will remain a marketable product that consumers will seek to own.
Should I become a Jeweler?
You will be better equipped to answer this question if you first consider the following skills and abilities that jewelers typically possess:
An eye for detail
Designing, creating, appraising, repairing, and cleaning jewelry all require concentration and patience. The occupation calls for constant attention to detail.
Hand-eye coordination / Arm and hand steadiness and control / Manual dexterity
The work of jewelers is precise. It demands that they move their hands and fingers accurately and exactly to grasp, manipulate, and assemble very small pieces.
3-D visualization skills
The ability to imagine how a piece of jewelry might look once it is created or after its shape is altered or its parts are rearranged is invaluable to jewelers. It allows them to envisage a design in three dimensions.
Artistic ability and a knowledge of popular jewelry styles
These characteristics are important for jewelers who will be working with customers, analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design. Many bench jewelers, however, are not designers and simply execute designs conceived by others.
Some jewelry makers do not have direct contact with customers, particularly if they work for a design or retail firm that hires designers and sales associates for this role. However, considering the growth in popularity of customized pieces of jewelry, communication and interpersonal skills are becoming increasingly valued among jewelers, who are likely going to need to interact with both designers and customers to understand how they envision a custom design.
A strong sense of integrity and honesty
Jewelers are often entrusted with pieces of jewelry that are valuable either monetarily or sentimentally, or both. Trustworthiness and integrity are therefore especially important qualities in a jeweler.
A passion for your product will go a long way in bringing you success in the field. If you have a genuine interest in and appreciation for jewelry, gemstones, and precious metals, your passion will be evident to employers and to clients.
Consider, as well, both the satisfying and demanding aspects of this career:
- Creative work
- Precise, detailed work
- Pleasant working conditions
- Possibility of eye strain resulting from a lot of detailed work
- Concentration required due to often working with tiny objects
- Working alone
- Sitting for long periods of time; physical and mental strain
Anyone opting for a career as a jeweler should also be prepared to work with pliers, files, saws, hammers, torches, soldering irons, and a variety of other hand tools.
Are Jewelers happy?
Jewelers rank as moderately happy among careers. Overall they rank in the 61st percentile of careers for satisfaction scores. Please note that this number is derived from the data we have collected from our Sokanu members only.
It has been said that genuine happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others. This might, at least partially, explain the considerable happiness quotient of jewelers. Even though many jewelers work alone, the end product they deliver has the capacity to bring great satisfaction to the customers and designers that commission their work and, by extension, to themselves as well.
Jewelers are also known as:
Bench Jeweler Retail Jeweler Jeweller Jewelry Designer Jewelry Maker Jewelry Repairer