A jeweler has a specialized area of work, but they are involved in numerous aspects of the jewelry profession, from manufacture, design, sales, appraisal, and repair. If a jeweler is not employed at a retail shop, they are often self-employed and may work from home, spending weekends at trade and craft shows to sell their jewelry. Other jewelers may work in manufacturing plants or shops that specialize in repair and adjustments.
Watch a video to learn what a jeweler does.
How to Become a Jeweler
Jewelers typically require a high school diploma or the equivalent as many jewelers receive on-the-job training. The length of training depends on the difficulty of the specialty. There are trade schools that have courses that provide additional education on computer-aided design (CAD), gems and metals, and repair.
Some courses teach design setting, casting, and polish as well as the care of tools and equipment of the jewelry trade. These programs may be advantageous for seeking employment as they last 6 months to 1 year and employers favor candidates that require less on-the-job training.
Job Description of a Jeweler
Tasks of jewelers vary depending on the specialized area they work in. For example, some may be precious metal workers, gemologists, jewelry appraisers, and bench jewelers. However, all typically use precious metals and stones to create jewelry. They need to grade and examine gems and diamonds along with polish and cleaning jewelry using special tools and methods like polishing wheels and chemical baths.
For clients, they may repair jewelry, reset stones, and alter ring sizes. To create jewelry, they may shape metal to hold gems in place and may solder pieces together and insert stones. They cast new pieces in metal after modeling them with carved wax or using computer-aided design. Jewelers and metal workers determine labor and material costs for repairs or the cost of new jewelry.
How to Become a Gemologist
Though a gemologist may have the skills that a jeweler has, they specialize in precious stones and gems and are not generally working in the front of a jewelry store interacting with customers. These professionals are often inspecting gems and stones for imperfections using magnifying equipment to appraise the value of the item and ensure its authenticity (and not made in a lab).
Employers will look for candidates that have a high school diploma and some trade education in the field. Experience in a related field is important so apprenticing with a jeweler or gemologist is critical. There are formal training programs as well, such as the prestigious GIA Graduate Gemologist program. This program trains students on diamonds and colored stones and will give you the experience to evaluate gemstones by the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat weight).
Gem and Diamond Worker Career Video Transcript
Whether it’s creating a diamond wedding ring or making a one-of-a-kind necklace, jewelers create wearable art. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers design and make jewelry, and often sell it as well. They also repair older jewelry, and may appraise the value of both gems and jewelry.
- Precious metal workers use hand tools to shape gold, silver, and other metals.
- Gemologists use microscopes and computerized tools to examine gemstones or finished pieces and certify their quality.
- Jewelry appraisers research the jewelry market using reference books, auction catalogs, price lists, and the Internet to determine the value of jewelry, and then write appraisal documents. They may work for jewelry stores, appraisal firms, auction houses, pawnbrokers, or insurance companies.
- Bench jewelers usually work for jewelry retailers, doing tasks ranging from simple jewelry cleaning and repair to making molds and pieces from scratch.
Many jewelers and precious stone and metal workers are self-employed, selling products at trade and craft shows or online. Others work in jewelry stores, repair shops, and manufacturing facilities. Most have varied schedules, and spend much of their time at a workbench. Although high school education and on-the-job training are typical paths to enter these fields, taking classes at a technical school may improve employment prospects.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers.
National Center for O*NET Development. 51-9071.06 and 51-9071.01. This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. RethinkOldSchool, Inc. has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.