A jeweler has a specialized area of work, but they are involved in the manufacture, design, and selling of jewelry. In addition, they appraise jewelry and gems, as well as repair and adjust jewelry. Many jeweler and metal workers are self-employed and work from home and spend weekends at trade and craft shows to sell their products. Those that are employed, work in manufacturing plants, repair shops, and jewelry stores.
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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 speciality. 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 requires less on-the-job training.
The Gemological Institute of America (link opens in a new window) graduates many gemologists and they usually require a high school diploma or the equivalent.
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.
Jeweler 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. 51-9071.01. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.