The exact classes you will take in jewelry school vary depending on what institution you attend and in what type of program you enroll, so the examples below are meant to be just that – examples. However, if you are unsure about whether or not to attend jewelry school, you can get a better idea of what you will learn by reading about potential class types.
Business of Jewelry Design
Not everyone has the goal of being a self-employed business owner. But if you are interested in jewelry and also have a passion for business and management, it might be a good career choice for you. This is why some schools offer a “Business of Jewelry Design” or similar course that teaches students everything they need to know about owning and operating an independent jewelry store. You could also use the skills you gain to run a business from home or sell your designs online. Class time often focuses on different types of collections you could create and/or carry, such as fine jewelry, costume, and bridge collections.
Just about every design program in which you could enroll is going to offer a class on CAD, or computer-aided design. This is because the days when jewelers solely used wax models is gone, and a new age of technology and innovation has changed the way jewelers conceptualize their designs. The class will introduce students to multimedia computer tools that can be used for both design and presentation. You will be able to gain practical knowledge and get hands-on experience working with computers to create designs, execute sketches, draw line sheets, and prepare materials and color concepts. Because it is such an important skill to have, some schools offer multiple classes on CAD. In advanced courses students learn how to make more complex designs for jewelry that has gemstones. By the end of the class or series of classes you will have an understanding of all the major computer tools and techniques.
Jewelry making is at its core a creative endeavor, and so you will need to study creative concepts and have practice coming up with your own ideas. You might take multiple classes related to this topic, especially because it is so essential to your success. You will learn about the elements and principles of design, study global influences on jewelry, and learn about different media and techniques that you can employ in your own designs. You might even be tasked with a final project that allows you to actually design your own collection. You might also get a chance to study fields that often go hand in hand with design, such as sourcing, marketing, and merchandising.
Materials and Jewelry Manufacturing
If you want to be a bench jeweler, you should try to take a class about the different materials and manufacturing processes that go into fabricating jewelry pieces. This course, or a similar one, teaches students about the jeweler’s bench, the tools used in creating pieces, and different methods of jewelry making, as well as their outcomes. You might also learn basic jewelry terminology and learn how different tools and methods have their appropriate place in specific applications.