Jewelry design, fabrication, and repair is a complicated profession that involves a lot of technical knowledge and expertise. For that reason, some schools separate classes into different programs that specialize in a specific subset of the industry. There are a lot of careers out there related to jewelry, and you could find the right path for you by taking courses in gemology, jewelry, or design.
Gemology is the study of precious gems and stones such as diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and pearls. If you decide to earn a degree in gemology, you could work as a jewelry business owner, a gem buyer, a lab professional, an appraiser, a diamond manufacturer, an instructor, a loose stone dealer, or a jewelry specialist at an auction house. School programs train their students to evaluate stones on the “4C’s” of carat weight, clarity, cut, and color. You will also learn about the Colored Stone Grading System and the International Diamond Grading System. You will learn how to use equipment such as microscopes, refractometers, and polariscopes to assess stones, and you will also get practice identifying hundreds of different types of gems. Specifically, you will learn how to detect simulants and synthetics and how to trace to path of a gem from the mine to the marketplace.
Going to a jewelry program allows you to learn about gems as well as precious metals so that you can find a job selling, repairing, or fabricating them. Popular career paths include jewelry store owner, gem buyer, appraiser, staff gemologist, bench jeweler, instructor, and researcher. You could also work in fine jewelry consulting or executive management. In an educational program of this type you will get practice working at your own work bench as you create beautiful pieces of jewelry. You’ll learn how to work with different metals to make and repair jewelry as well as how to use the equipment and tools common to many jewelry stores. You will also study different settings, mounting styles, and shapes of stone. You must also be taught different aspects of jewelry manufacturing as well as styles, engineering, and quality assurance. You will learn how to operate prototype equipment, how to do metalworking such as soldering and finishing, and how to spot manufacturing defects.
If you want to be a jeweler and are artistic, creative, and fashionable, you might consider a design program. You can take classes that teach you how to take your ideas for pieces and transform them into a reality. After graduation you could get a job as a buyer, a designer, a jeweler, a product developer, a manufacturer, or a CAD/CAM technician. In class you will learn about the concepts and theories behind design, common manufacturing processes, and the techniques you need to identify and troubleshoot problems throughout the development process. You will also learn how to lay out designs in CAD and how to use CAM machines to construct prototypes. You might take art classes that teach you how to illustrate shapes as well as the texture of metal, how to render pearls and gems, and how to utilize drafting techniques.