Become a jewelry maker


Wondering if you should be a jeweler? If so, start thinking about if you would enjoy fulfilling these responsibilities, if you are interested in any of the listed professions, and if you could accommodate the necessary work schedule.

Job Responsibilities

Your main responsibility as a jeweler will be to design, sell, and manufacturer jewelry items such as rings, necklaces, and earrings. You will also repair damaged items, and you might appraise precious stones and gems that are brought into your shop. This includes both examining and grading items such as diamonds. You will use metals like gold and silver, as well as precious stones such as rubies or emeralds, to create pieces of jewelry. You will have to shape the metal into the right positions and create spaces for the precious stones you will inlay. You might use wax models to help in your design or use special computer programs before you cast the metal. You will solder pieces together, insert stones, smooth rough spots and joints so that everything is polished, and use chemical baths and polishing wheels to keep jewelry looking clean. You might do repairs such as fixing broken clasps, resetting stones, or adjusting ring sizes. At the end of your repairs, or when you finish making new pieces, you will have to figure out the costs of your labor plus repairs so that you know how much to charge customers.

Different Specialties You Could Have

Becoming a jeweler isn’t as simple as just finding a job in a jewelry store. You have to decide what exactly you want to do. For example, you could be a precious metal worker and work mostly with metals like gold and silver to bend it into shape. You will have to have some knowledge of chemistry, as you may mix different alloy ingredients based on their properties. You could also be a gemologist, which is a person who examines and certifies characteristics and qualities of gems, such as sapphires and topaz. They use grading instruments, microscopes, and computer programs to help them decide the quality of different stones. You could also be a jewelry appraiser, which means you decide on how much different pieces are worth. Most people in this profession work at jewelry stores, insurance companies, appraisal firms, pawnbrokers, or auction houses. Lastly, you could be a bench maker, which means that you work store doing simple cleaning and repairs, although you may make some pieces from scratch.

Work Environment and Schedule

About a third of jewelers work in jewelry stores. Smaller percentages work in jewelry manufacturing, for merchant wholesalers, or for personal goods repair and maintenance companies. Most people in the profession sit at work benches and use computers to help them create pieces. Many jewelers have varied hours, and if you become self-employed you can set your own schedule. A lot of people work weekends to take their pieces to trade shows, and those who work in retail may need to work evenings and weekends. Only 20% of jewelers work part time.


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