What Does A Jeweler Do?
We like to think of jewelers as artists! Creating rings, bracelets, earrings and more from various metals and gems are a large part of what a jeweler does. A jeweler may also be needed to make repairs to existing jewelry for customers.
There are also different types of jewelers that specialize in certain areas including:
- Bench Jewelers – will usually do a variety of work including cleaning, repairs, engraving, stone setting and more. They may also be called goldsmiths, metalsmiths or silversmiths.
- Gemologists – they analyze gemstones to determine the quality, characteristics and values. This may require the use of computerized tools or microscopes and will ultimately result in the writing of certificates to validate the quality. This level typically requires passing the Graduate Gemologist program.
- Jewelry Designers – will create designs for new jewelry pieces which requires prototyping and model-making. Often designers will have attended some type of art school.
- Appraisers – examine jewelry to determine what the value of the piece is and then creates certificates of authenticity and value for owners. This type of work requires research both online and in print to determine values. Jobs can be in auction houses, jewelers, pawnbrokers or even for insurance agents.
How To Become A Jeweler
If you are looking to become a jeweler, we highly recommend a combination of earning a certificate in jewelry making as well as an apprenticeship to help you be the best you can be.
1. High School or GED
Jewelers will require at least a high school diploma or GED to get into a trade program or art school to learn to become a jeweler. If you are currently in high school, then courses in math, communications and visual arts would definitely be recommended.
2. Education and/or Apprenticeship
It is recommended that you complete both, a jeweler training program and apprenticeship to help you improve your career opportunities.
Certifications & Licenses
Getting a license or certification is optional but is recommended. Some of the more popular certifications include:
American Gem Society: Registered Jeweler, Certified Gemologist, Certified Gemologist Appraiser
Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser, Certified Sales Associate
Jewelers of America: Management Professional, Sales Professional, Bench Professional
Recommended Skills For A Jeweler
Jewelers are typically creative types who love to use their hands and imagination to build beautiful things. They may spend a little more time alone than some other careers so if you are a social butterfly it may not be the best option.
If you want to go into jewelry design or help clients transform their jewelry, having an artistic ability will be needed.
Jewelers deal with some very high priced items so honesty and integrity are a critical part to career success.
Working with small pieces and tools can be hard sometimes. Having patience in working with these tools and tiny pieces is going to be needed.
Having a great eye for detail is critical to be successful. Working with large and small pieces will be a common daily task.
A steady hand for control and precision is important to be able to grasp tools and small parts.
Depending on the path you take you may need to work with clients. This will require people skills to keep them happy and coming back!
Pros & Cons Of Being A Jeweler
With every job their are pros and cons and jewelers are no different. Below are some of the high points and low points if this is a career you are considering.
- Easy career to get into
- Opportunity to be self-employed
- Physical labor not required
- Ability to be creative
- The need for jeweler’s is declining
- Salary is less than many other careers
- Low level of job security
- Working with clients can be demanding
Median Salary For A Jeweler
The median salary for a jeweler is $41,990 meaning half of all jewelers make more and half make less than this amount.
Career Outlook For Jewelers
Employment of jewelers is expected to show a decrease of about 10% through 2029, meaning there will be less opportunity.
The decrease in employment is expected due to the increased importing of jewelry and the loss of customers by traditional jewelry stores to department stores and online retail.
Those who are interested can look into creating their own brand of jewelry, but that comes with a lot of challenges to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions
Jewelry programs at most vocational or trade schools last from six months to one year.
The median pay for a jeweler is currently $41,990. How much you can make as a jeweler depends on your experience, education and career path you take.
*Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics