Jeweler Job Description
Jewelers call upon their creativity and artistic ability to design jewelry. They use metals, gemstones, diamonds, and other materials to create a variety of pieces, such as necklaces, brooches, earrings, rings, and bracelets. Even though jewelers use time-honored tools to craft and repair jewelry, new technologies, such as design software, are also utilized. Some jewelers work for chain and private retail establishments, and many are self-employed. Most jewelers work full-time hours, and some, especially those employed by retail stores, may work nonstandard weekend and holiday hours to accommodate customer needs.
Jeweler Duties and Responsibilities
Generally, jewelers have a set of general tasks that they are expected to complete as part of their job. Based on our review of job listings, these core tasks are:
Design and Create Jewelry
Jewelers create models of jewelry using wax or computer-aided design software. They should have the knowledge to cast the models in metal, shape the metal to hold diamonds or gems, solder the metal together, and insert diamonds or gems.
Examine and Grade Diamonds and Gems
Knowing the four Cs – cut, color, clarity, and carat weight – for examining and grading diamonds and gemstones is a key duty of jewelers who are gemologists. Once gemologists have examined and graded a diamond, they write a report certifying its quality.
Clean and Polish Jewelry
Jewelers use various cleaning chemicals and polishing agents and tools to clean and polish various types of jewelry. Because some of the chemicals may be caustic, jewelers also need to know how to use cleaning chemicals safely.
Jewelers calculate the costs of labor and material for new parts and repairs to customers’ jewelry. They also successfully repair various styles of jewelry, including resetting stones.
Experienced jewelers determine the value of pieces of jewelry and write appraisals by researching the market and referring to relevant references, such as auction catalogs and jewelry reference books.
Jeweler Skills and Qualifications
Jewelers often handle caustic chemicals and lasers, so they must work carefully. Employers also seek applicants with these abilities:
- Attention to detail – jewelry and the pieces and parts that comprise it are often small and varied, so jewelers should have keen attention to detail
- Nearsightedness – because jewelers often work with small pieces or parts of jewelry, their vision should be excellent
- Manual dexterity – tasks such as repairing clasps, inserting stones, and soldering metal all require jewelers to be good with their hands
- Knowledge of jewelry trends – because jewelers are often responsible for designing and crafting jewelry, they should have knowledge of current jewelry trends
- Interpersonal skills – jewelers consult with customers in various ways – for design and repair requests as well as questions about specific pieces for sale
- Artistic ability – jewelers are often called upon to design and craft jewelry, so artistic ability is a must. Jewelers may also be asked to restyle pieces of jewelry, so they must be able to visualize how a piece would look with stones or rearranged pieces
Tools of the Trade
Jewelers frequently use the following tools and equipment in their work:
- Computer-aided design (CAD) software
- Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software
- Grading tools
Jeweler Education and Training
A high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum education requirement for most jewelers. Some trade or vocational schools offer programs lasting 90 days to a year that include courses on gems and metals, resizing and repairing jewelry, and using CAD software. On-the-job training for jewelers is also common. Prospective jewelers can work as a retail salesperson in a jewelry store or as a clerk in a jewelry repair shop and gain experience from a bench jeweler or gemologist.
Jeweler Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual salary for jewelers as $37,960, with a median hourly wage of $18.25. A jeweler in the 10th percentile earns approximately $22,240 a year (or $10.69 an hour), while the highest paid in the field make $65,140 a year ($31.32 hourly).
According to the BLS, 37,700 jewelers are employed in the United States. Projected employment growth for this sector is -7 percent through 2026.
Researching a career thoroughly is the best strategy to help you decide if it’s the right move for you. To help, we’ve provided some of the top industry resources for jewelers below:
Jewelers of America – founded in 1906 by jewelers to advance the professionalism and ethics of the industry, the organization still stands true to its original goals
American Gem Society – the AGS is a nonprofit trade association for jewelers that offers education, accreditation, gemological standards, and relevant research
The Jeweler’s Directory of Gemstones – written by Judith Crowe, expert gemstone dealer and designer, this guide with full-color photographs, informative text, and annotated drawings offers instruction on how to recognize different grades of stones
The Jeweler’s Bench Book – written by Charles Lewton-Brain, this book is full of reference information that will guide the reader in setting up a bench jeweler operation. Photos and information about working benches are included
Troubleshooting for Jewelers: Common Problems, Why They Happen and How to Fix Them – author Frieda Munro wrote this problem-solution guide as a comprehensive resource for jewelers. It includes 150 diagnostic charts for troubleshooting reference. Additionally, it details various tricky situations that beginning and intermediate jewelers might encounter, along with ways to solve them
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