Do you wear jewelry? Next time you’re out and about try to observe the jewelry that people wear. Wearing jewelry is a fun way to express yourself. Did you know that the jewelry industry has a total value of $71.3 billion in the United States alone. It’s big business.
Jewelers design, create, repair, maintain, clean, and sell jewelry. Jewelry can take many forms – bracelets, charms, earrings, gemstones, necklaces, pendants, rings, or watches. It can be handmade or mass produced. There can be real or costume jewelry. It can be made out of gold, silver, shells, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, pearls, platinum, tungsten, or other valuable and exotic gemstones and minerals. The options are endless and that’s what makes jewelry so exciting.
Jewelers do many things. They may work with customers to find the perfect engagement ring, appraise a family heirloom, engrave meaningful words on a bracelet, grade the quality of rare stones, create jewelry designs on computers, reset gemstones in a pair of earrings, cut diamonds with high tech lasers, solder metal pieces together, cast shapes with molten metal, clean stains off dirty wedding bands, or enlarge rings with laser precision. To accomplish these tasks, they use tools like microscopes, soldering irons, molds, pliers, cutters, vises, and optical instruments. Both creativity and attention to detail are key components of jewelry careers.
Most jewelers specialize in a niche like jewelry appraisal, design, manufacturing, wholesale, repair, or retail. They may also establish themselves as experts in watchmaking, gemstones, handcrafts, diamonds, sterling silver, or gold. Depending on their speciality, jewelers can find work at jewelry manufacturing firms, design studios, retail stores, repair shops, or craft stores. Most entry-level jeweler jobs begin at retail stores like Zales, Tiffany & Co., Kay Jewelers, or other businesses. Jewelers across the country stay busy selling stunning diamond rings, timeless watches, and colorful necklaces for occasions like engagements, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas.
It’s hard to nail down exactly how much money jewelers make. Jeweler.org wrote a report that says many experienced jewelers will easily make six-figure annual incomes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most jewelers make $16.99 per hour or $35,350 per year. The BLS says that 32,700 people are employed in this industry and it is actually expected to decline by 2022. This may be because more jewelry sales are online.
To become a jeweler, you only need a high school diploma. Some jewelers earn a university degree in jewelry design. Most tend to learn the trade through on the job training, taking courses, or earn certifications from organizations like the Gemological Institute of America or Jewelers of America. Throughout training they will learn valuable jeweler skills like stone setting, metal smithing, gemology, presentation, repair, design software, glass working, and, of course, customer service.
Every piece of jewelry is meant to be unique. It can be a sign of everlasting love or a great conversation piece at your next job interview. If you were a jeweler, what would you create? A fashionable set of earrings, a fun charm bracelet, a romantic engagement ring, a religious necklace, an ornate stone fashion statement, or a turquoise gemstone pendant? There are so many options because jewelry is creative and cool. The jewelry industry is here to stay, so why not pursue a job or career in the exciting world of jewelry?
Quick Facts About Jeweler Careers
Job Title: Jeweler, Jewelry Designer, Jewelry Appraiser
Office: Jewelry studios, design studios, retail stores
Description: Design, create, repair, maintain, clean, and sell jewelry
Certifications/Education: No formal training required, Certifications are available
Necessary Skills: Creativity, Salesmanship, Attention to detail, Customer service
Potential Employers: Jewelry stores, design studios
Pay: $16.99 per hour or $35,350 per year, but varies depending on niche