Job Description: Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers use a variety of common and specialized hand tools and equipment to design and manufacture new pieces of jewelry; cut, set, and polish gem stones; repair or adjust rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other jewelry; and appraise jewelry, precious metals, and gems.
Training and Educational Qualifications: Jewelers usually learn their trade in vocational or technical schools, through distance learning centers, or on the job. Colleges and art and design schools offer programs that can lead to the degrees of bachelor or master of fine arts in jewelry design. Formal training in the basic skills of the trade enhances one’s employment and advancement opportunities. Many employers prefer jewelers with design, repair, and sales skills.
Job Outlook: Employment of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers is expected to experience little or no change. Many employers have difficulty finding and retaining jewelers with the right skills and the necessary knowledge. Some technological advances have made jewelry making more efficient; however, many tasks cannot be fully automated.
Salary: Median annual earnings for jewelers and precious stone and metal workers are $29,750. The middle 50 percent earn between $22,390 and $40,160. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $17,760, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $54,940.
• About half of all jewelers are self employed
• Jewelers usually learn their trade in vocational or technical schools, through distance-learning centers, or on the job. Jewelry designers usually have degrees in design and in particular, jewelry design.
• Prospects for new jewelers should be excellent; many employers have difficulty finding and retaining workers with the right skills to replace those who retire or who leave the occupation for other reasons.
Which companies have the best internships in this field and are known to help launch successful careers?
Tiffany, Liz Claiborne, and small local businesses.
Where are the best cities to live to find jobs like yours?
New York is the place for corporate jobs, but smaller more art related jewelry jobs can be found in various parts of California, Massachusetts, Washington State and also abroad in Germany, London and Paris.
What is your typical day like?
I have several meetings throughout the day and lots of projects, deadlines, and waiting for approvals due to a very long list of chain of command. I work late often sometimes until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. or even midnight.
What are your job responsibilities?
Trend and color development. We work to create a “market message” and interpretation of current fashion trends appropriate for our brand. Doing that includes other aspects of my job such as sketching, research and development trips to China. I also manage freelancers and junior designers and communicate daily with the vice president, looping her into what’s going on and getting approvals. I initiate designs, finding the hot items and making sure we register them in our lines.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Color palette development, designing actual groups and attending design presentations.
What do you dislike about your job?
Chains of command and pointless meetings. Lack of trust from higher levels to empower people to make the right decisions.
How did you know you wanted to pursue this career?
I sort of fell into it when I was 14 years old and started the design school back in Croatia. All my friends wanted to be in the popular departments, such as painting and graphic design. I figured I should try something different.
Describe how you got into this industry and how you got your most recent job.
I moved to New York five days before September 11, 2001. I did not have a job or anything lined up, but I answered a few ads after that horrible day and started in a customer service position at a fine jewelry company. I found my most recent job through a posting on stylecareer. com, a Web site that is geared towards fashion positions. I applied and went on six interviews. Then I had to do a design project. After that, I was hired.
If you weren’t doing this job, what similar careers might you consider?
Architecture or shoe design.
To what professional associations do you belong and what professional publications do you read?
I attend Jewelry Design Professional Network (JDPN) presentations and I read Ganoskin, which is all about jewelry design
What advice do you have for others who would like to pursue this career?
There are many aspects of this career. I never thought that I would be working a corporate job, but I readily fell into it. You must be ready to try things and continue to challenge yourself. Always be open to trying/learning something new. It will keep you fresh and it will keep your views changing. Even when you must take the convoluted way to get to a point, embrace the process; the end result is that much more enjoyable.