Become a Jewelry Repair Technician in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become a jewelry repair technician. Learn about job duties, education requirements and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Jewelry Design & Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Jewelry Repair Technician Do?

Jewelry repair technicians fix jewelry that has been damaged or broken. They use a variety of tools, such as lasers or pliers, to complete repairs. Repairs may involve resetting loose stones or gems, smoothing rough edges, altering the size of the piece, replacing clasps or polishing scratched areas. If needed, jewelry repair technicians can shape metal to hold stones more effectively and/or solder pieces together. They often give customers an estimate for the cost of labor and repair on each piece. Some jewelry repair technicians may wish to become qualified to appraise jewelry or practice creating their own pieces of jewelry to sell. Read over the chart below for a quick overview of this career.

Degree Required High school diploma or equivalent
Training Required Long-term on-the-job training
Key Responsibilities Repair damaged jewelry, evaluate the condition of damaged jewelry, evaluate repair quality
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024) -11% (for all jewelers and precious stone and metal workers)*
Median Salary (2015) $37,060 (for all jewelers and precious stone and metal workers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Jewelry Repair Technician?

A jewelry repair technician, also known as a bench jeweler, is a specialist who restores damaged rings, bracelets, earrings and other personal ornaments to their original or near-original condition. Tools you might use include ball peen hammers, pliers and wire cutters, as well as more complex devices, such as lasers, torches and chemical baths. Your duties during a repair might include evaluating the state of damaged jewelry pieces; selecting replacement gems, metals and other materials; creating models from plaster, clay or wax; drilling holes and soldering joints; trimming and polishing rough areas; and assessing repair quality.

Step 1: Prepare in High School

Courses in art, chemistry and mathematics are relevant if you want to start acquiring skills needed by repair technicians. Mechanical drawing and computer-aided design training could be helpful as well. You'll need a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development) credential for admission to any postsecondary program.

Step 2: Consider Earning a Certificate or Degree

While you do have the option to learn on the job, you could seek formal training through a community or technical college. Figures from O*Net OnLine show that about 33% of bench jewelers have some college education as of 2015. Options include associate's degree programs in jewelry and metals and certificate programs in jewelry repair and bench technology. Courses in these programs could teach you soldering and casting methods, plating and surface treatment. Academic content is extensively supplemented with labs, in which you would work directly with precision tools and metals. Some programs are dedicated to jewelry repair, but many address both jewelry making and repair.

Step 3: Obtain a Job

Figures for jewelry repair technicians weren't available, but in the related category of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that about 39,800 people held jobs in 2014 ( A majority of these workers were self-employed. Employment for jewelers and precious metal workers was projected to decrease 11% between 2014 and 2024. This is due to the outsourcing of jewelry manufacturing. Jewelry retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers are your potential employers. Demand for your repair services should hold up well during a recession because people may choose to fix the jewelry they have rather than buy new pieces. However, you should still expect keen competition for positions.

Step 4: Consider Certification

After gaining work experience, you might seek one or more of four certifications offered by the Jewelers of America ( Each has an associated exam consisting of written and practical tests. You could earn the Certified Bench Jeweler Technician (CBJT) designation if you have one year of experience or the Certified Bench Jeweler (CBJ) designation with two years of experience. If you can demonstrate mastery of the skills tested in the CBJT and CBJ and competence in advanced skills, you could earn the Certified Senior Bench Jeweler (CSBJ) designation. The Certified Master Bench Jeweler (CMBJ) designation is the highest level of certification you can receive, and it requires mastery of skills at all levels.

Step 5: Advance Your Career

You can seek a high-level position with your employer or establish your own business. Either approach will depend on your initiative and talent. Knowledge of sales, marketing and business management is essential if you open your own business; the relationships you build and reputation you establish are important as well.

If you work for a manufacturer, you could become a head jeweler or master jeweler. In a retail establishment, you could become a manager. Some colleges offer bachelor's degree programs related to jewelry design. You could earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Metalwork and Jewelry Design or a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in jewelry design. Bachelor's degree programs could help you enhance your technical and design skills and provide training in advanced casting, fabrication and surface processing techniques.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers, as well as woodworkers, have related alternative careers that require a high school diploma or equivalent. However, many of these workers need to undergo extensive on-the-job training, particularly if they don't have technical training or some background in their chosen discipline. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers work with metal products. They are capable of cutting, joining or filling pieces of metal using a variety of equipment. Woodworkers use wood to create a wide array of products, such as furniture and decorative pieces.

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