How to Become a Jewelry Maker

Learn how to become a jewelry maker. Research the educational requirements, the training, the key skills and the salary to see if this might be a career fit for you. Schools offering Jewelry Design & Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Jewelry makers often use metals, precious stones and other materials to craft jewelry. A high school diploma is typical, as many people learn the trade on the job or through an apprenticeship from a more experienced jeweler. Others can go to a trade school to learn the profession. For a brief overview of the career, take a look at the chart below.

Education Recommended High school diploma
Training Extensive on-the-job training
Key Skills Dexterity, artistic eye, detail-oriented
Job Outlook (2016-2026) -7% (for all jewelers and precious stone and metal workers)*
Median Salary (2017) $37,960 per year (for all jewelers and precious stone and metal workers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Typical Day-to-Day Duties of Jewelry Makers?

Jewelry makers come up with designs for rings, necklaces, bracelets and other pieces of jewelry, and then use metals, gems and other materials to bring their designs to life. Some use computer-aided design (CAD) to visualize and automate the process (to a degree) while others use old-world techniques like stone cutting, metalworking and hand engraving. Jewelry makers may also do resizing and repairs of existing jewelry.

What Education Do You Need to Become One?

There's no set-in-stone requirement as far as education, but having at least a high school diploma is recommended. Some trade schools and technical colleges offer courses on jewelry making. Coursework may include everything from learning CAD and understanding design principles to an introduction of gems and working with metal. Having some training in jewelry-making basics might make prospective applicants more attractive to employers, but many jewelry makers learn their craft by doing on-the-job training. Typically, this training takes at least a year to complete.

Where Do Jewelry Makers Work?

Some jewelry makers might work in a retail store, answering customers' questions and designing pieces in a workshop on the premises. Others have a home studio where they craft jewelry and sell it through an online retailer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30% of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers were self-employed in 2017 with another 21% working in the jewelry manufacturing trade. A majority worked full-time.

How Much Can You Make as a Jeweler?

Your salary as a jewelry maker can depend on a range of factors. Some create and sell their own jewelry online or at trade shows, so pay depends on moving the product. Others work in retail stores where they see a commission for their work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median salary for all jewelers and precious stone and metal workers in 2017 was $37,960.

What's the Job Outlook for Jewelry Making?

More and more, jewelry is imported from other countries where manufacturing costs are much lower. According to the BLS, this is going to hurt employment numbers in the coming years. In fact, the BLS projects a decline in employment in the field of 7% between 2016 and 2026. By comparison, the average growth for all occupations is expected to be +7%. Also, competition is expected to increase, so jewelry makers with extensive experience or education in the field should do the best.

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