Jewellery Designer

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Jewellery Designer


Jewelry has played an important part in human cultures for thousands and thousands of years. Our ancestors were adorning themselves with colored feathers, bones and stones and as our technology and materials changed so did the jewelry that we wear. Jewelry designers have been making jewelry out of beads, bone, feathers, metals, and stones for eons. They are talented, trained, and skilled artisans who create wearable, functional art.

Jewelry designers can work on their own, creating imaginative pieces to sell in boutiques, at fairs, and through jewelry stores, or they work on staff with a manufacturing company, creating designs and fashioning jewelry for mass production and sale. Those who work independently have greater freedom, in that they can create work on commission for individual clients, according to the clients' tastes, personalities, and wallets, as well as create work to sell according to their own tastes and preferences. The drawback is the freedom goes along with job uncertainty, and there are and no fringes like benefits and paid vacation days.

However they choose to work, a jewelry designer must start each project according to a plan. They make sketches and design choices according to the specifications of their client, the senior artists, or their own ideas and dreams. This can involve a lot of discussion, especially if the piece is to be a one-of-a-kind creation. After making scale drawings, computer designs, and wax models, jewelry designers fashion elegant, diamond encrusted brooches, quirky glass bead bracelets, and simple, delicate chokers in varying styles and price ranges. Often, jewelry designers will work within traditions taken from their own culture, like creating fish hook pendants in the style of the Maori people, or dreamcatcher earrings inspired by Ojibway and Mik'maq cultures.

Jewelry designers pride themselves on unique and innovative creations. Chances are that their designs will never make it to the Oscars, but if they are doing what they love, learning new techniques, and pushing the boundaries in this world of "wearable art", jewelry designers should be happy with their chosen career.
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  Interests and Skills  
Interested in becoming a jewelry designer? They are creative, and driven to create art. Jewelry designers need good manual dexterity, steady hands and a flair for design. They need confidence in their abilities, talents, and strengths. Jewelry designers are innovative thinkers who enjoy trying new things. It is a good idea for designers to have some business sense, especially if they would like to make this their career.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Consult with supervisor, head designer, or client about piece
  • Research current trends, historical and cultural traditions
  • Sketch ideas and plans for each creation
  • Use various techniques to create various types of jewelry
  • Manage a shop or online business
  • They typical day for a jewelry designer involves meeting with clients, creating sketches and drawing up plans for the item. More time is spent preparing for the actual design than making it. When jewelry designers actually get down to it, and begin making the objects, the hours can be long, and quick, accurate work is crucial. Jewelry designers may travel around the world to exhibitions, festivals, and schools to sell their work, conduct seminars, and for research, to learn about new techniques and ancient jewelry making traditions.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Jewelry designers work alone, in home studios, or they work for large jewelry companies, in studios and design offices belonging to their employer. When working for themselves, jewelry designers can set their own hours, and may find themselves hard at work in the evenings, on weekends, or in the middle of the night when they are trying to establish themselves, complete a piece before a deadline, or to accommodate clients.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Jewelry designers can hopefully gain enough success to enable them to work as an artist full-time, with their own shop or boutique. They can learn international jewelry arts, and apply this knowledge to their own work. They can also branch out into other crafts, like gold and silversmithing, weaving, and stained glass, write books and articles on jewelry making techniques, and become an instructor, hosting workshops or running courses on jewelry making arts.

  Educational Paths  
Jewelry designers can take a number of paths in their training and education. Some choose to attend fine arts programs at universities, or two- to three-year diploma programs at community colleges, while others work under the guidance of a mentor, a designer who is willing to train them in jewelry arts. Some take a few workshop courses, and then learn from books, articles, and through practice.

Prospective designers may also consider taking some courses in merchandising, business administration, and marketing, especially if they plan on going into business on their own.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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