Jewellery designers are trained professionals who use a variety of materials, such as precious metals, gems, stones and crystals, to create accessories for the ears, neck, hands, fingers, feet and toes.
You could either produce designs for mass production, make jewellery in small numbers or create bespoke pieces commissioned by a client.
- mounting – making the framework for the piece of jewellery. This involves handling, forming and drilling metal, and opening out holes in which to place the selected gems;
- model making (casting) – making an object or decorative detail using a mould;
- stamping and presswork;
- chasing – making a raised pattern on the surface of the metal;
- soldering and fabrication;
- polishing – ensuring the finish of the piece;
- stone setting – making adjustments to the mount to ensure the stones fit perfectly. This can involve very intricate work, such as removing tiny fractions of metal;
- electro-plating – layering a precious metal onto a base metal;
- enamelling – fusing powdered glass to metal in a kiln to create coloured patterns and pictures;
- welding – joining pieces of metal using traditional methods or by laser;
- engraving – carving lettering or patterns into precious metals by hand or by computer-aided manufacture (CAM).
While no minimum or mandatory academic qualifications are prescribed, a background (degree, certificate or diploma) in jewellery design, jewellery-making and production, graphic design, textile design, fashion design, silversmithing or other similar craft-based skills are very useful.
This is a profession driven by individual talent and creativity rather than academic knowledge.
- creative thinking and vision, to produce new ideas;
- practical application to produce a piece which is desirable in the marketplace;
- practical ability to work with tools and materials, such as metals and gemstones;
- drawing and computer design skills to produce designs;
- dexterity, attention to detail and good hand-eye coordination;
- organization and time-management skills and the ability to work to deadlines;
- commercial awareness and the confidence and temperament to be successful in the business world;
- the ability to market yourself and your work;
- skills in negotiation and persuasion when dealing with suppliers and buyers;
- a commitment to, and passion for your work.