Need an art degree?
What is Jewelry Design?
Every piece of jewelry starts out as a simple idea, then a simple design. Jewelry designs can be drawn on paper using pencils or pens, or they can be created with special computer software.
Jewelry is a type of accessory that humans have used to adorn their bodies for centuries. The first jewelry was most likely crafted from readily available raw materials, like bone and wood. With the discovery of precious metals, like gold and silver, ancient individuals began to create beautiful and ornate pieces of jewelry.
Originally, most types of jewelry were typically very time consuming and expensive to make, and they were reserved for only the wealthiest citizens. As precious metals became readily available and the process of making it became easier, jewelry became more readily available to the masses. Today, nearly everyone – young or old, rich or poor – owns at least one piece of jewelry.
There are several different types of jewelry, and each different type is meant to adorn a certain body part. Earrings are meant to adorn the ears, for instance, and necklaces are meant to adorn the neck. Some other types of jewelry include bracelets, anklets, rings, brooches, pins, and body jewelry.
What Does a Jewelry Designer Do?
A jewelry designer is a professional that comes up with jewelry design ideas. Many of these designers also make their own jewelry as well.
Jewelry designers will often create several different types of jewelry, but some will specialize in designing only certain types. For instance, a designer may only create necklaces or rings. Some designers will only design jewelry for certain events or individuals, like weddings or royalty.
During the design stage, jewelry designers will typically put their ideas on paper. Traditionally, this was done using paper and writing instruments, like pens and pencils. Today’s modern technology, however, makes it possible to easily create jewelry designs with computer software.
After a jewelry design is completed, most jewelry designers will then make a prototype. Depending on the type of design, a jewelry designer might create a piece of jewelry using a couple different methods.
Some types of jewelry may be made with different jewelry parts, known as findings. Simple pieces of jewelry can usually be made this way. For instance, a simple necklace can be made with findings like a chain, clasp, and charm.
Very skilled jewelry designers may be able to create complete pieces of jewelry from scratch. In order to do this, they will often create a model of the piece from other substances, like clay or wax. The model can then be used to create a mold, and melted metal can be poured into the mold to cast a charm or similar object. Strong wire can also be used to create several metal rings, known as jump rings, and these can be linked together to form a long chain.
Many pieces of jewelry also consist of precious or semi-precious gemstones. Depending on a jewelry designer’s skills and experience, he may be able to cut, polish, and set these stones into a piece of jewelry.
Read more about how to become a jewelry designer.
What is the Average Salary of a Jewelry Designer?
Jewelry designers can make money a few different ways. Some designers make money by selling individual pieces of custom made jewelry, for example, while others may be able to make money simply by selling a design to be mass produced.
Jewelry designer salaries can vary greatly, but some successful jewelry designers can make a decent living wage from their designs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for these sorts of professionals was $39,940 a year.
What are the Education Requirements for Jewelry Designers?
Some jewelry designers may require little to know formal education or training. They may start designing jewelry and eventually become more successful with hard work, dedication, and experience.
College courses and degree programs in jewelry making and design, however, can help aspiring jewelry makers refine their skills. Art schools and some traditional colleges and universities might offer classes in jewelry design, metalworking, and gemology.
Serious jewelry designers might also want to consider completing an apprenticeship under another successful jewelry designer before striking out on their own. These types of apprenticeships can help designers gain valuable experience, and learn useful tips and tricks for designing their own jewelry.
What Can I do With a Degree in Jewelry Design?
Although it is not necessary, a degree in jewelry design or some similar area can help jewelry designers obtain employment in several different areas.
Retail stores and high end boutique shops will often hire jewelry designers to create new designs to add to their existing jewelry line. Specialty jewelry stores will also usually hire jewelry designers to design new jewelry and repair broken pieces as well. A jewelry designer might also be employed by a large jewelry manufacturer.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, over half of all jewelry designers are self-employed. These professionals typically design and create unique pieces of jewelry and sell them. Some of these professionals might also create custom pieces of jewelry for clients, including individuals and large companies.