In order to become a jeweller, you will typically have to hold a variety of different qualities and skills, including good interpersonal and communication skills, qualifications, and a passion for jewels and jewellery. There are various different roles that are included under the position of a jeweller, including the design and manufacturing process right up to selling and negotiating prices for the products.
In order to become a jeweller, most applicants will usually require the following qualities:
- Artistically talented
- Good hand-eye coordination
- Good customer service skills
- A passion for jewellery and design
There are no fixed, universal qualifications required to become a jeweller, particularly for those who are self-employed. Your own talent, creativity and portfolio will usually be valued higher than further education qualifications. Saying this however, all applicants must be sufficiently trained in the art, which does require training through such methods as courses, diplomas/degrees and apprenticeships.
Therefore, in order to keep up with the competition, and to become better educated about the trade you are wanting to pursue, it may be useful to consider a degree related to jewellery design.
Additionally, there are colleges and jewellery studios that provide courses and apprenticeships for those pursuing a career in the jewellery industry. This field, as with the design industry as a whole, can be incredibly competitive. Therefore you may have to network and build up contacts in order to find open positions in the trade.
What is a Jeweller?
A jeweller can comprise of two main roles; you can either make or sell jewellery. Before exploring how to become a jeweller, and the necessary qualifications and training that may be required, it’s first important to understand the exact role of this job. This can help to make a more informed decision about whether the role is right for you.
A jeweller uses a combination of gems, metals, and other particular materials to create jewellery, such as bracelets, earrings and necklaces and also ring resizing. They are also involved in the selling process for these creations, and can often offer cleaning, restoration, and jewellery valuation services for various items of jewellery.
What Should You Study to Become a Jeweller?
A lot of jewellers start from a young age as apprentices and learn through gaining hands-on experience in the business. However, many will have either a foundation degree, a HND or higher. Whilst a degree is not always necessary to pursue a career as a jeweller, it can help to boost your CV, and keep you in competition with other, high-qualified applicants.
Those who are wanting to pursue a career as a jeweller should consider studying such relevant subjects as:
- Jewellery Design
- Jewellery and Silversmithing
- Jewellery and Metalwork
These courses will vary dependent upon the college/university offering them. It’s important to read up on particular courses before applying, to ensure that they cover the topics you are wanting to expand your knowledge on.
The National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) also offers courses to help aspiring jewellers reach their career goals. The NAJ offers the following qualifications and courses:
- Practical Techniques Tutorials
- Jewellery Education and Training (JET) Certificate
- Jewellery Education and Training (JET) Diploma
- Jewellery Education and Training (JET) Management
- Jewellery Education and Training (JET) Essentials
- Jewellery Education and Training (JET) Business Development
- Jewellery Education and Training (JET) Practical Training Days
You can also apply for apprenticeships to help further your pursuit of becoming a jeweller. There are various different organisations that offer apprenticeships for aspiring jewellers, including the Goldsmiths’ Company Apprenticeship Scheme. With this scheme, apprentices will be trained for a period of 3 to 5 years under an employer in the goldsmith industry.
Where Can You Get Work as a Jeweller?
The biggest hubs for UK jewellers includes Hatton Garden in the centre of London and St Paul’s Quarter in Birmingham.
Jewellers can work in many different environments. Many are self-employed, however others do choose to work in a retail jewellery shop or in a larger facility. Jewellery is often a family business, which may date back many generations.
Those who decide to work in a retail jewellery shop will spend a lot of their time interacting with customers, either helping them with products that have already been made or working with them to create bespoke pieces.
For the more technical Goldsmiths and technicians, their time is often spent hard at work, drilling and making intricate changes in a workshop or back room.
What is the Average Jeweller’s Salary?
National Careers Service claims that the average salary for a jewellery designer-maker ranges from £16,000 to £50,000. This will be dependent upon years in the industry and thereby experience.
The salary for a jeweller can vary based on whether you are self-employed or work for a large organisation (such as Tiffany’s) or work on commission. The likelihood is that you can potentially earn more being a self-employed jeweller in which case your earnings can be exponential, since you will receive a higher margin on all sales, but the success of your selling could be cyclical and vary from month-to-month.