Jewelers and Jewelry Repairers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

A high school diploma usually is necessary for those desiring to enter the jewelry trade. While you are in high school, take courses in chemistry, physics, mechanical drawing, and art. Computer-aided design classes will be especially beneficial to you if you are planning to design jewelry. Sculpture and metalworking classes will prepare you for design and repair work, and basic business and accounting classes may be beneficial if you plan to launch your own jewelry business. 

Postsecondary Training

A large number of educational and training programs are available in jewelry and jewelry repair. Trade schools and community colleges offer a variety of programs, including classes in basic jewelry-making skills, techniques, use and care of tools and machines, stone setting, casting, polishing, and gem identification. Programs usually run from six months to one year, although individual classes are shorter and can be taken without enrolling in an entire program. Jewelers of America offers a list of training programs at https://www.jewelers.org/ja/careers-education/jewelry-careers-guide/jewelry-schools-directory.

Some colleges and universities offer programs in jewelry store management, metalwork, and jewelry design. You can also find classes at fashion institutes, art schools, and art museums. In addition, you can take correspondence courses and continuing education classes. For sales and managerial positions in a retail store, college experience is usually helpful. Recommended classes are sales techniques, gemology, advertising, accounting, business administration, and computer-aided design. Some art colleges or schools offer master's degrees in art design.

The work of the jeweler and jewelry repairer may also be learned through an apprenticeship or by informal on-the-job training. The latter often includes instruction in design, quality of precious stones, and chemistry of metals. The apprentice becomes a jeweler upon the successful completion of a two-year apprenticeship and passing written and oral tests covering the trade. The apprenticeship generally focuses on casting, stone setting, and engraving.

Most jobs in manufacturing require on-the-job training, although many employers prefer to hire individuals who have completed a technical education program.

Other Education or Training

Jewelers of America, Diamond Council of America, and the Gemological Institute of America offers classes and distance education courses on jewelry design and repair, sales and marketing, and other topics. Contact these organizations for more information. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification is available in several areas through the Jewelers of America, a trade organization. Those who do bench work (the hands-on work creating and repairing jewelry) can be certified at one of four levels: certified bench jeweler technician, certified bench jeweler, certified senior bench jeweler, and certified master bench jeweler. Each certification involves passing a written test and a bench test. Sales associates and managers can also earn certification through the association. Although voluntary, these certifications show that a professional has met certain standards for the field and is committed to this work. Thus, employers may be more likely to hire them.

Other Requirements

Given the expensive nature of jewelry, some people working in the retail industry are bonded, which means they must pass the requirements for an insurance company to underwrite them. This may include a background check or a credit check.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

How much experience is required for an entry-level jeweler's job may be dependent on the job itself. Bench jewelers who are responsible mainly for repair and engraving may be hired with minimal to no experience. Companies looking for designers will usually require the jeweler to have a few years of successful design experience. You can launch your own business with no experience, but it may be wiser to wait until you've worked in the industry a few years and understand the basics of jewelry design, sales, and trends.

Jewelers and jewelry repairers need to have extreme patience and skill to handle the expensive materials of the trade. Although the physically disabled may find employment in this field, superior hand-eye coordination is essential. Basic mechanical skills such as filing, sawing, and drilling are vital to the jewelry repairer. Jewelers who work from their own designs need creative and artistic ability. They also should have a strong understanding of metals and their properties. Retail jewelers and those who operate or own trade shops and manufacturing establishments must work well with people and have a knowledge of merchandising and business management and practices. Sales staff should be knowledgeable and friendly, and buyers must have good judgment, self-confidence, and leadership abilities.