Jeweler and precious stone and metal worker essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $35,350
- 2012, number of jobs: 22,060
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: -5 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers; what they do:
Jewelers are the silent partners in most of the engagements, weddings, anniversaries, and – let’s face it – apologies in our country. Jewelers design, manufacture, sell, adjust, appraise and fix all types of jewelry, from rings and bracelets to necklaces and earrings.
A jeweler career may involve working with a variety of stones and metals beyond the traditional diamonds and gold. Creating jewelry involves first creating a model with carved wax or with a computer program, and then making a cast of the model. Creating an actual piece of jewelry involves using soldering tools, lasers, and other small hand tools. Lasers may be used to solder without leaving a seam or to include a tiny engraving or marking personalizing the jewelry.
Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers may specialize in one of the following:
- Precious metal workers – These individuals are experts in manipulating metals, including gold and silver.
- Gemologists – These individuals determine the quality and characteristics of gem stones through close examinations. Their final determination is recorded in a report, which is then used as certification for that particular gem.
- Jewelry appraisers – These individuals determine the value of jewelry after close inspection. Jewelry appraisers also use reference books, auction catalogs, price lists, and the Internet to help determine their appraisal value.
- Bench jewelers – These individuals, generally employed by jewelry retailers, do anything from simple jewelry cleaning, to repair, to making molds and creating original pieces.
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Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers job titles:
- Precious Metal Worker
- Jewelry Appraiser
- Bench Jeweler
- Jewelry Designer
- Earrings Fabricator
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Education, Certification and License Requirements
There is more than one road to a jeweler career or precious stone and metal worker career. Traditionally, jewelers received long-term on-the-job training rather than a formal education; today, however, a growing number of jewelers take a six month or one year jeweler’s course at a trade school or even earn a Bachelor of Jewelry Design or even a Master of Jewelry Design.
Jeweler and precious stone and metal worker programs cover subjects such as:
- Introduction to gems and metals
- Computer-aided design (CAD)
Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers don’t need specific certifications or licenses.
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Career Advancement Opportunities
Jewelers working in manufacturing may have an opportunity for career advancement to a supervisory role, such as master jeweler or head jeweler. Jewelers working in stores or repair shops may advance to management or eventually open their own business.
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Job Outlook
Forecast: Five percent employment decline from 2010 to 2020 for jewelers and precious stone and metal workers.
Due to the majority of jewelry manufacturing performed outside of the country, low-skilled workers may not find work in the United States. Jewelry stores face more challenges from other businesses, such as department stores and independent jewelers.
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $35,350
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $47,480
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $26,100
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Major Employers
- Jewelry, luggage, and other goods stores
- Jewelry and silverware manufacturing
- Miscellaneous durable goods merchant wholesalers