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Working as a Jeweler

What Does a Jeweler Do

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers design, manufacture, and sell jewelry. They also adjust, repair, and appraise gems and jewelry.

Duties

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers typically do the following:

  • Create jewelry from precious metals and stones
  • Examine and grade diamonds and other gems
  • Clean and polish jewelry using polishing wheels and chemical baths
  • Repair jewelry by replacing broken clasps, altering ring sizes, or resetting stones
  • Smooth joints and rough spots and polish smoothed areas
  • Compute the costs of labor and material for new pieces and repairs
  • Model new pieces with carved wax or computer-aided design, and then cast them in metal
  • Shape metal to hold the gems in pieces of jewelry
  • Solder pieces together and insert stones

Technology is helping to produce high-quality jewelry at a reduced cost and in less time than traditional methods allow. For example, lasers are often used for cutting and improving the quality of stones, for intricate engraving or design work, and for inscribing personal messages on jewelry. Jewelers also use lasers to weld metals together without seams or blemishes, improving the quality and appearance of jewelry.

Some manufacturing firms use computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) to make product design easier and to automate some steps. With CAD, jewelers can create a model of a piece of jewelry on a computer and then view the effect of changing different aspects—for example, the design, the stone, or the setting—before cutting a stone or taking other costly steps. With CAM, they can then create a mold of the piece, which makes producing many copies easy.

Some jewelers also use CAD software to design custom jewelry. They let the customer review the design on a computer and see the effect of changes, so that the customer is satisfied before committing to the expense of a customized piece of jewelry.

The following are examples of types of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers:

Precious metal workers expertly manipulate gold, silver, and other metals. They use pliers and other hand tools to shape and manipulate metal. Some may mix alloy ingredients according to metallurgical properties.

Gemologists analyze, describe, and certify the quality and characteristics of gemstones. After using microscopes, computerized tools, and other grading instruments to examine gemstones or finished pieces of jewelry, they write reports certifying that the items are of a particular quality. Most gemologists have completed the Graduate Gemologist program through the Gemological Institute of America.

Jewelry appraisers carefully examine jewelry to determine its value and then write appraisal documents. They determine value by researching the jewelry market and by using reference books, auction catalogs, price lists, and the Internet. They may work for jewelry stores, appraisal firms, auction houses, pawnbrokers, or insurance companies. Many gemologists also become appraisers.

Bench jewelers usually work for jewelry retailers, doing tasks ranging from simple jewelry cleaning and repair to making molds and pieces from scratch.

How To Become a Jeweler

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers can enter the occupation on the basis of their education, which is typically earning a high school diploma, or receive on-the-job training, or a combination of the two.

Education

Although most jewelers and precious stone and metal workers have a high school diploma, many trade schools offer courses for workers who seek additional education. Course topics can include introduction to gems and metals, resizing, repair, and computer-aided design (CAD). Programs vary from 6 months to 1 year, and many teach students how to design, cast, set, and polish jewelry and gems, as well as how to use and care for a jeweler’s tools and equipment. Graduates of these programs may be more attractive to employers because they require less on-the-job training. Many gemologists graduate from the Gemological Institute of America. Trade programs usually require applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Training

Some jewelers learn on the job. For example, in jewelry manufacturing plants, workers develop their skills through on-the-job training. The length of training required to become proficient depends on the difficulty of the specialty. Training usually focuses on casting, setting stones, making models, or engraving.

Other Experience

Some workers gain their skills through related work experience. This may include working alongside a bench jeweler or gemologist while performing the duties of a sales person in a retail jewelry store. Time spent in a store with a bench jeweler or gemologist can provide valuable experience.

Advancement

In manufacturing, some jewelers advance to supervisory jobs, such as master jeweler or head jeweler. Jewelers who work in jewelry stores or repair shops may become managers.

Important Qualities

Artistic ability. Jewelers must have the ability to create designs that are unique and beautiful.

Detail oriented. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers must pay attention to large and small details on the pieces they make.

Dexterity. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers must precisely move their fingers and tools in order to grasp, manipulate, and assemble very small objects.

Fashion sense. Jewelry designers must know what is stylish and attractive and presently in demand by consumers.

Interpersonal skills. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers interact with customers, whether they sell products in stores or at craft shows.

Near vision. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers need the ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Visualization skills. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers must imagine how something might look after its shape is altered or when its parts are rearranged.

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Average Salary$39,583
Job Growth Rate-7%

Jeweler Career Paths

Top Careers Before Jeweler

Cashier
10.2 %
Manager
7.8 %

Top Careers After Jeweler

Owner
10.9 %

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Average Salary for a Jeweler

Jewelers in America make an average salary of $39,583 per year or $19 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $60,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $25,000 per year.
Average Salary
$39,583

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Cumberland, RI
Salary Range33k - 58k$44k$44,468
Boston, MA
Salary Range33k - 57k$44k$43,769
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range31k - 56k$42k$41,993
Woodbridge, NJ
Salary Range30k - 54k$41k$40,610
New York, NY
Salary Range28k - 52k$39k$38,586
Eugene, OR
Salary Range28k - 51k$38k$38,302
$19k
$58k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Jeweler
Jeweler
M&V Vanguard Jewelry, Inc.
M&V Vanguard Jewelry, Inc.
04/24/2019
04/24/2019
$60,52304/24/2019
$60,523
Jeweler
Jeweler
My Way Jewelry Co., Inc.
My Way Jewelry Co., Inc.
10/30/2018
10/30/2018
$32,40610/30/2018
$32,406
Jeweler
Jeweler
Earrings World, LLC
Earrings World, LLC
06/28/2018
06/28/2018
$42,03706/28/2018
$42,037
Jeweler
Jeweler
Pafco Jewelry Inc.
Pafco Jewelry Inc.
04/09/2018
04/09/2018
$50,75204/09/2018
$50,752
Jeweler
Jeweler
Anais Designs, Inc.
Anais Designs, Inc.
10/27/2017
10/27/2017
$36,67010/27/2017
$36,670
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Jeweler Demographics

Gender

male

48.6 %

female

46.1 %

unknown

5.3 %

Ethnicity

White

62.5 %

Hispanic or Latino

13.2 %

Asian

9.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

63.2 %

Russian

13.2 %

Portuguese

5.3 %
See More Demographics

Jeweler Education

Majors

Fine Arts
34.2 %
Business
14.2 %

Degrees

Bachelors

36.5 %

High School Diploma

27.2 %

Associate

16.4 %
Job type you want
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Internship
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Top Skills For a Jeweler

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 31.3% of jewelers listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and fashion sense are important as well.

  • Customer Service, 31.3%
  • CAD, 18.8%
  • Laser, 14.4%
  • Product Knowledge, 9.1%
  • Engraving, 6.2%
  • Other Skills, 20.2%
  • See All Jeweler Skills

Best States For a Jeweler

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a jeweler. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Jewelers make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $46,773. Whereas in Rhode Island and Connecticut, they would average $44,832 and $44,755, respectively. While jewelers would only make an average of $43,793 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Rhode Island

Total Jeweler Jobs:
0
Highest 10% Earn:
$75,000
Location Quotient:
0
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Alaska

Total Jeweler Jobs:
0
Highest 10% Earn:
$72,000
Location Quotient:
0
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Connecticut

Total Jeweler Jobs:
0
Highest 10% Earn:
$76,000
Location Quotient:
0
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Jeweler Employers

1. Jared
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$27,093
Jewelers Hired: 
26+
2. Sterling Jewelers
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$48,030
Jewelers Hired: 
16+
3. Walmart
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$29,527
Jewelers Hired: 
13+
4. Tiffany & Co.
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$34,273
Jewelers Hired: 
10+
5. Macy's
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$29,840
Jewelers Hired: 
4+
6. Jewel Craft
3.0
Avg. Salary: 
$49,558
Jewelers Hired: 
4+