Jewelry Careers Guide
What do store managers need to know? What exactly do appraisers do? How do you learn to design jewelry? How much training does it take to be a master watchmaker? What salary can a bench jeweler expect to make? What career growth can salespeople achieve?
The Guide to Fine Jewelry Careers by Jewelers of America is an online guide that helps answer these jewelry career questions and more, providing insight into career development and salary ranges. The guide covers 10 jewelry career pathways and the training and skills you’ll need to pursue them.
View the Guide to Jewelry Careers
A Look at Popular Jewelry CareersFor a quick snapshot of life inside the jewelry industry, we cover five important jewelry positions here. For in-depth coverage, view the full Guide to Fine Jewelry Careers.
Retail Jewelry Sales ProfessionalWorking in a jewelry store can be like going to work in a treasure chest. It’s hard work, but it’s also an opportunity to indulge your love of beautiful things. Plus, you’ll get to share in some of your customers’ happiest moments: engagements, important anniversaries, birthdays and other celebrations.
Best fit: Jewelry sales professionals are socially comfortable. They are friendly, enthusiastic and even-tempered, and good at both verbal and non-verbal communication. Jewelry sales professionals also enjoy learning about the products they sell and sharing what they know; many stores offer ongoing product knowledge training to their sales staff.
Jewelry Store ManagerA career in retail management can offer enormous rewards – whether you are running your own store, managing a store or a web-based business, or working for a large corporation. Many retail chains promote from within and success in store management can lead to career development and more money.
Best fit: Jewelry retail management requires strong business and analytical skills, learned in school or on the job, for financial and inventory management. Jewelry store managers are people-oriented, self-motivated and goal-oriented. They are also natural motivating team leaders.
Bench/Manufacturing JewelerManufacturing jewelers may work in jewelry stores, jewelry manufacturing businesses or even their own studios. Bench jewelers may craft jewelry for their own companies, design custom pieces or repair intricate jewelry antiques. They share an artistic sensibility and skill for fabrication.
Best fit: Jewelers are “handy” with an aptitude for tools and machines. They are detail-oriented and patient, because most jewelry work involves completing a series of small, careful steps using sharp tools and open flames. Many jewelers find creative satisfaction in solving repair problems or in determining exactly how to fabricate a piece of jewelry.
Jewelry DesignerJewelry designers are usually drawn to their career path by a passion for artistic pursuits and fashion. Designers may work with jewelers and store customers to create one-of-a-kind jewelry, or they work for manufacturers developing new pieces for the company’s collections. Some designers go on to start businesses, selling designer jewelry under their own names.
Best Fit: Strong design skills are a must. Designers are detail-oriented and comfortable working with design software programs. While creativity is critical, organizational skills and the ability to meet deadlines are an equally important part of a successful design career.
Jewelry Lab Grader/Quality Assurance TechnicianIf you enjoyed your science classes, consider working in a laboratory as a gem or jewelry grader or for a wholesaler or manufacturer as a quality assurance technician. Most graders spend time identifying and performing quality analyses on diamonds and colored gemstones, and providing the certificates that assure gemstones and jewelry are of a stated quality.
Best fit: Most graders have a passion for rocks and minerals and enjoy working with microscopes and other grading instruments. Grading also requires concentration and time management.
To read full profiles of these jewelry career paths and learn about five others including jewelry appraising and wholesaling, view the full Guide to Fine Jewelry Careers here.
Job Training Options in the Jewelry IndustryAs you determine the jewelry career path you want to pursue, you should focus on the appropriate training and education to develop your career. To aid your career development, getting some training in jewelry or sales and management before you start (or within your first few years) can make you a stronger applicant and will make achieving your career goals an easier task. Jewelers of America offers discounts and scholarships for jewelry training to employees of its member companies that assist in your jewelry career development.
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On the Job TrainingTraditionally, people in the jewelry industry relied on “on the job” training for jewelry sales and administrative positions and apprenticeships for jewelers and watchmakers. Today, it is still possible to get a jewelry industry job without formal training or jewelry experience – good news for people starting out as well as career changers.
Many employers are looking for the skills you need for success in any industry: a strong work ethic, the ability to listen and learn, computer and organizational skills and, above all, passion and enthusiasm.
Formal Jewelry EducationWhile many jewelry professionals have benefited from a college degree, others have seen a high level of success without it. The jewelry industry offers individuals not inclined to go to college many career choices that can bring tremendous personal and financial rewards. There are numerous jewelry education and training options available to meet your needs, from weekend classes or seminars to intensive hands-on studio or lab sessions, comprehensive diploma programs and distance education.
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