If you like working with your hands and seeing your ideas come to life, consider a career in the jewelry manufacturing arts. This field can be subdivided into many categories of specialized skills and may involve working with precious metals and rare gemstones.

Bench jewelers are responsible for repairing, restoring, and creating jewelry pieces. They have the skills necessary to resize rings, fix chains, set gemstones, and even fabricate jewelry. Jewelers are employed in retail establishments, manufacturing companies, small trade shops, or their own studios.

On the Job

Manual skills – the ability to work quickly and precisely with tools and machines – are critical for bench and manufacturing jewelers. Repairing jewelry can involve ordering or making parts, sizing rings and setting stones. Projects may require wax carving, casting, or working with precious metals to craft custom pieces. More and more, bench jewelers are expected to master high-tech tools like laser welders and 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) design in addition to basic bench skills like sawing and soldering.

Business skills are important as well. Jewelers are responsible for maintaining their tools and equipment and managing the supplies of precious metal parts (called “findings”) and stones needed to complete jobs. Supervisors and independent contractors will need to master the ability to estimate and control costs and to oversee compliance with laws designed to protect workers and the environment.

In some businesses, jewelers work directly with customers. Your ability to listen, get information from clients, and present yourself positively will help make your business successful. Many bench jewelers report that the joy of seeing the happiness their work can create and knowing success comes from their own hands provides great satisfaction.

Growing in the Industry

The jewelry industry has a strong demand for this position due to rising consumer expectations for customization and upkeep of the jewelry purchased. Most beginning bench jewelers work in trade shops, retail stores or with jewelers that contract work to manufacturers, designers, and retailers. Manufacturing positions are available for a variety of critical functions including polishers, casters, and setters and for jewelers trained to operate the increasingly sophisticated machines. Career advancement usually involves upgrading your technical or management skills, and can involve becoming a master jeweler, managing production for a manufacturer, or even starting your own business.

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Jewelers of America

In 1906, Jewelers of America was founded by jewelers for jewelers, with a desire to advance the professionalism and ethics of the jewelry industry.

Today, we continue that mission and Jewelers of America Members stand as the most trustworthy, informed and professional jewelry businesses within the United States.