If you have a passion for style and fashion as well as skills in drawing, painting, or graphic design, a career in jewelry design could be a great fit for you.

Designers may work with independent jewelers, retail stores, and private clients to create one-of-a-kind jewelry. They may also work for well-known, large-scale manufacturers, working with existing concepts/models to create line expansions of the company’s collections. Some designers go on to start businesses, selling designer jewelry under their own names.

It is a unique and challenging occupation and may be of interest to creatives.

On the Job

In the field of jewelry design, professionals use creative thinking and brainstorming to create sketches, 3-D images and product prototypes of assorted styles and types of jewelry. Most designers bring a love of style as well as artistic or engineering ability to their work. Some hands-on experience making jewelry helps a designer understand how jewelry works: how it is put together, how the stones are set, the clasps attached and so on. Good hand-eye coordination, computer skills, and drafting ability are important, as are an understanding of color and some gemological training. Communication skills are also critical, particularly for designers working directly with retail customers. Time management and basic business skills will come in handy, as will experience supervising the work of others. Increasingly, designers need to get involved in marketing and social media, so the ability to photograph and write about your work will be helpful.

Turning inspiration into jewelry is the greatest challenge a designer faces. When they are successful, they see their unique style transformed into jewelry that expresses peoples’ deepest feelings – and there is nothing more satisfying than that.

Growing in the Industry

A designer’s career path can take many directions. Jewelry designers can start with a retailer or manufacturer, and then start their own companies. Others will move into management or supervise the work of a design studio. Some designers are also jewelers and sell their work through galleries, craft fairs, or websites like Etsy, or open their own stores.

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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.