Currently employing more than 50,000 people, the jewellery industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK –
Northumberland-based online jewellery retailer, Angelic Diamonds, explain more about the different job roles available within this growing sector:
From goldsmiths to CAD designers, there are many different career paths that you could follow, so let’s take a look at what options are available.
3D Printing: CAD designer
3D printing technology is improving rapidly and there are more Computer Aided Design (CAD) roles in the jewellery industry than ever before. There is now a requirement for people who can use these digital tools with precision in the design and manufacturing process. These types of software are able to create prototypes of models, which go on to be made into 3D designs and castings. Jewellery that is designed with this sort of technology uses state-of-the art equipment and is drawn with precision like no other. The designs are then sent to mills, printers and growing machines, where they come to life with the help of 3D wax or resin.
But how do you get training in CAD? There are courses online and ways that you can gain a CAD qualification from home. Alternatively, get in touch with your local vocational college and see what related courses they have to offer.
Going solo: Independent jewellers
Although it may seem daunting at first, there is an obvious appeal to setting up your own business. This is usually done as an additional job or a hobby, but some people are successful in making a career out of it. If it’s something that you’re passionate about, you can start your own website and possibly supply your goods to others in the future!
There are many sites out there that focus on arts and crafts and appeal to a market that wants something truly unique. You can teach yourself how to make jewellery pieces, and experiment with different materials to find your niche.
Metal design: Jewellery designer
Designers are involved with the jewellery creation process from start to finish. Depending on the size of the business, designers may have to discuss a brief with the client and liaise with them through to completion. Individuals in this profession use their artistic abilities to bring an idea to life, either by hand or using Computer Aided Design, also known as CAD (see below).
Jewellery designers are in high demand and the role is highly competitive, so it’s a good idea to get networking and build up a list of reliable industry contacts. You’ll find that many jewellery designers have foundation degrees, or bachelor’s degrees in related subjects which looks at modules such as metalwork, design and metal design. Many designers create models out of the jewellery, which will go on to be mass produced in a business-to-business trade or given to the customer for a bespoke design. It could also be part of the designer’s job to source gemstones, metals and other jewellery parts to create their proposed piece.
The apprenticeship route is also a great option for students. Again though, these are increasingly competitive. And, for those who are looking to learn jewellery design alongside other commitments, there are short courses available at colleges and private providers, but these aren’t usually as in-depth or may take longer to get to the level that an apprenticeship or degree qualification would provide.
Gold and silversmiths will be skilled in using a range of different techniques and working with various precious metals. This is a highly skilled job, so training is necessary. On the job experience is key here and although gaining qualifications will help develop your industry knowledge, it may not help develop your skills in the way that you need them. The best way is to learn from other professionals, either through an apprenticeship or by spending time in industry. Patience is also required, as you’ll need to be concentrating for long periods of time on one object. You may also be asked to make changes to jewellery to meet a client brief, so persistence is also key.
Being able to create technical drawings is an advantage too and something that is sought after by some employees, depending on the company. Another important skill to have as a goldsmith is that you’re a team player, but happy to work independently as well. It’s likely that you’ll be working with other craftspeople on different projects but will also spend time perfecting pieces on your own.
Specific roles in the industry:
You might find your niche in jewellery making and find that you want a more specialised job. These roles again require patience and working with your hands.
- Casters — generate multiple casts for the production process
- Engravers — skilled in the art of engraving, they can engrave lines words and other markings onto jewellery pieces
- Enamellers — apply powdered glass and heat to the metal to create decorative finishes
- Bench jewellers — make, repair and alter items
- Model makers — design and create models which are used to make numerous copies or an item through the casting process
Have any of these roles caught your eye? Start networking and build your portfolio to better your chances of breaking into the industry.