How to Become a

Jeweler or Jewelry Maker

The complete career guide to be a Jeweler or Jewelry Maker: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $42,380
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -11.3%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute
  • Flexible Hours
    Career Attribute

Jewelers and jewelry makers specialize in appraising, transforming, and repairing precious stones and metals. They determine the quality and value of diamonds and other gemstones, blend gems and metals to form different types and styles of jewelry, and repair broken or damaged jewelry for customers.


What is a Jeweler or Jewelry Maker?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in jeweler or jewelry maker roles:

  • Determine the quality and value of precious stones and metals
  • Use specialized equipment to shape stones, melt and adapt metals, and fuse materials into different types of jewelry
  • Clean, repair, and polish jewelry for customers
  • Use computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software to preview jewelry designs before manufacturing styles
  • Set prices for stones, metals, jewelry pieces, custom designs, and repairs

A Day in the Life of a Jeweler or Jewelry Maker

Jewelers and jewelry makers appraise, transform, and repair precious stones and metals used in jewelry. Depending on their job and employer, they may perform all of these tasks, or they may specialize in one or two. For example, jewelers may specialize in identifying the quality and determining the value of precious gems like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. They may perform this work for customers, or they may perform it when new stock arrives from distributors for their employers.

Jewelry makers, on the other hand, specialize in making jewelry. They use computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) equipment to form new styles and designs for jewelry pieces, and revise and finalize designs before manufacturing. They may use lasers to cut stones, soldering equipment to erase seams, and welding techniques to form metal. In some cases, jewelry makers create custom designs for customers. In others, they create designs for large jewelry manufacturers.

Other jewelers and jewelry makers work in jewelry stores and perform a variety of tasks as part of customer service. These jewelers may repair broken or bent jewelry; clean, polish, and tighten jewelry; insert chosen stones into chosen rings; or size jewelry to fit customers. In some stores, these jewelers may also appraise and create jewelry, but in others, the tasks performed are more general maintenance and repair tasks than design-oriented.

Typical Work Schedule for Jewelers and Jewelry Makers

Jewelers and jewelry makers may work either part or full time, but their schedules can be irregular. Those who create designs for jewelry manufactures may work normal business hours, but those that work in retail stores may need to work evenings and weekends. Jewelry makers who sell their own jewelry may attend trade shows on weekends, but have more flexible hours because they choose their own schedules.

Jeweler and Jewelry Maker Specializations

The term jeweler is an overall term that could refer to a generalist that’s able to perform all of the roles listed below, or it could refer to a specialist performing one of the following roles:

  • Appraisers are jewelers who are experts in determining the quality and value of precious gems. They use their knowledge of gems and market research to assign retail prices to jewelry.
  • Bench jewelers commonly work for jewelry stores and perform routine maintenance tasks like jewelry sizing, polishing, repair, gem insertion, and prong tightening.
  • Precious metal workers use soldering and welding equipment to melt, shape, and polish precious metals into jewelry, and to remove attachment seams.
  • Jewelry makers use precious stones, precious metals, gems, man-made stones, silver, and beads to create different types of jewelry that can be sold individually or used as plans for manufacturing.

Typical Employers

Almost half of jewelers and jewelry makers are self-employed and own their own shops or sell their wares in trade shows, booth shows, and online. Others are commonly employed to work in jewelry stores, department stores, in jewelry manufacturing, or for wholesalers.


How To Become a Jeweler or Jewelry Maker

No formal postsecondary education is required to work as a jeweler or jewelry maker, but earning a certificate in jewelry design can be extremely beneficial. While it’s possible to learn the tools and techniques on the job, it’s difficult to find a job as a jeweler or jewelry maker with no formal training or experience. By pursuing a certificate in jewelry design from a trade or vocational school, you can learn techniques like appraising, soldering, welding, and gem identification that can help you find work more easily after graduating from the program.

Without a certificate, you have two other options. You could start in an entry-level role, selling jewelry at a department store or working as a receptionist at a jewelry store. If you can prove that you’re a dedicated and reliable employee, the company may be willing to train you as a jeweler. The other option is to find a professional jeweler or jewelry maker to take you on as an apprentice. This allows you to gain the same skills and experience as you would in a certificate program, but it may be more difficult to find a mentor to train you.

It’s also possible to engage in self-training, though this is simpler when working with non-precious materials. Creating costume jewelry pieces using beads, fasteners, and wires is something you could learn to do by reading crafting books or watching videos online, and you may even be able to sell your work at booth shows, trade shows, or online through sites like Etsy or eBay. This work also gives you a basis to learn from when moving into working with more precious materials later in your career.


Jeweler or Jewelry Maker Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$27,400

Average

$42,380

High Range

$67,210

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$13/hr

Average

$20/hr

High Range

$32/hr

How do Jeweler or Jewelry Maker salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Jeweler or Jewelry Maker's can make an average annual salary of $42,380, or $20 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $27,400 or $13 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #487 Nationally for All Careers


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Jeweler or Jewelry Maker. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Jeweler or Jewelry Makers

  • 0.2%   Doctorate
  • 2%   Masters
  • 14.5%   Bachelors
  • 8.5%   Associates
  • 27.4%   College
  • 31.8%   High School
  • 15.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

39,800

2024 Est. Jobs

35,300

Job Growth Rate

-11.3%

Est. New Jobs

-4,500

How does Jeweler or Jewelry Maker job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -4,500 jobs for a total of 35,300 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -11.3% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #752 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Jeweler or Jewelry Makers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 16,500 -1,600 -2%
Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores 10,300 -1,300 -1%
Jewelry and silverware manufacturing 6,200 -2,500 -3%

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