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Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers

What Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Do

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers design, construct, adjust, repair, appraise and sell jewelry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7f70i9ooFE

Work Environment

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers spend much of their time at a workbench or polishing station, using tools and chemicals.

How to Become a Jeweler or Precious Stone and Metal Worker

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers typically need a high school diploma to enter the occupation, and they learn the skills of the trade through on-the-job training.

Pay

The median annual wage for jewelers and precious stone and metal workers was $40,870 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers is projected to decline 10 percent from 2019 to 2029. Some job opportunities should be available to replace those who retire or who leave the occupation for other reasons.

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers design, construct, adjust, repair, appraise and sell jewelry.

Duties

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers typically do the following:

  • Design and create jewelry from precious metals and stones
  • Examine and grade diamonds and other gems
  • Clean and polish jewelry using polishing wheels and chemical baths
  • Repair jewelry by replacing broken clasps, altering ring sizes, or resetting stones
  • Smooth joints and rough spots and polish smoothed areas
  • Compute the costs of labor and material for new pieces and repairs
  • Model new pieces with carved wax or computer-aided design, and then cast them in metal
  • Shape metal to hold the gems in pieces of jewelry
  • Solder pieces together and insert stones

Technology is helping to produce high-quality jewelry at a reduced cost and in less time than traditional methods allow. For example, lasers are often used for cutting and improving the quality of stones, for intricate engraving or design work, and for inscribing personal messages on jewelry. Jewelers also use lasers to weld metals together without seams or blemishes, improving the quality and appearance of jewelry.

Some manufacturing firms use computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) to make product design easier and to automate some steps. With CAD, jewelers can create a model of a piece of jewelry on a computer and then view the effect of changing different aspects—for example, the design, the stone, or the setting—before cutting a stone or taking other costly steps. With CAM, they can then create a mold of the piece, which makes producing many copies easy.

Some jewelers also use CAD software to design custom jewelry. They let the customer review the design on a computer and see the effect of changes, so that the customer is satisfied before committing to the expense of a customized piece of jewelry.

The following are examples of types of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers:

Bench jewelers, also known as metalsmiths, silversmiths, goldsmiths, and platinumsmiths, are the most common type of jewelers. They possess a wide array of skills. They usually do tasks ranging from simple jewelry cleaning and repair to making molds and pieces from scratch. Some specialize in particular tasks such as repairs, hand engraving, stringing, wax carving/model making, enameling, stone cutting, soldering, stone setting, and hand building.

Gemologists analyze, describe, and certify the quality and characteristics of gemstones. After using microscopes, computerized tools, and other grading instruments to examine gemstones or finished pieces of jewelry, they write reports certifying that the items are of a particular quality. Most gemologists have completed the Graduate Gemologist program through the Gemological Institute of America.

Jewelry appraisers carefully examine jewelry to determine its value and then write appraisal documents. They determine value by researching the jewelry market and by using reference books, auction catalogs, price lists, and the Internet. They may work for jewelry stores, appraisal firms, auction houses, pawnbrokers, or insurance companies. Many gemologists also become appraisers.

Jewelry designers create design concepts and manage the prototype and model-making process.

Production jewelers fabricate and assemble pieces in a manufacturing setting and typically work on one aspect of the manufacturing process.

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers held about 35,100 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers were as follows:

Self-employed workers 34%
Clothing and clothing accessories stores 29
Jewelry and silverware manufacturing 18

Some jewelers and precious stone and metal workers work from home and sell their products at trade and craft shows. Online sales are also a growing source of sales for jewelers.

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers spend much of their time sitting at a workbench or standing at a polishing station. Computer-aided design (CAD) is also an important tool in the jewelry industry.

There is exposure to machines, fumes, and toxic or caustic chemicals, and risk of radiation. Many tools, such as jeweler’s torches and lasers, must be handled carefully to avoid injury. Polishing processes such as chemical baths also must be performed in a safe manner.

Self-employed workers usually work at home in their workshop or studio. In retail stores, jewelers may talk with customers about repairs, perform custom design work, and sell items to customers. Because many of their materials are valuable, jewelers must follow security procedures, including making use of burglar alarms and, in larger jewelry stores, working in the presence of security guards.

Work Schedules

Most jewelers and precious stone and metal workers work full time.

Many self-employed workers show and sell their products at trade and craft shows during weekends. Retail store workers might also work nonstandard hours because they must be available when customers are not working, such as on holidays and weekends.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Craft and Fine Artists

Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create art for sale and exhibition.

See How to Become One $48,760

Fashion Designers

Fashion designers create clothing, accessories, and footwear.

Bachelor’s degree $73,790

Industrial Designers

Industrial designers combine art, business, and engineering to develop the concepts for manufactured products.

Bachelor’s degree $68,890

Retail Sales Workers

Retail sales workers help customers find products they want and process customers’ payments.

No formal educational credential $25,440

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join, repair, or cut metal parts and products.

High school diploma or equivalent $42,490

Woodworkers

Woodworkers manufacture a variety of products such as cabinets and furniture, using wood, veneers, and laminates.

High school diploma or equivalent $32,690

For more information about jewelers, precious stone and metal workers, and gemologists, including job opportunities and training programs, visit

Gemological Institute of America Inc.

Jewelers of America

Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America

O*NET

Gem and Diamond Workers

Jewelers

Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers

Precious Metal Workers


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/jewelers-and-precious-stone-and-metal-workers.htm (visited ).


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Kate Williams

Kate Williams is a business communications expert and is the editor of Job Affirmations. She is a professional resume writer and has studied Myers-Briggs personality types and how they influence career choice. Job Affirmations has hundreds of job descriptions categorized by the 16 Myers-Briggs types, by career interests and work values. Kate also shares her best writing tips including the proper formatting of emails and cover letters You'll find positive affirmations for work, inspirational quotes, career vision boards for your best year ever.

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