What Do Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Do?
Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers oversee the design and creation of jewelry and other items of personal ornamentation. These individuals work with metal and precious stones, designing jewelry and other metal items that are worn such as belt buckles and fittings for clothing. In addition to working on design and fabrication elements, jewelers are also often skilled in precision metal work such as repairing and resizing jewelry, setting stones and casting metal in molds.
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Skills and Abilities
Jewelers and metal workers generally have excellent hand eye coordination and good vision that allows them to pick out flaws in metals and determine small variations in color between gems. Jewelers also usually need a steady hand and the ability to concentrate on repetitive tasks for a long period of time. In addition to physical abilities, the most successful jewelers are creative and also have good business acumen, both when it comes to purchasing supplies at the best possible price and when it comes to dealing with customers and clients.
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Duties
Some of the specific tasks performed by jewelers and precious stone and metal workers include examining gems and metals to determine their retail value and how they can be used. Some design and create new jewelry, while others set gems and do engraving to create existing designs. Jewelers need to be able to operate a number of machines and equipment unique to their job, including stone polishers and tools for cutting or drilling gems. Finally, jewelers also perform adjustments on existing pieces of jewelry such as making repairs, hammering out dents or resizing items.
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Tools and Technology
Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers use a number of pieces of equipment unique to their profession. They generally work with both hand tools and electric tools. Some of the former include small hammers, pliers and screwdrivers designed specifically for working with delicate pieces of jewelry, as well as tweezers and wire cutters. Some larger pieces of equipment with which jewelers are usually required to be familiar include cutting machines, polishing machines and tumblers, and electric saws
Education and Training for Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers
Jewelers are generally required to have a high school diploma or the equivalent, as well as specialized training and certification. Training is usually obtained from a trade school or community college program, but also includes an on-the-job training component. After their basic training is complete, jewelers enter into an apprenticeship program that may last anywhere from several months to several years depending on the type of materials they are interested in working with and the type of jewelry making they plan to do.
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Salary
The median annual salary for jewelers in the United States is around $35,000 and $40,000. Many jewelers, especially those who work at branch jewelry companies, are paid by the hour instead of on a salary basis. These jewelers can expect to make between $10.00 and $22.00 per hour, depending on their experience and amount of time they’ve spent working.
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Jobs by Geography
There tend to be more opportunities available for jewelers in major cities. Los Angeles, New York and Miami all have high concentrations of professional jewelers. However, independent jewelers who design and make their own pieces can work anywhere, and many of them tend to flourish in more rural areas, especially since they can sell their pieces over the internet.