Jewelry Design Degree Outlook
Jewelry provides designers with a means to incorporate a love for fashion with skills that go well beyond those learned by textile artists. Jewelry designers often work with metals, precious stones, beads, wire, and more to create necklaces, watches, bracelets, rings, belts, and adornments for footwear and clothing. Jewelry designers can work alone or in conjunction with a design studio or jewelry store. Regardless of the types of materials used in the design and the work setting, jewelry designers need to pay attention to detail, use precision, and a obtain a high degree of knowledge about the materials used for their designs.
Although jewelers often design new jewelry, they also can do repair work. Many jewelers also study gemology to become familiar with the physical properties of the gem stones with which they work. They also need to acquire metalworking skills. Many artists who enter college to study sculpture are attracted to the attention to detail that's required by jewelry design. These artists also learn that newer techniques, such as laser technology, can be used instead of traditional methods to cut and improve the quality of metals and gemstones.
A jewelry designer must know how to draw either by hand or by computer, or both to begin the design process. Most often, a three-dimensional prototype is designed from wax or other materials before using precious metals and stones to create the final product. Jewelry designers may build molds to replicate their designs as well.
Many jewelers work alone, even if they're employed by a busy design studio or retail store. This work requires intense concentration and attention. But, when the jeweler has his or her own business, that concentration may be interrupted when dealing with customers. The setting is important, so jewelry designers must take special care in determining how they wish to work.
Many jewelers don't require a college degree to produce saleable work. But, jewelry designers may discover that a job might require at least a period of internship or apprenticeship. A degree in fine arts with a concentration on jewelry is suggested for anyone who wants to learn how to use a wide variety of materials in a short amount of time. In addition, a college environment will provide the future jewelry designer with the work environment needed to try those different materials.
Many jewelry designers can cut the cost of traditional college environments by learning trades at vocational schools. Some programs can vary in length from 6 months to 1 year, and students can learn the use and care of jewelers' tools and machines and basic jewelry making and jewelry-repairing skills, such as designing, casting, and setting and polishing stones. Additionally, Jewelers of America offers four credentials that range from Certified Bench Jeweler Technician to Certified Master Bench Jeweler, for bench jewelers who pass a written and practical exam.