How to Become a Jeweler in Retail

Jewelry is a high-ticket purchase that requires customers to give it their full attention. The process can be emotionally charged, from buying a ring to propose with to purchasing a special gift for a loved one. For these reasons, consumers need the guidance of an experienced jeweler to help them feel comfortable and confident with their purchases.

Local jewelers often have a wide variety of options for their customers. They may be able to create custom rings or bracelets and work with customers to design the pieces they want. This personalized approach to customer service is something that can’t be replicated online.

Another thing that sets apart independent jewelers from their chain counterparts is their community involvement. These stores donate to local charities, participate in fundraisers and donate their time to events. Customers also love the sense of support they get when they shop with these small businesses.

It’s important for jewelers to have a clear aesthetic that makes them stand out. This allows them to develop a distinct visual language that can be used on their website, social media and brochures. Creating a consistent look across all channels helps to build brand recognition, provides a polished professional image and signals the tone of the company’s voice.

Jewelers also need to have the ability to make products at scale and distribute them quickly and efficiently to retailers. This includes the capability to create spec sheets and line sheets that communicate their aesthetic to potential buyers, as well as the ability to use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems for invoicing. Having this distribution system in place ensures that all pieces are cataloged and organized and keeps the business from having to act as the middleman.

Many jewelers learn the trade through informal on-the-job training or a formal technical school program that lasts from six months to two years. Others complete a four-year college art program that focuses on jewelry making and stone setting. Regardless of the training method, it’s important for jewelers to gain experience in retail before they can become a full-time member of a jewelry store team.

Corinne, a jewelry designer, grew her business by participating in local markets and getting consignment deals with local boutiques. She also tapped into her networks to pitch her collections to local jewelers in person. “Cold calling can be a daunting endeavor, but you have to think outside of the box,” she says. “If you can find a way to get your brand in front of people, they’re going to remember it.”

If you are looking to pursue a career as a jeweler, starting out at a pawn shop is an excellent idea. This will give you the customer service skills you need and will allow you to practice your craft. Once you have the customer service experience under your belt, you can apply for retail jobs at local jewelry stores. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for a first application to be rejected, so you should pursue other retail opportunities until you land a job.