The traditional process of jewelry design involves wax sculpting, soldering, bending, and stone setting. However, the advent of 3D printing and CAD software has revolutionised the process, making it possible to fully prepare a design before casting. With this advanced technology, jewellery designers can create physical models of their designs in a variety of materials and use 3D printers to produce rapid prototypes, try-on models, and investment casts.
Once you’ve decided to open a shop, the next step is to find a way to distribute your products. In Corinne’s case, she began her career by sharing a booth at a local clothing show. She sold out the entire two-day show in her first day! Though jewelry design was a hobby at the time, the experience led her to develop it into a full-fledged business. Alternatively, you can set up a shop in your home and invite potential customers into the studio. There are plenty of other options as well, such as holding pop-ups at other stores.
A career in jewellery design can be rewarding and fulfilling, as you get to turn your artistic vision into wearable art. While a degree isn’t strictly necessary to become a jewellery designer, it is helpful to have some proven skills in the craft. If you don’t have a higher education, you can also opt for on-the-job training or apprenticeships. It will be important to keep your ultimate goal in mind. A jewellery designer can have a variety of jobs, but the majority of them are self-employed.
Building a professional portfolio is crucial for jewelry-making students. A portfolio of your completed pieces will show prospective clients and employers how your artistic expression has improved over time. A portfolio may contain sketches, renderings, and photos of finished pieces. You may be asked to create an online or physical portfolio, but a portfolio with both types of material will give you more options when presenting your work. Then, you can showcase your portfolio in an employer’s office.
Jewelry design education is a valuable investment, and many schools offer certificates in this field. The GIA and MJSA both offer educational and professional jewelry design programs that can help you get started. Whether you’re planning to become a freelance designer or a full-time employee, you can earn a certificate in jewelry design and enter local, national, or international jewelry design competitions. These competitions are a great way to find your niche and gain valuable industry contacts.
Although there is a wide array of 3D modeling tools available, not all of them are specifically suitable for jewelry design. For example, free 3D software options include TinkerCAD, which allows you to create primitive shapes. You can then export these models as wax models and carve them into jewelry by hand. For more sophisticated designs, you should consider purchasing Rhinoceros, which is widely used in the jewelry industry. For more realistic ornaments, consider using a freeform sculpting environment.