Jewelery Design

In jewelery Design, the goal is to translate a piece of jewelry from an idea in the mind of the designer to a rendered sketch. Then, the idea can be turned into a metal skeleton and then into a mold to be cast in wax. The resulting wax model can then be used to make a prototype or a finished product. Jewelry makers who are able to successfully do this are stepping up from simply combining raw materials and techniques to become true designers.

The desire for beauty, the need to express reverence or loyalty and a passion for gems have inspired artists since ancient times to dream up jewelry designs. Artisans have created jewelry to celebrate a wedding, a milestone birthday or a holiday. They have also designed pieces to honor a lost loved one or to memorialize a loved pet. These and many other emotions have driven designers to create heirloom-quality pieces of jewelry.

A successful career in jewelry design requires a mix of creativity and the ability to juggle the behind-the-scenes realities of production and sales. Consequently, many multihyphenates (people with multiple careers) choose to work in the field as a way to supplement their income. In addition to a day job, they may work at craft or design shows, offer their products through online stores or sell their jewelry in local shops.

Most jewelry designers have learned their skills in vocational and technical schools or through on-the-job training. Others enroll in post-secondary programs that offer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in jewelry design. Some post-secondary institutions also offer certificate programs for students who do not wish to pursue a full degree.

Many jewelry designers use traditional hand-drawing and drafting techniques, especially at the conceptual stage. However, a greater number of people now turn to computer-aided jewelry design software like Rhinoceros 3D and Matrix. These tools are particularly useful for creating 3-D models that can be translated into CNC cut or printed wax patterns for rubber molding and lost-wax casting processes.

Some jewelry makers cringe at the thought of using manufactured jewelry findings, but for many, they are a necessary step in the production process. Findings can be the difference between a piece that makes you scratch your head and one that is worthy of being the crowning glory of your collection.

The first step in designing a new piece of jewelry is to look for inspiration. A quick online search or a trip to a jeweler’s shop should provide enough ideas to get started. Once you have the general theme of your piece nailed down, you can begin to consider shapes, colors and materials. Whether you are designing for yourself or your customers, start with a rough sketch and don’t be afraid to experiment with different concepts until you find a design that is truly unique and meaningful to you. Then, with your inspiration in hand and reasonable boundaries on the cost of materials, unleash your talent and passion to bring your concept to life.