Those who work in jewelery Design can either pursue salaried positions or start their own businesses. Self-employed designers often travel to craft fairs or sell their creations through retail outlets to earn a living. This may not be an ideal way to break into the field, but it can help build a strong foundation of experience before seeking full-time employment. Some jewellery designers also take on commissions to supplement their incomes, or may even work in a retail store or repair shop to gain experience while looking for a job with greater financial security.
Jewelry is made from a wide variety of materials, including precious metals, gemstones and beads. Designers who choose to work with gems and metals must be able to understand and interpret the characteristics of each material in order to create designs that will function properly. In addition, they must be able to anticipate how each piece will move and drape while being worn by the customer.
There are a variety of tools and techniques used to create jewelry, from traditional hand drawings and drafting methods to computer-aided design (CAD) software programs. In the latter case, the CAD models are then translated into a rubber mold or lost wax pattern that can be used in a metal casting process to produce the finished article of jewellery. The use of CAD in jewelry design is becoming increasingly popular, but traditional hand drawing and drafting remain common, especially during the initial concept stage.
While it is possible to learn the basics of jewelry designing by studying on your own, there are many accredited schools that offer a certificate or degree in this field. Some of these institutions provide internships to give students hands-on experience working with actual clients and products. Others offer online courses to allow students to work at their own pace and develop their skills on a part-time or full-time basis.
Some successful designers who have a desire to become more commercially viable opt to enroll in a business course that helps them market their jewelry and find buyers. They may also opt to enter jewellery-making contests to boost their portfolio and their network of potential customers. Other ways of gaining experience before seeking a full-time position include establishing their own online jewelry shop or selling their pieces at local craft fairs and festivals. Many designers also seek out wholesale opportunities with larger retailers to gain the exposure they need in order to make their names known and build a successful brand.