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How to get a career in jewellery technology

How to get a career in jewellery technology

"An increasing number of tech roles are becoming available in the jewellery industry due to developments in 3D printing technology"
Angelic Diamonds

The jewellery industry in the UK currently employs almost 60,000 people from over 20,000 different businesses. Jewellery designers design and make jewellery using a variety of materials, including gold, silver and precious stones – but have you considered the other tech-based roles in this sector? Jewellery retailer Angelic Diamonds take a look at the various paths you could take within the industry.

1.      CAD designer

An increasing number of tech roles are becoming available in the jewellery industry due to developments in 3D printing technology. There is now a requirement for people who can use these digital tools with precision in the design and manufacturing process. These types of software are able to create prototypes of models, which go on to be made into 3D designs and castings. Jewellery that is designed with this sort of technology uses state-of-the art equipment and is drawn with precision like no other. The designs are then sent to mills, printers and growing machines, where they come to life with the help of 3D wax or resin.

So, how do you gain qualifications in CAD? There are courses online and ways that you can gain a CAD qualification from home. Alternatively, get in touch with your local vocational college and see what related courses they have to offer.

2.      Jewellery designer

As a jewellery designer, you’ll be involved in every step of the jewellery making process from start to finish. Depending on the size of the business, designers may have to discuss a brief with the client and liaise with them through to completion. Individuals in this profession use their artistic abilities to bring an idea to life, either by hand or using Computer Aided Design, also known as CAD.  

These roles are extremely popular, and competition may be tough, so you may want to start building up your network of contacts if this is the career you’d like to pursue. You’ll find that many jewellery designers have foundation degrees, or bachelor’s degrees in related subjects which looks at modules such as metalwork, design and metal design.

Apprenticeships in jewellery design are also available if you want to learn on the job. And, for those who are looking to learn jewellery design alongside other commitments, there are short courses available at colleges and private providers, but these aren’t usually as in-depth or may take longer to get to the level that an apprenticeship or degree qualification would provide.

3.      Niche roles

Larger jewellers employ people to make jewellery alterations using specialised technology. You might find your niche in jewellery making and find that you want a more specialised job.

·         Bench jewellers — make, repair and alter items

·         Model makers — design and create models which are used to make numerous copies or an item through the casting process

·         Casters — generate multiple casts for the production process

·         Engravers — skilled in the art of engraving, they can engrave lines words and other markings onto jewellery pieces

4.      Gold and silversmiths

This is a highly skilled job, so training is necessary. On the job experience is key here and although gaining qualifications will help develop your industry knowledge, it may not help develop your skills in the way that you need them. The best way is to learn from other professionals, either through an apprenticeship or by spending time in industry.

You also need to enjoy being practical by working with your hands, as you’ll be forming metal into different shapes. Patience is also required, as you’ll need to be concentrating for long periods of time on one object. You may also be asked to make changes to jewellery to meet a client brief, so persistence is also key. Being able to create technical drawings is an advantage too and something that is sought after by some employees, depending on the company.

Have any of these roles caught your eye? Start networking and build your portfolio to better your chances of breaking into the industry.