What does a jewellery designer do?
A jewellery designer creates designs for mass production, or for pieces to be made individually or in small numbers by them or other craft workers.
On a day-to-day basis designers might:
- discuss a design or ‘the brief’ with clients
- produce designs, either by hand or using CAD software
- make up models of jewellery that will be mass produced by other staff or machinery
- create individual one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces
- source gemstones, precious metals and other jewellery parts
- use tools and other equipment, such as jewellery saws and soldering irons
- cut, polish and set gemstones or other materials, such as resins or wood, to use in jewellery designs
This role may involve using different metals to make jewellery, such as silver, gold or palladium, and other materials such as polymer clays, resins, wood or glass.
A self-employed designer-maker would also need to market and sell their work, either directly from their studio or on a website, at craft fairs, or through shops and galleries.
What do I need to do to become a jewellery designer?
Drawing and computer design skills will help you to visualise your ideas and share them with your clients and customers. You’ll also need to pay close attention to detail.
There are no fixed entry routes to become a jewellery designer – your skills and experience can often be more important than qualifications. However, most jewellery designers have a foundation degree, HND or degree.
Relevant subjects include:
- jewellery design
- designed metalwork and jewellery
- jewellery and metal design
There are also short courses available in covering particular types of jewellery making. These are available from some colleges and private providers, including jewellery studios and workshops.
Courses vary in their content, so it’s worth checking carefully to make sure they cover what you need.
You may be able to start in this job through a jewellery silversmithing and allied trades apprenticeship scheme.
The design field is very competitive and some vacancies are not advertised, so it is useful to build networks and make contacts within the industry by attending trade fairs and exhibitions, for example.
Where to find out more
Where could I be working?
You would usually work in a studio or workshop, which may be shared with other designers. You would also need to travel to attend trade fairs and exhibitions.