I knew I wanted to be in the jewelry industry as far back as my teen years. I loved receiving jewelry as gifts, as any girl does, but I especially loved window-shopping and looking in all of the jewelry cases to see what the trends were and what was popular, classic, traditional, etc. Once I entered college, I realized there is a lot more to the jewelry industry than the cases at the local store. I realized there are many more exciting and intriguing careers in this industry. I love my industry and all of the options that it has to offer a young jewelry enthusiast.
The gemologist is an expert in the area that involves the actual stones used in jewelry pieces. They use several tools, including a microscope and grading instruments, in order to inspect the quality of each stone. Gemologists are responsible for writing the reports that certify that certain stones are of higher quality and standards and also maintaining them through time. Many gemologists are responsible for quality control when working with jewelry manufacturers. An important course for a gemologist to complete is the Graduate Gemologist course offered through the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The average pay for a gemologist in the U.S. is approximately $77,000 per year.
As with any type of designer, a jewelry designer has to have creativity, an eye for design, and a big imagination. The designer can work for a large company designing pieces according to the upcoming trends, or they can work with individual customers to create a one-of-a-kind piece. Many designers start out working for someone else and then move on to creating their own popular jewelry lines. A jewelry designer must have design skills and be able to work with different design software programs on the market. They must also be organized, be able to meet deadlines, and have a great creative eye. The average annual income for a jewelry designer is $50,000.
Precious Metal Worker
The precious metal worker is involved in the actual production of each piece of jewelry. They are responsible for the manipulation of all gold, silver, platinum, white gold, or any other type of metal. Their main tools involve pliers and hand tools to shape each piece. Many precious metal workers attend trade schools for jewelry production and learn how to design a piece first, then cast and set each piece, and then to polish each one, including the gem. They also learn how to care for the equipment needed in jewelry production. Many of these trade schools only require a high school diploma to start. Sometimes a precious metal worker can receive on-the-job training as well. They make approximately $35,000 per year.
[caption id="attachment_1116" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo via Flickr (4nitsirk)[/caption]
Whenever a jewelry owner wants to get an insurance policy on a piece of jewelry, a jewelry appraisal must be done first. A jewelry appraiser will determine the value of a piece of jewelry then write a detailed report on that specific piece. They have knowledge of the industry and the jewelry market and also use tools such as auction catalogs, reference books, price lists, and the Internet as well. An appraiser may work for a jewelry store, a repair shop, a pawn store, auction houses, appraisal firms, insurance companies, or even work for themselves independently. They are necessary when the customer is involved in a divorce, an estate settlement, or immigration or simply wants to document their jewelry collection. Their annual income is usually at least $43,000.
Retail Sales Associate
Being a retail sales associate in the jewelry industry means that you must be able to engage in conversation with customers in order to get to know them and offer them the best pieces for their needs and price range. Being friendly, enthusiastic, and great at communication are musts for this type of jewelry industry job. They know their products and also learn to understand their customers' needs. In retail sales, the associate gets to be a part of some very important moments in people's lives, such as weddings, anniversaries, and engagements, along with birthdays and other special gift-giving occasions. Retail sales associates usually make hourly wages or a salary if they are in management. This is different according to each region.
Jewelry Store Owner
The owner of any type of store is the person responsible for all business and products in their store. In the jewelry industry, this will include all jewelry pieces, any repairs, and all dealings with customers. A jewelry store owner has knowledge of every aspect of the industry, from manufacturing to gemology and trends. They have most likely served in every job title of the retail jewelry store trade and even most parts of the production process as well. A jewelry store owner must be knowledgeable of the products as well as have a great business sense and the ability to single-handedly run a store. Their income all depends on the amount of sales, associate salaries, and inventory carried each year, along with many other factors.
If you work in jewelry repair, you either have your own studio (referred to as a bench jeweler) or you work for a retail jewelry store. Bench jewelers work on jewelry pieces that have broken, but they also refurbish antique pieces. They must be able to work with all jewelry production tools and have an eye for the way the pieces are supposed to look. They must also be able to see how to properly solve problems that might be causing issues with a specific jewelry piece.
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