Jewellery designers plan and create jewellery, silverware and other decorative products.
Salary range: £16,000 to £50,000
How to become a jewellery designer-maker
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- specialist courses run by a professional body
You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:
- jewellery design
- jewellery and metal design
- 3D design crafts
- art and design
You’ll usually need:
- a foundation diploma in art and design
- 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can do short courses in specific types of jewellery making at college, or through a private course provider like a jewellery studio or workshop.
Courses vary in content so it’s worth checking carefully to make sure they cover what you need.
Entry requirements for these courses vary.
You may be able to start in this job through an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in:
- jewellery silversmithing and allied trades: manufacturing
- jewellery silversmithing and allied trades: silversmithing
The British Academy of Jewellery offers apprenticeships in jewellery manufacture and design across England.
The Goldsmiths’ Company offers apprenticeships to young people aged 16 to 21 in London and the south-east.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You can do short, specialist courses run by organisations like the British Academy of Jewellery .
Jewellery design is very competitive and not all vacancies are advertised. You may find it useful to make contacts within the industry to help find work. You could do this by going to trade fairs and exhibitions.
You can find out more about becoming a jewellery designer-maker from Creative Choices.
You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to work well with your hands
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- customer service skills
- the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
- analytical thinking skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day to day tasks may include:
- discussing a design (brief) with your client
- producing designs by hand or using CAD software
- making up models of jewellery for mass production
- sourcing gemstones, precious metals and other jewellery parts
- using equipment like jewellery saws and soldering irons
- cutting, polishing and setting gemstones or other materials
- using different metals in your jewellery making like silver, gold or palladium
- using materials like polymer clays, resins, wood or glass
- marketing and selling your work, if self-employed
You could work in a creative studio, from home, in a workshop or in a factory.
Career path and progression
You could become self-employed and sell your designs to manufacturers. Or, you could make up the designs and sell them yourself through galleries, in shops and online.