Jewelry Making Careers: Beauty Meets Hand Skills

November 29, 2017
Jessica Johnson

Humans have been drawn to jewelry as far back as we can remember. From the earliest forms, thought to be made from seashells and animal bone, to modern day jewelry, we’ve always had a desire to adorn ourselves in decorative, handmade pieces. Jewelry embodies many things; it has come to represent beauty, status, and fashion. It can symbolize an eternal bond with a partner. It can denote membership to a certain community, cause, or group. However you look at it, jewelry has become ingrained in our humanity. It’s part of our identity as individuals, and it’s a means of non-verbal communication with one another.

Jewelry Making School – What You’ll Do as a Jeweler

At the jewelry bench

Jewelers have a lot more to work with than seashells and bones these days. The ability to manipulate metals and gemstones has given us freedom to make unbelievably intricate works of art. Of course, our taste has evolved over the years. The heavy jewels and opulent styling of the 15th and 16th centuries gave way to more refined and subtle pieces. The industrial revolution streamlined the process, making jewelry more accessible to the middle class. The 19th century gave rise to jewelers like Cartier, Tiffany, and Bulgari, whose Houses still set the standard for jewelry today.

Fast forward to the current industry climate. These days, jewelers have unlimited artistic freedom and a wealth of new materials and techniques at their disposal. Jewelry making in the modern era is highly creative and hands-on. No longer are jewelers limited to just one style, material, or technique. At NBSS, you’ll blend the traditions of jewelry making with modern aesthetics for nearly endless possibilities. Whether crafting your vision by starting your own business or restoring family heirlooms as a bench jeweler, you’ll be honoring a timeless tradition.

Which Jewelry Career is Right for You?

Jewelry making school is your first step into a rewarding career. At NBSS, we combine hands-on work with classroom lectures in jewelry crafting and repair. Students work with a wealth of materials, stones, and styles to get a well-rounded education and preparation for various positions in the field. Though there are many paths for a formally-educated jeweler; yours will depend on your individual goals and skill sets. There are two main avenues:

Self-Employed Jewelry Maker

Most of our students go on to start their own businesses in jewelry design. Marketing your own business has never been easier, thanks to social media and online marketplaces. You can easily use image-based platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to market your brand. If you have an eye for design and a passion for creativity, starting your own jewelry business might be the right way to go. Owning a jewelry business requires both creativity and logic – you’ll need to be able to handle the practical side of things, as well as calling upon your artistic side to create new designs.

Bench Jeweler

Working as a bench jeweler is a steady and reliable option. Many NBSS students become bench jewelers for retail shops, where they further hone their skills and learn new techniques. You can work in repairs, as a designer, a buyer, a caster, an engraver – the list goes on. Our students work in an array of environments, from small, family-owned shops to well-known, major companies. If you have a love for history and tradition, you can look for positions where you’ll work with vintage pieces, either redesigning them or restoring them to their former glory. You’ll enjoy working as a bench jeweler if you like a lot of variety to your days – working with different people, on different pieces, and using different skills.

Continuing a Beautiful Tradition

With its roots firmly planted in our ancestry, jewelry making is a career that isn’t going to fizzle out anytime soon. Jewelry is a form of self-expression, which we as humans will always consider to be central to our identity. Jewelry may be beautiful, but it is also part of our collective history. Thus, jewelry makers will always be respected and needed. Learn more about our accredited Jewelry Making & Repair program here, or register for an upcoming jewelry making workshop.

Jewelry Making & Repair Program