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Jewellery designer-maker

Jewellery designers plan the style and pattern of jewellery, silverware and other decorative products.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £16,000 to £50,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements. Skills and experience can be more important than qualifications, although many new jewellery designers have a foundation degree, HND or degree.

Relevant subjects include:

  • jewellery design
  • designed metalwork and jewellery
  • jewellery and metal design
Drawing and computer design skills can also help.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Creative Choices have more information about becoming a jewellery designer.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • creative and artistic ability
  • good hand-to-eye coordination
  • practical skills for using tools and materials
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • the ability to negotiate with buyers and suppliers
  • business skills, if self-employed

3. 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

4. Salary

Starter: £16,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £40,000

Highly Experienced: £50,000 or more

Freelance earnings will depend on how successful you are.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

If you’re employed by a company you’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. If you’re freelance you’ll set your own hours.

You’ll work in a factory, studio or workshop. If you’re freelance you may also work from home or share space with other designers.

If you’re freelance you’ll need to travel to trade fairs and exhibitions.

6. 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.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016