Jewellery Dsigners create designs for jewellery, silverware and other forms of decorative and functional metallic products. Designs may be used for mass production or for handcrafted items.
Also known as
- Designer, Jewellery/Silver
- Silver/Jewellery Designer
- Jewellery Maker
Video: - Alys: Jewellery Designer
Video: - Lora: Jewellery Designer
As a Jewellery Designer, you will create designs for a wide variety of jewellery, silverware and cutlery products. Sometimes, you might specialise in one particular area of the trade, such as horology.
Crafts used in making jewellery include:
- stone-cutting and setting
As a Designer who makes handcrafted items, you may design one-off pieces of jewellery or silverware.
You will usually do some research before you begin your designs. This may involve looking at other jewellery products, finding out which materials are available, and deciding what kind of people are likely to buy the products.
Following the research, you will then draw your ideas to show what your designs will look like. You will use design software to prepare these drawings.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Jewellery Designer, you need:
- good hand skills
- an eye for detail
- creative and artistic skills
- the ability to change ideas into a three-dimensional design
- to keep up to date with changes in jewellery/silver design and fashions
- good organisation and planning skills
- knowledge of design-related software
Self-employed or freelance Jewellery Designers will need business and marketing skills.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £24,000 - £25,000
- With experience: £26,500 - £30,500
- Senior Jewellery Designers earn £33,000 - £35,500
As a self-employed Jewellery Designer, you are likely to earn at the lower end of the range, especially when you first start out. You are also likely to experience more fluctuation in your income, and generally earn a lower figure.
Hours of work
Employed Jewellery Designers usually work 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, late finishes and weekend work may be required, especially as deadlines approach. Self-employed Jewellery Designers may work irregular hours, depending on how much work you have week-to-week.
Where could I work?
Employers include firms involved in producing jewellery, silverware and cutlery products.
Opportunities occur for Jewellery Designers to become self-employed in consultancy and fixed-term contract work or set up as Designer-Craftworkers working from home, a shared studio or a workshop.
The ability for individuals to promote their work online from the internet means location is less important for self-employed Designer-Craftworkers.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).
Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.
Take a look at our General Information Article
Entry Routes and Training
A common route into this career is from a foundation course in art and design followed by a degree, HND or foundation degree in a subject such as jewellery or jewellery and silversmithing.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
An Intermediate Level Apprenticeship is also a great place to start.
Some of your training will be on-the-job.
If you would like some training, the National Association of Jewellers offer short courses which could help. Take a look at the website for more details.
Other courses could be available in your area.
Many Jewellery Designers become self-employed. With training and experience, it may be possible to move into managerial positions.
Previous experience working as an Assistant in a design studio or workshop would be really useful for this career.
The usual entry requirements for a relevant foundation course are:
- 1/2 A levels where you'll need an A level in art or in an art-based subject
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 4/5 subjects
Some courses ask that you have a pass in English.
Alternatives to A levels include:
- a BTEC level 3 qualification in art and design
- a design Advanced Level Apprenticeship
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma
To get onto an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need at least 2 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.
Many other qualifications are also accepted so check prospectuses for more details.
To enter any course in art and design, you'll need a portfolio of your work.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Skills gained as an assistant in a design studio or workshop are valued. Commercial awareness and an understanding of the jewellery/precious metal industry is an advantage.
To enter the work or relevant courses, you need to have a portfolio of work showing your creative ability.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Art and Design) could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.
They can lead to relevant degree/HND courses.
It's also possible to do a part-time Art Foundation course, which leads to a degree or HND course. Higher National Certificate (HNC) courses are also available part-time, often in the evenings and/or in the daytime.
Universities and colleges of higher education (HE) will usually consider applications from candidates who don't meet their usual entry requirements, especially those with experience in arts, crafts or design. You should check the admissions policy of individual universities and HE colleges.
The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust offers grants of up to £15,000 to people wishing to set up craft/design businesses.
Financial support is available from the South Square Trust for degree-level study of silver/jewellery design.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills for the creative industries
Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills
Creative & Cultural Skills
Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts
Chartered Society of Designers (CSD)
Getting into Art & Design Courses
Author: James Burnett Publisher: Trotman
Jewellery & Allied Industries Training Council (JAITC)
Address: c/o British Jewellers' Association, Federation House, 10 Vyse Street, Birmingham B18 6LT
Tel: 0121 2371110
Address: PO Box 5, Driffield, East Yorkshire, YO25 8JD
Tel: 01377 255213
The National Association of Jewellers
Address: Federation House, 10 Vyse Street, Birmingham B18 6LT
Tel: 0121 2371110
Address: 44a Pentonville Road, Islington, London N1 9BY
Tel: 020 7806 2500
South Square Trust
Address: PO Box 67, Dallington, Heathfield, East Sussex TN21 9ZR
Tel: 01435 830778
Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust
Address: No 1 Buckingham Place, London SW1E 6HR
Tel: 020 7828 2268
British Horological Institute (BHI)
Address: Upton Hall, Upton, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG23 5TE
Tel: 01636 813795
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844
Hiive is the online professional network for creative people.