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Job Photographs

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, drawing on a piece of paper. There are also items to make jewellery on the desk.

    Designing an item of jewellery on paper.

  • A woman is sitting at a small desk. She is looking at a magazine and writing on a piece of paper.  There is a vase of yellow flowers on the desk.

    Researching current jewellery trends.

  • A woman is making a piece of jewellery using beads.  There is a container on the table in front of her with lots of coloured beads in it.

    Using beads to make an item of jewellery.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, using a small device to cut tiny pieces of metal.

    Cutting metal for a necklace.

  • A woman is using a small blow torch to heat a tiny piece of metal which is on a heat resistant tile in front of her.

    Heating and shaping metal for a bracelet.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, using a telephone.  She is writing on a piece of paper.  There is a magazine open in front of her.

    Ordering materials for making jewellery.

  • A woman is holding a pearl necklace and studying it carefully.

    Inspecting the finished product.

  • Two women are standing either side of a small table.  They are talking.  One of the women is holding a small item in her hands, and they are both looking at it.

    Discussing requirements with a client.

  • Jewellery Designer

Jewellery Designer

Introduction

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

Work Activities

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
  • mounting
  • engraving
  • chain-making
  • cleaning
  • polishing

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
  • patience
  • 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

Pay

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.

Self-employment

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 'Finding Work Online'.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

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 'Internships', for more details.

An Intermediate Level Apprenticeship is also a great place to start.

Training

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.

Progression

Many Jewellery Designers become self-employed. With training and experience, it may be possible to move into managerial positions.

Previous Experience

Previous experience working as an Assistant in a design studio or workshop would be really useful for this career.

Qualifications

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.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

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/experience

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.

Courses

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.

Funding

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.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

ScreenSkills

Skills for the creative industries

Email: info@creativeskillset.org

Website: www.creativeskillset.org

Creative Choices

Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills

Email: info@creative-choices.co.uk

Website: www.creative-choices.co.uk

Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts

Email: london@ccskills.org.uk

Website: ccskills.org.uk

Chartered Society of Designers (CSD)

Email: info@csd.org.uk

Website: www.csd.org.uk

Getting into Art & Design Courses

Author: James Burnett Publisher: Trotman

Website: trotman.co.uk/our-books/getting-into-art-and-design-courses/

Jewellery & Allied Industries Training Council (JAITC)

Address: c/o British Jewellers' Association, Federation House, 10 Vyse Street, Birmingham B18 6LT

Tel: 0121 2371110

Email: http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/

Website: www.jaitc.org.uk

craft&design

Address: PO Box 5, Driffield, East Yorkshire, YO25 8JD

Tel: 01377 255213

Website: www.craftanddesign.net

The National Association of Jewellers

Address: Federation House, 10 Vyse Street, Birmingham B18 6LT

Tel: 0121 2371110

Email: info@bja.org.uk

Website: www.bja.org.uk

Crafts Council

Address: 44a Pentonville Road, Islington, London N1 9BY

Tel: 020 7806 2500

Email: reception@craftscouncil.org.uk

Website: www.craftscouncil.org.uk

South Square Trust

Address: PO Box 67, Dallington, Heathfield, East Sussex TN21 9ZR

Tel: 01435 830778

Website: www.southsquaretrust.org.uk

Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust

Address: No 1 Buckingham Place, London SW1E 6HR

Tel: 020 7828 2268

Email: qest@rwha.co.uk

Website: www.qest.org.uk

British Horological Institute (BHI)

Address: Upton Hall, Upton, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG23 5TE

Tel: 01636 813795

Email: info@bhi.co.uk

Website: www.bhi.co.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Hiive

Hiive is the online professional network for creative people.

Website: app.hiive.co.uk/

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