Career and Job Search Guide

Jeweler, Precison Stone and Metal Workers

Jewelers and other precious metal and stone specialists design, manufacture, set, cut, and clean jewelry. In addition, they do appraisal work. Jewelers often work on one particular item of jewelry, either running their own businesses or working for small or large jewelers. Jewelers need to be very precise in their work.

Some jewelers build custom jewelry. Jewelers build custom jewelry by creating a model with wax, solder jewelry components together, and conclude the process by setting a diamond or other precious metals on the piece of jewelry. Some jewelers finish a piece of jewelry by setting diamonds, polishing the diamond, or fixing deformities by replacing mounting and clasps and resetting diamonds.

Jewelers employed by jewelry stores are known as bench jewelers. They repair jewelry, create molds, and reset diamonds. Jewelers working at large firms usually have specialized duties. Mold specialists develop molds to be used for castings. Assemblers solder parts together, as well as perform diamond or stone settings. Engravers cut designs or special messages on the surface of jewelry while polishers create a beautiful finish.

Gemologists and laboratory graders examine jewelry to certify its authenticity. Gemologists work in jewelry stores and laboratories or analyze jewelry for manufactures or exporters. They use technology to examine jewelry and then they prepare reports that document a piece of jewelry's quality. Gemologists conduct research to better understand a precious metal's properties.

Appraisers analyze jewelry to estimate its value and prepare reports certifying the appraisal. Appraisers make their assessments from research and comparing prices in catalogs and the general market. Some gemologists conduct appraisal work.

At smaller stores, jewelers have many responsibilities. They manage the store, hire employees, order supplies, advertise their products, and attend to administrative duties.

Jewelers utilize new technology, such as lasers, to improve the quality and appearances of their products, cut costs, weld metals, perform detailed engravings, and save time.

Many jewelers use computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology to improve the quality of their work. CAD technology makes it possible to make changes and custom designs and show a model of the finished product on a computer screen. If a product is ordered, jewelers use CAM technology, creating a wax model of the jewelry. Jewelers can use these models to send to possible distributors or place in their shop for demonstration purposes.

Work environment. Jewelers must be very attentive people. Being a jeweler can also be very stressful since customers can be very demanding. Since workbenches are now being more ergonomically designed, the physical stress caused by standing over them for long hours has been diminished.

Jewelers must be very attentive and cautious when using lasers. Jewelers routinely use chemicals, knifes, and jewelers' torches, so they must adhere to safety protocols. However, most jewelers now use harmless chemicals.

Jewelers specializing in repairs usually work by themselves without supervision. Those working at stores must resolve customer concerns and persuade customers to buy their products. Since jewelry is expensive, jewelers must take the proper precautions to secure their stores by using security equipment.