Fine jewelry pertains to any jewelry made from precious metals like gold and precious stones like diamonds. These are the kinds of pieces you’ll usually find in high-end jewelry stores in department stores and shopping malls. Although making and designing fine jewelry involves some similarities with designing other types such artisan and craft jewelry, one needs to master other skills to be a successful fine jewelry designer.
If you’ve chosen designing fine jewelry as your forte, here are some important things you need to know in order to succeed.
It is important to learn some basic to intermediate skills. Casting, metal fabrication and soldering are some of the skills you’ll find useful as a designer. You can learn these on your own. But it is highly recommended that you take a few classes and see what skills you’re good at. You might think that learning the dirty skills of jewelry making is unnecessary. The thing is, you’ll be able to make better and feasible designs when you know how the process of putting together jewelry goes.
Another important thing to learn is drawing. Every jewelry design starts with a sketch which will help you visualize what you have in mind and communicate it to craftsmen. Some jewelry designers even say that sketching is 90% of your design’s foundation. Although modern technology such as CAD can make visualizations, most of the designs in the industry are first conceptualized on paper.
The ability to draw also helps in designing proportionate and pleasing jewelry. But it is also very helpful in other aspects of jewelry making such as when the designer needs to communicate edits in the design. The communication happens more efficiently if it both visual and verbal. However, don’t be too discouraged by your meager drawing abilities. As said earlier, modern technology has made drafting easier and, of course, you can always develop your drawing technique as you grow as a designer.
Aside from creativity, a knack for business and marketing can be help you succeed as a designer of fine jewelry. You may be a brilliant designer, but you may find it hard to translate this into success in financial terms. Together with aesthetic sensibilities, a jewelry designer should have an understanding of what people may want to buy. A good way to develop this is to observe and study trends over the past years and even decades. Be aware of what’s on trend and out of trend. You should also educate yourself on what types of jewelry have managed to stay in style for the longest time. If you understand these, you can even predict upcoming or dying jewelry trends ahead of time.
The common track on which people go on to become designers is to first go study in a trade school where they can apprentice as bench jewelers under a more experienced jeweler. Such bench jewelers can be quite in demand and make a livable salary. The downside of choosing this path is that you might not be able to do much of jewelry design as the bulk of your job will be repairing jewelry.
You can also start out by going to a school for design and earn a degree. This is a more definite way to acquire artistic even business skills to succeed as a jewelry designer. What with all the different classes you can take, skilled and connected people you’ll meet and certification or diploma you’ll get. However, this option might be too expensive or time-consuming for some people.
Designing fine jewelry can be lucrative way to practice your craft as a jewelry maker and designer. But to succeed in it, you’ll need to have certain skills and invest some serious work. Do you have what it takes?