Jewelers are artisans who design, manufacture, and sell jewelry. They create customized rings, necklaces, earrings, and other jewelry items out of gold, silver, diamonds, and other precious metals and gemstones. Jewelers also adjust, appraise, repair, polish, and otherwise restore gems and jewelry. The term bench jeweler typically refers to a jeweler with a broad range of design and repair skills. A bench jeweler’s skill set may include stone setting, engraving, goldsmithing, lost-wax casting, and electroplating.
Several trade schools in the U.S. offer training programs in jewelry design and repair. Programs can take anywhere from six months to one year to complete, and teach students the basics of jewelry making tools and equipment, casting, setting, and polishing gems and jewelry, and computer aided design software. Some programs offer additional business-related coursework, such as jewelry retailing, since many jewelers own and operate their own stores. A small number of jewelry design and repair certificate or career diploma programs are available online. Although the jewelry manufacturing industry has traditionally favored informal apprenticeships and on-the-job training, employers are likely to favor candidates with a certificate or diploma in jewelry design and repair. Jewelers who wish to teach at the university level and practice as a professional metalsmith or jeweler can earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree of fine arts in metalsmithing and jewelry design.