Jewellery designers design and often make jewelry using a variety of materials, including gold, silver and precious stones. They design and plan pieces that can have great sentimental significance or symbolic meaning, can be wearable or are decorative artifacts in their own right.
Designers must be able to relate well to their clients in order to understand design specifications, as well as master the creative and practical skills needed to make a product.
Designers can produce designs for mass production or can make small numbers of objects or individual pieces commissioned by a client. Some jewelry designers focus more on design, using specialist companies to provide the different stages of the making process.
The majority of jewelry designers are self-employed so also require commercial awareness, marketing, and business skills.
Promoting and developing the business is crucial to success as a self-employed jewelry designer. Many designers try to boost their reputation by networking, entering competitions and attending craft fairs. Other activities include consulting with galleries, store buyers, and suppliers, and researching jewelry and fashion trends.
When working for a company, a distinction is made between the design and the production. The jewelry designer produces designs that are then made by other members of staff.
- stamping and presswork;
- chasing - making a raised pattern on the surface of the metal;
- holding consultations with commissioning clients;
- discussing a client's range of options and formulating original ideas;
- sketching out ideas, sometimes using computer-aided design (CAD), to help the client visualize the finished design.
- mounting - making the framework for the piece of jewelry. This involves handling, forming and drilling metal, and opening out holes in which to place the selected gems;
- model making (casting) - making an object or decorative detail using a mold;
- soldering and fabrication;
- polishing - ensuring the finish of the piece.
The Following Specialist Processes May Be Performed By Jewellery Designers, But Often Pieces Of Work Are Sent On To Companies (outworkers) For These Processes To Be Completed
- enameling - fusing powdered glass to metal in a kiln to create colored patterns and pictures;
- welding - joining pieces of metal using traditional methods or by laser;
- stone setting - making adjustments to the mount to ensure the stones fit perfectly. This can involve very intricate work, e.g. removing tiny fractions of metal;
- electro-plating - layering a precious metal onto a base metal;
- engraving - carving lettering or patterns into precious metals by hand or by computer-aided manufacture.