How to become a Manufacturing Jeweller

manufacturing jeweller careers

What does a Manufacturing Jeweller do?

Jewellers can be involved in designing, making or selling a wide range and type of jewellery, from precious metals and gems to lower cost fashion accessories.

The crafts used in making jewellery include stone cutting and setting, enamelling, engraving or carving, chain making, cleaning, polishing and colouring.

They also include:

  • casting - making items from pre-shaped moulds
  • die sinking and stamping - making a patterned die from which stampings can be made
  • chasing - creating a raised pattern on a metal surface
  • electro-plating - depositing a layer of precious metal on a base metal
  • wire working - the preparation of twisted or coiled wire to produce a broken line or to give delicacy to an edge.
Many manufacturing jewellers work on their own, specialising in different trades, but all rely on each other for the production of a final product. There is a growing trend for newly qualified jewellers to design and produce their own work for sale direct to shops, galleries and direct to the public.

What's the working environment like working as a Manufacturing Jeweller?

Jewellers usually work 39- to 40-hour week, Mondays to Fridays. Overtime working is possible and part-time work is common.

Jewellers work in factories, workshops or studios. Conditions can be noisy, dusty and hot. Some of the crafts involved can involve sitting at a workbench for long periods and working with forges or machine tools. Protective clothing may be required.

What does it take to become a Manufacturing Jeweller?

To be a manufacturing jeweller, you should:

  • be artistic and creative with an appreciation of colour, texture and pattern
  • have good practical skills and be able to work with fine, delicate designs and materials
  • have an aptitude for crafts
  • have good eyesight with glasses or contact lenses, if worn
  • be patient and able to pay attention to detail
  • be aware of safety issues
  • be able to market your own work (for freelance jewellers), negotiate with suppliers and buyers and organise the administrative and financial side of the business
  • have a genuine interest in precious metals, gemstones and jewellery.

Manufacturing Jeweller Career Opportunities

The majority of manufacturing jewellers are based in London and Birmingham. Whilst London is the main centre for precious jewellery, Birmingham is known for both precious jewellery and fashion jewellery production. Most jewellery makers are small businesses, employing only a few people.

Opportunities are limited, as there has been a drop in the number of people employed in recent years.

Some jewellers are self-employed ‘jobbing jewellers’, taking in repair work from shops. Many specialise in specific crafts, for example polishing. Others work as ‘outworkers’ for manufacturers and/or undertake private commissions. These outworkers may be based anywhere in the country.

Facts and Stats:

  • 4,076,000 people work in manufacturing in the UK, making it the nation''s top occupation
  • Brazil is the top coffee-producing country in the world, producing 1,653,020 tonnes a year
  • Chicago has more chocolate manufacturers within a small radius than any other place in the world