Our guide to jewellery design
Hotcourses Editor

Our guide to jewellery design

First published date October 31 2013 Amended date September 23 2015

Jewellery design courses will aid you in creating original and unique designs whilst indulging your passion for jewellery.  You’ll get to release your creativity whilst working towards the career of your choice or simply learning something new for fun.


Skills in jewels

Jewellery designers have a huge wealth of knowledge when it comes to different types of materials, crafts and embellishments.  Whether for mass production, or to create one-off pieces of art, Jewellery design relies heavily upon different skills and disciplines to create one wonderful piece of design.  From learning about how to handle precious metals, to setting gems, and even beading pieces, the skill set required for these courses will serve you well into your chosen jewellery career, or even a jewellery-based hobby. Techniques including mounting, setting and polishing can be explored; additionally, the skills needed to move your interest into business can also be touched upon.

Jewellery design courses involve the development of a broad knowledge of jewellery design and creation, using a range of both more traditional hand techniques, alongside innovative digital techniques.  An appreciation of the finer materials will be gained, with the skills to produce bespoke pieces of jewellery.  If your career path is to go down the route of one-off pieces, then the understanding of metals, gemstones and other materials that you will gain will allow you to produce pieces to meet the brief of a consumer, or even ones that attract clients. 


Is jewellery design for you?

A knack for creativity, the ability to use your hands with dexterity and a passion for gemstones and metals would help you in these courses. Interest in planning the style and pattern of jewellery, silverware and other decorative metalwork products and the desire to develop drawing and computer design skills, will stand you in good stead and the ability to work accurately with high attention to detail are key skills.  Generally, there aren't any definite entry requirements for becoming a jewellery designer: in this case, talent and skill can often be more important than credentials.


Career prospects

Designing for jewellery studios, which include Stephen Webster, Theo Fennell or working for a commercial jeweller such as Van Cleef & Arples, Tiffany’s, Cartier, Asprey or Links of London are ultimately possible – the sky is quite literally your limit! Additionally, skills learnt are also valued in careers such as styling or model making within film and television.

After a course in jewellery design, many become self-employed as freelance designers, and go on to sell their designs.  To help in this process, there is an index of galleries and retailers dealing with gold and silver on the Goldsmiths' Company Directory that may be useful when looking for markets to sell your work into.

Starting salaries are circa £16,000 a year, but more experienced jewellery designers can earn from around £20,000 to over £50,000.  Earnings for freelance designers vary depending on how successful they are in selling their work. Figures are intended as a guideline only.


Famous pieces of jewellery

Heart of the Ocean Diamond

Made famous in the Titanic movie, this Harry Winston Sapphire has an estimated price of $20 million and is an exact replica of the piece of jewellery from the Titanic. It is the most expensive piece of jewellery ever worn at the Oscars and replicas are being sold for $3.5 million in auction sales.


Marie Antoinette Necklace

A stunning necklace that belonged to Marie Antoinette. The dazzling necklace is adorned with numerous white diamonds along with two rare yellow diamonds in oval shape, and one stunning exceptional pink diamond at the bottom.


Princess Margaret Diamond Monogram Brooch and Poltimore Tiara

Princess Margaret possessed some of the best jewellery in the world including the Diamond Monogram Brooch and Poltimore Tiara. The tiara was designed in old cut diamond clusters along with dazzling diamond-set scroll motifs. The special feature of this stunning tiara is that it can be converted to a necklace and eleven stunning brooches. The Brooch was designed with the initial letter of HSH name ‘M’ monogram beneath a coronet.


Sapphire ring

The stunning sapphire ring that Kate Middleton inherited on her engagement: gifted by Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer on their engagement. Oval sapphire, surrounded by round brilliant cut diamonds is one of the most expensive diamond rings in the world.


Emerald and Diamond Tiara

This beautiful tiara belonged to Swedish princess, and the Countess Consort Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck. The tiara made of Shizuka Diamond is approximately 101.27 carats in weight and was sold by Sotheby’s sale of Magnificent Jewels. 


By Telsha Arora

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