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Jewelry School: Jewelry Making and Design Courses

If you are interested in making or designing jewelry as a career choice, you will need to get specialized training at a jewelry design school. Jewelry design schools around the country offer training in jewelry making techniques, design, metal fabrication, stone setting and more. Some independent jewelry makers and jewelers offer their own jewelry making course program and workshops for aspiring jewelry makers. Whether you are seeking a career as a jewelry maker or designer, or are just a hobbyist who wants to advance your skills in the art of jewelry making, you can take a professional jewelry making course at a jewelry design school or studio in your area.

Common Courses and Programs at Jewelry Design Schools

Many jewelry design schools offer several types of programs for students who want to become a Certified Bench Jeweler or a Certified Jeweler Designer. Certified bench jewelers are trained to work in a jewelry store environment to repair chains, size rings, install and restore locks, set stones and replace watch batteries. This type of certification typically leads to an entry level position in the field.

Certified jeweler designers learn how to design different types of jewelry using metal fabrication, wax techniques and other special techniques. These jewelry professionals typically complete several hundred hours of hands-on training and must take classes in metal theory, testing of metals, buying and selling of metals and other topics related to the industry.

Some of the most common types of courses and programs available at jewelry design schools include:

  • Basic Jewelry Making
  • Jewelry Repair
  • Diamond Setting
  • Wax Modeling
  • Wax Casting and Molds
  • Jewelry Design and Rendering
  • Pearl and Bead Stringing
  • CAD Design
  • Platinum Skills
  • Diamond Grading
  • Gem Stone Identification

What to Expect when Attending Jewelry Design School

Most jewelry design schools provide students with many hours of hands-on training so that they can perfect their skills and acquire the specialized knowledge they need to excel in their careers. Many courses and training programs available at a jewelry design school teach students the following:

  • Make professional illustrations using colored pencils, special paper and other tools
  • Learn basic metal working techniques including annealing, doming, metals, piercing and drilling
  • Use special embellishment techniques including roller printing, reticulation and granulation
  • Master the art of jewelry design
  • Learn hollow construction techniques including stretching, sinking, die pressing hollow jewelry forms and anticlastic raising
  • Learn how to solder, pierce and rivet different types of metal
  • Identify gemstones and learn which types of stones can withstand heat
  • Practice setting stones using tiffany mountings and bar settings
  • Learn to make and cut rubber molds and use wax injecting techniques

Types of Jewelry Design Schools

A number of design schools and trade schools offer jewelry making and jewelry design programs, certification courses and degrees. Some of the organizations and design schools that offer a jewelry making course and programs in the field of jewelry design include:

  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • NC State University
  • Howard Academy for the Metal Arts
  • American Jewelers Institute
  • 3rd Ward
  • Pratt Institute
  • Pacific Design Academy

Students who cannot attend a jewelry design school near their home can take some jewelry design courses online. Basic online jewelry design courses teach students how to create rings, necklaces, earrings and other types of jewelry using different types of metals and stones, and also how to launch their career as a jewelry designer. An online certificate in jewelry design can help a student market their jewelry repair or designs services, learn how to create and manage a website, and also learn about the latest styles and techniques in the jewelry industry.

Career Options after Jewelry Design School

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 54 percent of all jewelers, precious stone and metal workers are self-employed, as of 2010. Most jewelers learn their trade through vocational schools, correspondence course programs or by working through an apprenticeship with a jeweler or jewelry manufacturer. Some companies do prefer students who have attended jewelry design schools because graduates need less training on the job.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of jewelers and jewelry designers is expected to grow more slowly than average through 2018. However, career opportunities should be favorable for bench jewelers and other skilled jewelers. In May 2008, the median annual wage for jewelers and precious stone and metal workers was $32,940.

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