How to Become a Jewelry Designer
Jewellery is everywhere. Everywhere our eye turns we see either women or men, flaunting a dashing piece of jewellery you just can’t take your eyes off. But among all these exclusive and intricate design that always seem to be in fashion, we often miss out on the fact of how it’s being made and the hard work that goes behind creating this exquisite piece of art.
Almost every piece of jewellery you see on the market or on the bodies of your most favourite celebrities came from the workshop of a jewellery designer. Although this career is not much spoken of, if you do a quick Google research, you will find that this is one of the highest paying careers out there. But while this career choice might look easy and comfortable from the outside, the path to becoming a successful jewellery designer can often throw a lot of challenges at you and thus, knowing what to do and how to approach a situation is one of the most important things you should do.
If you type, how to become a successful jewellery designer on Google search, you will come across multiple articles all of which will try to explain the career in the best possible way, but due to this chaos and lack of proper information students and patrons often get confused and thus, in this article we will explain how to become a jewellery designer and how you can get started today.
What is Jewellery Designing and What Do Professional Jewelry Designers Do?
In the simplest of terms, a piece of jewellery is a work of art where a designer’s personal stories, luxury and traditional craftsmanship intertwine. Depending on whether you work as an in house professional for a big brand or you run your own, the most important part of a jewellery designer’s career involves in providing a consistent artistic vision of an idea he or she has in their mind.
We say that a strong artistic vision is necessary because just having an idea won’t make the cut in this industry and a way to make the idea into a reality is what matters. If you take a look at the day to day life of a professional jewellery designer, it usually involves
- Brainstorming an idea by taking inspiration from various sources.
- Modelling the idea via a computer-aided software and rendering the final design.
- Choosing an assortment of stones and gems which will match the design.
- Forming a putty
- Placing the gems or stones in the putty and creating a rough design.
But the process does not end here. The above-mentioned steps are only a part of the pre-production and much more needs to be done before the jewellery can finally make it to stores and distribution chains.
After all the above steps are complete, the post-production phase is started which involves:
- Creating a 3D-printed prototype of the design
- Sending the prototype to the design head for approval and simultaneous changes if needed.
- After the approval, the design is sent to the goldsmith who does the metal-casting and stone-setting, as well as more niche technical tasks like engraving and enamelling.
Although jewellery designers don’t need to have an in-depth understanding of the post-production stages, having a basic knowledge will help them create designs which can be produced and worn by consumers.
How to Get Started to Become a Jewellery Designer
If you want to become a jewellery designer, one of the first things you need to take care of them is the fact that you need to educate.
- This education might either be in the form of a formal course at a University or you may choose to self teach yourself.
- Either of the options you choose, the importance of being educated plays a very important role if you want to become a successful jewellery designer.
If you go by the first option of enrolling yourself for a jewellery designing course at a University, then upon research you will come across the fact that the course duration typically varies from 6 months to 3 years, depending on the degree and the institution of your choice.
- The most attractive feature of joining a degree from a reputed institution lies in the fact that almost all Universities have a paid apprenticeship with big brands in the industry at the end of their courses.
- This apprenticeship not only helps the students get better exposure of the world out there but also helps them understand how jewellery design actually works in the real world.
- Jewellery design is one of those elite career choices which requires an immense amount of hands-on knowledge and thus doing an apprenticeship will really help a student move up in their career; and being a paid one, it is a win-win situation at all times.
Depending on the University and course you choose to get educated in jewellery design, the selection process might include a basic interview process, a bench test, where the student is asked to display their knowledge in measuring, cutting, forming and soldering skills and also a portfolio review. Most universities around the world follow this standard procedure and also require the student to score a certain cut off marks in their 12th and 10th board exams before getting selected.
How to Make Yourself Stand Out As a Successful Jewellery Designer?
As mentioned in the introduction paragraph, jewellery designing is one such career choice which is rapidly easing its demand and thus the number of applicants each year continues to grow. To make yourself stand out among the crowd, one of the best things you can possibly do is make a stunning portfolio.
But while most students may shabbily choose projects to display, you need to dive deeper to make the reviewer understand the thought process behind your designs. Just showing the final design won’t make the cut and students are always advised to include mood boards and presentations in their portfolio which will help the reviewer understand their thinking, their problem solving, [and] how they have come to a certain solution. Just by showcasing the final product won’t make your portfolio stand out and thus all the steps mentioned above are important ingredients for success.
Another alternative way of becoming a successful jewellery designer is by honing one’s expertise in a particular skill, like goldsmithing. Many successful designers around the world have chosen this path and have proved to become successful later on; a prominent example being Bille Brahe who trained for 5 years as a goldsmith from the Copenhagen Technical School of Design & Technology before enrolling on an MA course at London’s Royal College of Art.
- Being an aspiring jewellery designer, not having expertise in a particular skill won’t take you too far in your journey.
- The entire process of creating jewellery that is simply stunning becomes hollow if the student doesn’t hone their expertise in one particular skill.
Similar to goldsmithing, one more skill that will help anyone who wants to be a fashion designer is sketching. Having an artistic vision and sketching skills to convert the idea into a pen and paper design is what sets a student apart from the rest of the crowd.
How to Go from a Student to a Successful Jewelry Designer?
Now that you know the two ways you can get yourself educated in the art of jewellery designing, the part of marketing yourself as an expert and landing a job is important. According to experts in jewellery designing from around the world, having a stunning portfolio and skills to show off are two of the most important skills when looking for a job. Having a portfolio matters because without the recruiter won’t be able to understand your thinking process and how much skill and value you will add to their brand and without expert skill, you will not be able to convert your ideas into tangible designs, and therefore both of these are extremely important.
When it comes to designing your portfolio, the best bet is to stick between 6 to 8 designs and not more, while showing expertise in technical sketching and CAD, as well as your creative research and consideration of materials, are important skills to master.
While most universities and academic institutions have placement sections which help students land a job as easily as possible, the best opportunities lie at the other end of research. By research, we mean that you have invested a substantial amount of time in networking with the who’s who of the industry, brands that are making an impact and most importantly recruiters. The former two, mostly don’t mention their current openings in public and expects candidates to personally reach out to them and enquire for a position. Having a way with writing emails and substantial marketing skills will help you get a job in your dream brand and networking with people who matter will give you the boost you require. Students always need to remember that the fashion industry is one which runs on word of mouth marketing and thus knowing the right people can mean a job at your dream brand in no time.
Practice is the key to Success to Become a Lead Jewellery Designer
Once you have been hired by a big brand in the industry, one of the first things you should do is set a resolution to keep learning and keep growing. Try out different courses, workshops, and seminars to increase your knowledge as well as hands-on technical skills in the first two years of your career, so that you gain as much valuable knowledge as you can.
While schooling is important and most big brands take notice of it, they make all the trainees and new recruits go through their own training modules so that they better understand the requirements of the brand and how to incorporate the brand’s image, idea and business goals into their designs.
In the jewellery designing industry, one of the most important aspects of succeeding is communication. Without proper communication skills, your designs and ideas won’t make it to the market and thus you should start working on this as early as possible.
In big brands, which hire a lot of designers and craftsmen, internal communication between the designer and the artisan is important because, they are responsible for actually interpreting the design and making it into a jewellery that consumers will purchase. While competition is high in big brands which have a lot of employees on their payroll, things are a bit easier for small brands, but the fact remains that communication is the key to success.
Marketing and Branding
Just like any other creative business in the industry, marketing and reaching out to your customers is of the utmost importance. Thus in between designing and creating ideas, you need to focus and market yourself properly. This is important both if you work for an organization or you have a small business of your own.
One pro tip that experts around the world agree with is, consider yourself as a brand and not an individual and start from there. Market yourself and as you grow to hire professionals to spread the word. You need to remember, that if you intend to succeed in this ever increasing competition, you need to start your marketing efforts very seriously.
Becoming one of the most well-known jewellery designers in the world is not a one day job. It is art that takes time to flourish, therefore aim for starting small, hone your skills along the way and then start growing slowly but steadily.