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At a Glance

  • Design, make, repair, appraise, and sell jewelry
  • Often specialize in one or more areas
  • May work with customers
  • Train on the job
  • Use their hands for fine detail work

Career summary

Jewelers design, make, and repair rings, necklaces, earrings, and other jewelry.

Jewelers who work with silver may be called silversmiths.

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Jewelers usually specialize in one or more type of jewelry. They may specialize in a type of jewelry such as rings or they may specialize by material such as gold or silver.

Jewelers shape metal using hand tools or lathes. Sometimes they use wax to make models and use the models to cast and shape pieces. They solder pieces together. They mount gems or stones on some pieces. On other pieces they may engrave a design.

Repair work may include sizing rings, resetting stones, straightening twisted silver, and replacing broken clasps.

Most jewelers use a variety of common and specialized hand tools to do their work. These include hammers, pliers, drills, and hand engravers. Some jewelers use computers to design and create custom pieces according to their customers’ wishes.

In jewelry manufacturing, jewelers will usually do one operation in the process of completing a piece. For example, some jewelers shape pieces on which others do finish work such as polishing or engraving.

Many jewelers now use lasers to cut stones, engrave designs, or do other precise work. Some firms use computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD and CAM) in the production process.

Jewelers may specialize one of several areas:

Precious metals

Precious metal workers work primarily on gold, silver, and other metals.


Gemologists analyze and certify gemstones. They use microscopes and grading instruments to examine stones and finished pieces of jewelry. They write reports based on their findings.

Jewelry appraisal

Jewelers who are knowledgeable about the quality and value of gems appraise jewelry. To make appraisals, they examine jewelry and gems to determine if they are genuine and to appraise their value.


Bench jewelers usually work for jewelry retailers making repairs and cleaning jewelry.

Jewelers who own or manage stores or shops also have managerial duties. They hire, train, and supervise employees. In addition, they order and sell merchandise.

Related careers

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to jewelers.

Common work activities

Jewelers perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, jewelers:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Jewelers frequently:

It is important for jewelers to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for jewelers to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Jewelers need to:

Reason and problem solve

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a jeweler, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Some jewelers learn their skills at vocational or technical schools. You can also learn the trade through correspondence courses or on-the-job training. Colleges and art and design schools offer bachelor's and master's degrees in jewelry design.

If you are interested in working in a jewelry store or repair shop, vocational and technical schools are good sources of training. These programs vary in length from six months to one year. In these programs, you learn to use and care for jewelers' tools and machines. You also learn basic jewelry making and repairing skills. Technical school courses also cover topics such as blueprint reading, math, and shop theory. In addition, you need training in computer-aided design (CAD) if you are interested in jewelry design and manufacturing.

Work experience

If you are interested in starting your own business, you should first build your skills and reputation. Having experience as a jeweler makes it easier to gain credit from jewelry suppliers and obtain inventory. In addition, you should have sales experience and knowledge of business management. Courses in these areas are available from technical schools and community colleges.

On-the-job training

Many jewelers develop their skills through on-the-job training. Training usually focuses on casting, setting stones, making models, or engraving. Training typically lasts at least at least one year.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

Many jewelers are self-employed. If you want to run your own business some day, you should consider taking these courses as well:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have formal training. They prefer graduates of technical school or college programs in jewelry making and design. Many employers prefer jewelers with design, repair, and sales skills.

Employers look for jewelers with good finger and hand control and good hand-eye coordination. Patience and the ability to concentrate are also important. In some jobs, employers look for artistic ability and a good fashion sense. For jobs where jewelers will have customer contact, employers prefer applicants who are neat and who get along well with people. Knowledge of the merchandise is also important. In addition, employers want workers who are trustworthy, because jewelers work with very valuable materials.


Additional study of geology, gemology, and business management is helpful.

Costs to workers

Workers may wish to join a professional association, which may have annual dues. They may also need to purchase one or more tool sets that includes hand and power tools.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers (SOC 51-9071)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $13.08 $15.10 $18.76 $22.64 $25.52
Monthly $2,267 $2,617 $3,251 $3,924 $4,423
Yearly $27,200 $31,400 $39,010 $47,080 $53,090
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $15.67 $17.83 $21.08 $23.87 $27.20
Monthly $2,716 $3,090 $3,653 $4,137 $4,714
Yearly $32,585 $37,087 $43,856 $49,659 $56,570
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $12.83 $13.83 $16.05 $23.55 $27.72
Monthly $2,223 $2,397 $2,781 $4,081 $4,804
Yearly $26,683 $28,754 $33,384 $48,979 $57,653
    Vancouver Hourly $15.69 $17.51 $20.89 $25.94 $35.74
Monthly $2,719 $3,034 $3,620 $4,495 $6,194
Yearly $32,640 $36,421 $43,445 $53,947 $74,341
United States Hourly $11.31 $14.36 $18.96 $25.10 $32.33
Monthly $1,960 $2,489 $3,286 $4,350 $5,603
Yearly $23,530 $29,860 $39,440 $52,210 $67,250

Wages vary based on the jeweler's duties and level of experience. Wages also vary by area of the country and by employer. Jewelers in larger companies usually earn more than those in small shops.

Benefits vary by employer. Salaried jewelers who work full time generally receive benefits such as paid vacation and health insurance. Many employers also provide payment for work-related courses and discounts on jewelry purchases. Self-employed jewelers must provide their own insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers (SOC 51-9071)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 761 6.0% 16.1% 92
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 113 1.8% 11.9% 12
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 37 5.4% 15.2% 4
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 14 0.0% 14.1% 1
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 32 6.3% 14.6% 4
    King County 217 -1.8% 19.6% 21
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 108 35.2% 13.8% 21
    Pierce County 49 16.3% 15.2% 7
    Spokane County 167 -3.6% 13.9% 16
United States 38,100 -7.6% 5.2% 4,400

National employment

About 32% of all jewelers are self-employed. Some own their own stores or repair shops. Others specialize in designing and creating custom jewelry.

Major employers:

National outlook

This occupation will experience significant decline because most jewelry is made outside the US. Traditional jewelry stores have lost customers to department stores and online sellers. Bench workers who can clean and repair jewelry will still be in demand. This is because jewelry stores are one of the few places customers can get jewelry repaired.

The outlook for those who manufacture jewelry is mixed. Workers who do basic jobs may be replaced by machines. However, workers who do creative or highly skilled tasks are less likely to be replaced.

Most job opportunities will occur as jewelers retire. The best opportunities will be for graduates from a jeweler or gemologist training program.

Other resources

American Craft Council (external link)
1224 Marshall Street NE, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55413
American Gem Society (external link)
8881 West Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89117
Careers in Gems and Jewelry (external link)
(from the Gemological Institute of America)
Gemological Institute of America (external link)
The Robert Mouawad Campus
5345 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Jewelers of America (external link)
120 Broadway, Suite 2820
New York, NY 10271
Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (external link)
8 Hayward Street
Attleboro, MA 02703
Metalcyberspace (external link)
Metalsmithing and jewelry design schools and related resources
National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (external link)
PO Box 18
Rego Park, NY 11374-0018
National Endowment for the Arts (external link)
400 - 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20506
Society of American Silversmiths (external link)
PO Box 786
West Warwick, Rhode Island 02893
Society of North American Goldsmiths (external link)
PO Box 1355
Eugene, OR 97440
Washington Business Week (external link)
PO Box 1170
Renton, WA 98057


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupations

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational clusters