Designing jewelry is the perfect career path for creative individuals who like to express themselves through the art of making jewelry. Jewelry designers make an average annual income of around 37,000, and on the higher pay spectrum, jewelry designers can make around 80,000 plus. Requirements to become a jewelry designer are not set in stone, but there are a few tips one should know to make their journey to become a jewelry designer a little smoother.

How to begin

Becoming a jewelry designer will not require a certificate or some mandatory amount of schooling, but it will require that you have the right skills. Participating in craft fairs, contests and exhibits will be a good place to start. Having a portfolio will allow potential clients and employers to look back at ones completed handcrafted Jewelry designs. Participating in contests is another way to open doors in the jewelry design industry. The American Jewelry Design New Talent Competitions offers winners the opportunity to receive a booth at the summer Jewelers of America Show in New York, and the winner will have time dedicated to them in the media. Actively searching out for events to participate in can provide an opportunity to network with established people in the industry. A collection of tools will be required to make different jewelry types. A variety of pliers is a must-have for any jewelry designer. pliers come in handy for multiple tasks like gripping wires and cutting wires.

Schooling

There is no mandatory amount of schooling or degree that is needed to become a jewelry designer but obtaining a certificate or bachelor’s in fine arts can help an individual perfect their skills. Some employers prefer hiring individuals who have graduated or obtained a certificate because they require less on-the-job training before they can start. Students can expect to take courses in metalwork, gemology, fashion history and drawing for design while in school for jewelry design. There are a variety of training programs and schools that offer jewelry design courses. Taking the time to compare program courses will help differentiate which programs are the most qualified. Taking elective courses in things like business administration, entrepreneurship and merchandising can come in handy later for future entrepreneurs.

Freelance

With websites like Etsy existing, there has never been an easier time to sell your handcrafted jewelry online. Whether you are looking to find work on or offline, having a portfolio will be required to demonstrate your capabilities. Vacancies are often not advertised in the jewelry design industry, so like most freelance jobs, extreme motivation is required. The design field requires an individual to search for opportunities to network and opportunities to differentiate one’s name from the competition. Being able to sketch or create 3-D models will give you an advantage and it allows employers to see one’s skill levels. There are places like freelance.com, upwork.com or Fiverr.com that allow an artist to pick or post requests for jobs. Starting a blog is another way for freelancers to gain exposure. A blog can become a way to network and a source of income. Starting a blog will require a tremendous amount of dedication, but along with providing exposure, it can provide the opportunity to become immersed in the jewelry design industry and to keep up with the latest contests and events.

Putting in the time

Bringing handcrafted jewelry designs to the world will require dedication and some sketch or 3-D design capabilities. Higher schooling isn’t required but some schools will help connect graduates to real-world work and a source of income. With enough patience and knowledge, one should be able to network and build connections in the industry to become a successful jewelry designer.