Thinking of getting into jewelry design? Read this.
Becoming a jewelry designer takes skill and effort no matter which path you choose, and there are pros and cons to each path. Here are the 3 most common directions new jewelry designers take when starting out.
1. The “Slow” Route
If you want to follow this path, you most likely have to start by going to school for jewelry design. Respected art and fashion schools like Pratt and FIT offer certificates and degrees in jewelry design and production, as well as access to internships and other resources. Coursework would include illustration, learning digital CAD design, basic bench work experience, etc.
Ideally, in this scenario you’re able to secure an entry level job as a designer at a company like Tiffany & Co or another big brand. However, be careful to do extensive research on the program you choose and make sure the classes teach how to make functional CAD designs that have real world jewelry application.
If you decide to choose this route, it will take years of work, learning and experience in order to make a comfortable wage. This path is a long and the training involved is extensive, but if you’re able to get your foot in the door, it’s a reliable and well-paid career path.
2. The “Medium” Pace Route
For a somewhat faster route, you can make your own handcrafted pieces and launch a jewelry collection or company. Following this path, you have a little more flexibility in terms of how you learn the craft. To start, you can either go to school for jewelry design, take individual or online classes, or teach yourself. You can also intern or apprentice at a jewelry manufacturer to learn production skills and digital design. Since you're not working within the confines of a corporate environment, you have the freedom to create the designs you want and have total control over the final product.
This path would take time to develop skills and build your collection from scratch, and although you’d be spending a lot of time and money on training, there’s no guarantee your jewelry collection will take off. Still, if you're not looking to work for a high-end brand and are more interested in becoming an entrepreneur, this path can save you a lot of time
3. The “Fast” Route
For the fastest (and most common way) to become a designer, you can partner with a jewelry design and production studio. Although it’s certainly helpful, you don’t even need basic drawing skills, as the studio can translate your ideas into designs. Essentially, a custom jewelry studio can produce your entire collection with your guidance along the way.
Although producing the initial collection certainly costs money, this is the least risky of the 3 options. You can see how your jewelry performs on the market relatively quickly, and don’t have to invest years of effort into working on the manufacturing side. However, make sure you partner with a studio that has experience working with designers, rather than a studio that just produces custom engagement rings, etc.
Although there’s a ton of information on the first two paths that you can find easily online, there’s not so much on the 3rd path. If you’re interested in exploring the “fast” route further, our blog on the topic is a good start.
Regardless of the path you choose, becoming a well-known jewelry designer is possible with the right combination of skills and determination.