Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers can enter the occupation on the basis of their education, which is typically earning a high school diploma, or receive on-the-job training, or a combination of the two.
Although most jewelers and precious stone and metal workers have a high school diploma, many trade schools offer courses for workers who seek additional education. Course topics can include introduction to gems and metals, resizing, repair, and computer-aided design (CAD). Programs vary from 6 months to 1 year, and many teach students how to design, cast, set, and polish jewelry and gems, as well as how to use and care for a jeweler's tools and equipment. Graduates of these programs may be more attractive to employers because they require less on-the-job training. Many gemologists graduate from the Gemological Institute of America. Trade programs usually require applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Some jewelers learn on the job. For example, in jewelry manufacturing plants, workers develop their skills through on-the-job training. The length of training required to become proficient depends on the difficulty of the specialty. Training usually focuses on casting, setting stones, making models, or engraving.
Some workers gain their skills through related work experience. This may include working alongside a bench jeweler or gemologist while performing the duties of a sales person in a retail jewelry store. Time spent in a store with a bench jeweler or gemologist can provide valuable experience.
In manufacturing, some jewelers advance to supervisory jobs, such as master jeweler or head jeweler. Jewelers who work in jewelry stores or repair shops may become managers.
Artistic ability. Jewelers must have the ability to create designs that are unique and beautiful.
Detail oriented. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers must pay attention to large and small details on the pieces they make.
Dexterity. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers must precisely move their fingers and tools in order to grasp, manipulate, and assemble very small objects.
Fashion sense. Jewelry designers must know what is stylish and attractive and presently in demand by consumers.
Interpersonal skills. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers interact with customers, whether they sell products in stores or at craft shows.
Near vision. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers need the ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Visualization skills. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers must imagine how something might look after its shape is altered or when its parts are rearranged.