Graduation Project Research Paper
29 March 2014
Jewelry-Making Techniques and Career
A gemstone is defined as “a stone that can be used in jewelry when it is cut and polished” (Merriam-Webster). Jewelers and gemologists (gem specialists) are two possible career choices for someone who wishes to work in the jewelry industry (CFNC). Jewelers cut, shape, repair, and sell jewelry and determine the value of gemstones (CFNC). Gemologists can be a little more specialized. According to the Gemological Institute of America’s website, these specialized fields can include appraisal, design, buying, wholesale, and working as a bench jeweler, lab and research professional, auction specialist, or manufacturer (GIA).
To become a gemologist, a student should get a degree from a specialized school to earn the credentials required for the occupation (GIA). The Gemological Institute of America is an example of a school that specializes in gems, and diamonds and diamond grading, colored stones and colored stone grading, gem identification, equipment and instrumentation, treatments, synthetics, and imitations, and markets and supply chains are all topics that are covered in their Graduate Gemologist program (GIA).
As a jeweler, a student should know or learn basic jewelry-making and jewelry repair techniques (CFNC). Some basic jewelry techniques include the making of jewelry, the repair of jewelry, the cutting and smoothing of stones, the setting of stones, and jewelry design (CFNC). A jeweler may also need to identify, appraise, and buy and sell jewelry, and often “serves as agent between buyers and sellers” (CFNC).Important transferable skills include “fitting and joining small parts”, producing designs, and “using precision measuring instruments” (CFNC). Vocational and technical schools can teach jewelers techniques, and some jewelers learn more about the trade while at work (CFNC). This means that both post-secondary training and on-the-job training is required to satisfy the education and training requirements of becoming a jeweler (CFNC). Science and math skills are also of “medium” importance (CFNC).
People in these careers in North Carolina make $24,020 at entry level, $36,720 on average, and $54,690 as an experienced worker for an annual wage (CFNC). The average hourly wage also changes based on experience level; the average hourly wage is $18, but at entry level, the hourly wage is about $12, and at a more experienced level it is about $26 (CFNC). These numbers also vary by city and state, but on average, non-metropolitan areas in Western Central North Carolina have much lower wages than that, the average wage being $30,320, entry level being $24,950, and experienced being $40,240 (CFNC). Nationwide, the average annual wage is $38,840, but the average annual wage ranges from $19,600 to $61,940 (CFNC).
Regardless of what career someone who wishes to work with gems chooses, someone who works with jewelry must know how to take care of...