What does a bench jeweler do?
Bench jewelers are professionals that are typically employed by retailers that specialize in jewelry. They perform a variety of tasks such as cleaning and sizing jewelry, cutting stones, engraving, setting stones, creating models, polishing gems and metals, brazing, and fabrication. They also perform necessary repairs and adjustments on earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, and other jewelry. Some bench jewelers fulfill special orders from customers and create customized jewelry from scratch using a variety of materials and equipment. Bench jewelers use many different types of equipment such as lasers and computer-aided design software. They also work with a variety of materials such as gold, platinum, titanium, and a variety of gemstones.
What kind of training does a bench jeweler need?
Bench jewelers must have at least a high school diploma. Many learn their skills through on the job training, but some complete formal training at vocational and technical schools. Some bench jewelers also complete formal apprenticeship programs. Many aspiring bench jewelers complete training in computer-aided design to remain competitive in the field. Most employers provide on the job training for new bench jewelers to gain the necessary skills and experience. The training typically takes several months to complete and consists on instruction on engraving, setting stones, casting, and creating models. Many bench jewelers gain voluntary certification such as the Certified Bench Jeweler Technician from Jewelers of America. The requirements include minimum training and passing a written and practical examination.
What are the prospects for a career as a bench jeweler?
Employment of bench jewelers is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions, increasing 5% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The increase in demand for customized jewelry will create some job growth.
Job prospects should be favorable especially for bench jewelers with extensive experience. Some job openings will result from the need to replace bench jewelers that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.
How much do bench jewelers make?
As of January 2010, the average annual salary for bench jewelers is $28,000; average annual bench jeweler salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as a bench jeweler is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in jewelry and creating custom designs. Bench jewelers must have a solid understanding on creating many different types of jewelry. Manual dexterity, precision, patience, good hand-eye coordination, and detail orientation are necessary characteristics. Bench jewelers must also have good artistic ability and creativity. They must have good communication and interpersonal skills because they often interact with a variety of customers. They must also be flexible because they often have to work variable hours to meet strict deadlines and the needs of customers.