What does an engraver do?
Engravers use specialized tools to etch images and text into a variety of metals such as gold, silver, steel, and copper. They often engrave names, dates, and short phrases into a variety of jewelry such as rings, necklaces, and pendants. They meet with a variety of customers to discuss the desired designs and often assist customers with their decisions. They typically begin their engraving tasks by drawing the design onto the piece of jewelry and then carefully follow the design during the incising process. They file down any sharp edges and sometimes add paint or gems to a finished piece. They present the piece to customers and make the necessary changes as needed. Engravers often use magnifying glasses and precision hand tools to perform their engraving tasks. Some use laser technology to create more extensive designs.
What kind of training does an engraver need?
Engravers must have at least a high school diploma, but many have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with concentration on engraving. Others obtain certificates in jewelry making and repair. Many community colleges and vocational and technical schools offer programs for engravers. Some engravers complete apprenticeships that combine classroom instruction and on the job training. Prospective engravers often complete courses in jewelry design, engraving, chemistry, electronics, and physics. Most employers provide on the job training to enable new engravers to learn the necessary policies and procedures. Many new engravers start out shadowing experienced workers and move on to independent tasks as the gain the necessary skills. Engravers often complete continuing education and additional training as needed throughout their careers.
What are the prospects for a career as an engraver?
Employment of engravers is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions, increasing 5% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The continued growth of imported jewelry will contribute to the slow job growth.
Job prospects should be favorable especially for engravers with advanced training and extensive experience. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace engravers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do engravers make?
As of February 2010, the average annual salary for engravers is $26,000; average annual engraver salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as an engraver is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in jewelry and performing a variety of engraving tasks. Engravers must have a solid understanding of jewelry making and repair. Detail orientation, manual dexterity, mechanical aptitude, good vision, and good eye-hand coordination are essential characteristics. Engravers must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to interact with a variety of customers and other workers.