How to Break into the Jewelry Industry

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jul 9, 2018

Jul 9, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Do you love beautiful jewelry, unique stone, and incredible settings? If so, the jewelry business may be the perfect place for you to build your career.

There are many, many jobs available in the jewelry industry. Everyone from designers to gemologists can find rewarding work. But how do you get started?

It can seem intimidating to try to break into a new business, but don't worry. There are a lot of opportunities - you can even start your own business in this industry! Discover the tips and ideas you need below.

Learn All You Can

The first thing you need to do to break into the jewelry business is to learn everything you can about jewelry. From metalworking to gemology, you can get started on the International Gem Society website. Their online certification is a great way to prove your skills.

From there, start to understand how jewelry is made. Research the difference between natural and lab-created diamonds. Find out how gems are rated and how to ethically source them.

Research creation styles as well. There are a variety of techniques, from "folk art" to more professional and high-scale pieces. Discover what you enjoy most.

Make a few pieces and get some feedback. Ask your friends and family, but find professionals to ask as well. You can ask local jewelers - humbly - what they think.

Be ready for feedback and learn to incorporate it into your designs. Keep growing and learning. If you aren't willing to take feedback and improve, you probably won't make it in this business.

Create or Specialize

Different people have different talents. One approach is to learn how to create jewelry and sell it to others. However, you don't have to create full pieces yourself.

You may find that you are fascinated with a specific process, or that you're particularly good at one aspect of jewelry making. You may decide to become a specialist in just that area.

Examples include gem cutting, jewelry design, or developing relationships with gem suppliers. If you become especially good at one part of the jewelry process, you can specialize and find work in just that area.

To find work, use online job search engines. Or, start working at a jewelry store and look for apprenticeships to move into specialized areas.

Also, don't be shy about asking around as you make friends in the jewelry business. Many jobs are found through word-of-mouth.

Finding Work in a Jewelry Store

Getting work in a retail jewelry store can be a great way to get your foot in the door. You may not want to be a sales associate your entire life, but having that job can help you see behind the scenes in a jewelry business.

You can use your retail time to build relationships, get first-hand experience, and learn more. You may be able to transition from a sales associate to a manager, or jewel specialist, or another position within the company.

Don't take your time as an associate lightly, though. No one makes money by simply creating beautiful work - it has to be sold. Learning sales skills is absolutely vital for your career in jewelry.

Being a good sales associate requires a lot of the same skills you'll need as you advance. These include being comfortable talking about the details of jewelry with people, making appropriate recommendations, and excelling at both verbal and non-verbal communication.

If you succeed, you'll likely be given a chance to move up. You may have a chance to become a manager, or the ability to apply for more behind-the-scenes work as a jewelry creator or designer.

Start Your Own Jewelry Business

If you love to work for yourself, you may want to go into business for yourself as a jewelry designer. This gives you the chance to express your own talents and style without having to stick to a corporate design plan.

Before you get started in your own business, find a way to work in someone else's business to learn the particulars. Things like how to find suppliers, how to set prices appropriately, and more will help you as you build your own business.

As you start on your own, remember that no one who runs their own business is in the jewelry business. They are all in the selling jewelry business. If you want your company to succeed, you have to focus on marketing and sales just as much as design.

Creating jewelry as a hobby is a very different thing from having a jewelry business. Consider this carefully before you decide to go out on your own.

Get Started With Your First Job in the Jewelry Business

The jewelry business is a unique industry because a college degree is less important than hands-on experience. If you start at a jewelry store and secure an apprenticeship, or move up into management, you can do very well without higher education.

There are a lot of ways to gain the training and skills you need without college, which makes it a great industry for those who don't want to attend, or aren't cut out for, a university degree. Weekend classes, seminars, online training, and hands-on studio and lab classes are all available.

The best way to get started in the jewelry business is simply to get started! You can get a job as a retail sales associate to get your foot in the door, or ask around about apprenticeships or training programs. You can easily find opportunities online.

Getting your first jewelry job doesn't have to be intimidating. Get started with a search on Washington Post National Jobs today!