Jewellery designers may produce designs for:
- mass-produced jewellery manufacturers
- small scale craft jewellery makers
- one-off bespoke pieces, often to commission.
A jewellery designer working for a manufacturing company is likely to be expected to:
- source ideas for seasonal collections
- create designs which reflect the current brand or create new brands
- meet the company’s requirements in terms of style and quality.
- source materials such as gems, metals and other components
- produce technical specifications for manufacturers
- create samples from their designs to show to customers
- travel overseas several times a year
- be expected to design other products, such as accessories.
In some companies, designers are involved in managing all or part of the production process.
A commercial jewellery designer is likely to use CAD (computer-aided design). They may use other software packages, such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Some produce, and work from, hand-drawn designs.
Depending on the type of company, designers may meet suppliers and business customers. These can include jewellery wholesalers and retailers – for example, shops that might wish to stock the designer’s work.
Some designers have contact with customers. Some jewellery manufacturers also have retail shops which employ designers. They work with customers to create individualised pieces of jewellery. They may create their own designs, to a customer’s specifications, or they may work from the company’s design catalogue.
Other jewellery designers are self-employed, working in their own studio, alone or with others. They are more likely to produce designs for small-scale production or for one-off bespoke designs. They may make the jewellery themselves, using other jewellery techniques such as stone setting or metalsmithing.
How can I become a jewellery designer?
It is important to have creative flair.
If you work for a jewellery company you will need:
- good time management skills
- IT skills as well as drawing skills
- commercial awareness as well as design skills.
Employers may also expect you to have practical jewellery-making skills, so you can make samples of your designs.
It’s important to be a good communicator. You need to be able to describe your designs and get your ideas across to customers, whether they are commercial manufacturers or buyers or members of the public.
If you are self-employed, you need business skills so you can market your goods and services, deal with finances and develop your business.