We offer informal job placement assistance. Employers from all parts of the jewelry industry send us information about jobs. Most jobs are in manufacturing and retail, which may involve repairs and custom work. We post all listings on our job board, which is available for students. The majority of the jobs are in the Bay Area and California, as well as around the country and even abroad. There is no guarantee that there will be a posting for a job in your area at the time you graduate. However, most of our serious graduates have found employment within a reasonable time after graduation. For information about some of the jobs currently available in the jewelry industry, visit the Job Resources section of our links page.
Jobs in the Jewelry Industry
There are many different types of jobs available in the jewelry industry. Approximately 30% of jewelers across the U.S. are self-employed. The remaining 70% work for retail stores, manufacturing companies, repair shops, or perform trade work. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Handbook describes jobs available in the jewelry industry below.
“Some jewelers design or make their own jewelry. Following their own designs, or those created by Designers or customers, they begin by shaping the metal or by carving wax to make a model for casting the metal. The individual parts then are soldered together, and the jeweler may mount a diamond or other gem, or engrave a design into the metal. Others do finishing work, such as setting stones, polishing, or engraving. Typical repair work includes enlarging or reducing ring sizes, resetting stones, and replacing broken clasps and mountings.
In manufacturing, jewelers usually specialize in a single operation. Mold and model makers create models or tools for the jewelry that is to be produced. Assemblers connect by soldering or fusing the metal and may set stones. Engravers may etch [sic[ designs into the metal, and polishers polish the metal and stones to perfect the piece. In small retail stores or repair shops, jewelers may be involved in all aspects of the work. Jewelers who own or manage stores or shops also hire and train employees; order, market, and sell merchandise; and perform other managerial duties.” Read more about working conditions, employment and job outlook.
Jewelry Industry Wages
Recent graduates have told us they start out between $15 and $25 per hour. Depending on your employer, you may also receive benefits. Below are the nationwide statistics on earning potential for jewelers according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
• National hourly wage range in 2014 was between 15.69 to $17.45 per hour.
• Average annual salary was $36,290.
Most jewelers start out with a base salary. Once they become more proficient, they might begin charging by the number of pieces completed. Jewelers who work in retail stores may earn a commission for each piece of jewelry sold, in addition to their base salary. Many jewelers also enjoy a variety of benefits, including reimbursement from their employers for work-related courses and discounts on jewelry purchases. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor web site.