Jewelry Making and Repair Careers

The highly skilled graduates of the Jewelry Making and Repair program have a wide a variety of careers including jewelry designer for a major company, jewelry repair for a small family-owned shop, and owner of a custom jewelry store.

A sample of jobs held by NBSS graduates:
  • Goldsmith
  • Fashion jewelry designer
  • Fine jewelry designer
  • Design Director for jewelry manufacturer
  • Owner, retail jewelry store specializing in custom pieces
  • Owner, studio and gallery
  • Owner, main stream jewelry store    
  • Hand Engraver
  • Stone setter
  • Gold buyer
A sampling of job titles from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET®):*
  • Precious metal worker includes: Silversmith, Caster, Goldsmith, Artist, Fabricator, Pewterer, Bench Mechanic, Restoration Silversmith, Platinum Smith,
  • Jeweler includes: Bench Jeweler, Jeweler, Goldsmith, Earrings Fabricator, Gemologist
  • Gem and Diamond worker includes: Gemologist, Diamond Cutter, Lapidarist, Diamond Setter, Quality Control Specialist, Diamond Picker, Facetor, Diamond Grader, Diamond Polisher, Diamond Sawer

*For more information, visit US Department of Labor, Occupational Information Network (O*NET®), http://online.onetcenter.org

Job prospects for jewelry making and repair

Below is a general guide to employment conditions for jewelers including education and training, industry growth, job prospects, wages and salaries.  It is difficult to be specific, however, because the job classifications defined by the US Department of Labor (DOL) do not match the highly skilled graduates from NBSS.

The job classification the DOL uses is “Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers”, which includes bench jewelers, mold and model makers, assemblers, engravers, polishers, gemologists, laboratory graders, and jewelry appraisers.

The following information is from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers held about 52,100 jobs in 2008
  • 54 % of these were self-employed
  • 21% were salaried workers working in retail trade, primarily in jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
  • 15% were in jewelry and silverware manufacturing
  • 10% were with merchant wholesalers of miscellaneous durable goods and in repair shops providing repair and maintenance of personal and household goods

Although jewelry stores and repair shops were found in every city and in many small towns, most jobs are in larger metropolitan areas.

Job Growth

Employment of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers is expected to grow by 5% between 2008 and 2018. As consumers seek more custom jewelry, demand for bench jewelers or other skilled jewelers will grow faster than the projected 5% growth of lower skilled manufacturing jobs such as assemblers and polishers that are amenable to automation. During economic downturns, demand for jewelry products and for jewelers may decrease while demand for repair workers should remain strong because maintaining and repairing jewelry is an ongoing process. In fact, demand for jewelry repair may increase during recessions, as people repair or restore existing pieces rather than purchase new ones.

For more information, visit www.bls.gov/oco/ocos222.htm. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

Salaries and Wages


Specific salaries are determined by many factors including education, training, years and type of experience, economic conditions, location, whether you work for yourself or a company, etc. Below is a general guide to help you understand the market.

The following information is from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics:

The national estimate for the average annual salary for jewelers and precious stone and metal workers was $36,620 in May 2008. Average hourly wages were $17.60.

Most jewelers begin with a base salary and, once they become more proficient, they may begin charging by the number of pieces completed. Jewelers who work in retail stores may earn a commission for each piece of jewelry sold. Many jewelers also enjoy a variety of benefits, including reimbursement from their employers for work-related courses and discounts on jewelry purchases.

The following information is from www.payscale.com for individuals with 5 years of experience, working for a company and living in Massachusetts

  Annual Salary, average Hourly Wage, average
 Jeweler $39,715 $17.31
 Precious stone and metal worker $39,879 $17.22
 Jewelry designer
 $45,055 $17.85
For additional information, visit http://www.payscale.com/.

“In 2009, I got a job working for Tiffany & Co. as a stone setter. I did very well and I am now one of five jewelers on the Specialty Jeweler Team. We did the championship rings for the San Francisco Giants. The ring is incredible with over 75 diamonds. With this team, I am able to work on some new, high-end products. I have worked hard to get a good position here and am very pleased with my achievements. One thing I can say is that I owe a lot to Rosemary and the other NBSS faculty because they shaped me into a great, respectable jeweler”

Kate Dumont JM ‘07