Exploring the Career Opportunities in the World of Jewelry Design : Part 1 – The Bench Jeweler
Very rarely is someone able to truly make a living on, let alone, build a full fledged career around something they love. One such field that is gaining massive popularity right now is the Jewelry Design field. Millions of people of all ages and backgrounds have turned their part time hobby of designing and making jewelry into a profitable, yet fun, full time career. You too may be able to realize that their truly is a way to have fun and have a rewarding career at the same time. Therefore, we’ve decided to explore some of the different career options that exist in the field of Jewelry design. We’ve come to discover that there is a varied and diverse array of career options available; so that whatever your skills and passions maybe there should be a career option that lets you put them to work.
The first Career option I’d like to explore is that of the Bench Jeweler.
The Bench Jeweler is a craftsman that through diligence and practice has honed their skills into a genuine craft. Through time, education, training and experience many reach the place where they not only become craftsman but true artists. Bench Jewelers are often in the practice of using combinations of various skills in order to make, modify or even repair jewelry items. Bench jewelers’ skill sets must be varied, often utilizing specialized skills in a wide array of categories like; customization, stone setting, fabrication, polishing, forging, wax casting, goldsmithing, engraving, antique restoration and fabrication.
Most local jewelry shops have at least one bench jeweler on hand in the store at all times. Bench jewelers are the ones responsible for meeting with you when you take your jewelry items into the store or the shop to have alterations, modifications or repairs done. Bench jewelers are always highly respected and are often the most valuable member on staff for the typical jewelry store or boutique.
To enter the field either a prospect has completed a program at an accredited jewelry design institution or will be able to demonstrate an equivalent level of skill and experience via an apprenticeship program. However, most high end boutiques and national jewelry store establishments will generally require some sort of standardized education, training and education.
Bench jeweler’s tend to spend most of their time making jewelry repairs and modifications. However, since they are often highly skilled in a wide array of disciplines bench jewelers are able to design, model and fabricate pretty much anything the customer might have a desire for.
Bench jeweler’s are for the most part paid a set hourly wage, which varies greatly based upon the skill, experience and location of the company hiring for the position.
Despite the high demand for bench jewelers, a complaint heard by many is that though they have steady work, they do not get to fully utilize and express their full range or artistic abilities. Most of the time bench jewelers are limited to making the modifications that the customer already has come up with or they may be under utilizing their skills because they spend so much time simply making repairs.
Bench Jeweler Professional Certification
In 1997 the Jewelers of America created the Bench Professional Certification program to create a set of standards to layout and set the qualification levels and skill levels of jewelry professionals. The program is now recognized nationally and their certification programs gives consumers and employers the assurance that they are putting their valuable jewelry items and projects in the hands of truly qualified jewelry professionals that adhere to the highest standards of ethics and quality of work.
In recent years the program has been updated to reflect modern practices and standards of the new millennium bench jeweler. Of course advances in technology has demanded that educational and certification in new technologies is now mandatory to ensure the jeweler understands the modern day tools and quality output expectations.
There are basically now 4 Certification levels to show rank, skill and experience.
I. JA Certified Bench Jeweler Technician (CBJT):The CBJT is the entry level certification, testing basic, general practician type, hands-on bench demonstration. This certification level demonstrates skills and reflects knowledge generally expected of a trained entry-level bench jeweler generalist that is able to perform jewelry repair with about a one year experience and proficiency.
II. JA Certified Bench Jeweler (CBJ):Bench tests at this next level must demonstrate the expertise and knowledge generally expected of a bench jeweler generalist performing most jewelry repairs with two or more years of practical experience.
III. JA Certified Senior Bench Jeweler (CSBJ) The practical bench tests at CSBJ level reflect moderate to advanced skills and knowledge. The candidate for this level must demonstrate mastery of both first and second level skills and proficiency in some additional areas.
IV. JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler (CMBJ) The highest level of JA Bench Professional Certification is that of the CMBJ. For the hands-on practical bench test, candidates at this level must demonstrate mastery at all skill levels.
Having had this opportunity to become more familiar with the career of a Bench Jeweler, ponder the pros and cons of this career option to determine if this is the career path the you should take to bring fulfillment and profitability into your life.
Bio: Dev Randhawa blogs on the latest fashion trends, all around the Web.