A jeweler is an artisan skilled in the art of making and repairing jewelry. For anyone to work as a bench jeweler, such must acquire specialized skills in diverse categories. The more common of these skills include stone setting, goldsmithing, fabrication, electroplating, wax carving and polishing. However, most jewelers only focus on a select number of these skills, particularly polishing and diamond cutting. Some others work with modeling and casting molds or in repair shops.
Contrary to what many might think, some jewelers actually get formal training. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an increasing number of prospective jewelers are enrolling in degree (bachelor's or master's) programs or non-degree short courses in jewelry design and production. Unlike craftspeople who work based on provided specifications, jewelry designers draw out their ideas on paper or through the use of CAD programs.
Jewelers are known to work with traditional, manual tools such as blades and diamond-tipped engravers for cutting metals and precious stones. There is now a shift in paradigm as lasers are increasingly being employed in the jewelry-making process. With adequate training, jewelers can use lasers for cutting, executing complex design and engraving, and writing messages on their works.
While jewelers often work independently, some are employed as salaried workers in manufacturing facilities, jewelry stores, and repair shops. In May 2011, BLS data showed the mean annual salary of jewelers was about $38,000, but those in technical, professional and scientific services settings made as much as $62,000.
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