Jewellery and Metalwork

Jewellery and Metalwork designers are specialist makers that work in a niche area of the designer crafts industry. Metalworkers will work potentially with a broader range of products than jewellery makers/silversmiths, and these might include anything from cutlery to particular ornamental statues.

To thrive in this industry, you will need a huge amount of practical experience as well as a fantastic portfolio of work. Commercial awareness would definitely be an advantage as well. 

A significant majority of jewellery and metalwork designers work as freelancers, but there are some junior level roles to be found with established jewellers and manufacturers, as well as in retail. Salaries within this sector are quite low for newly emerging designers, typically around £15,000, but with experience your salary could increase to £20,000 - £30,000 depending on experience and skills. 

If you work on a freelance basis, your earnings will entirely depend on your ability to market yourself effectively to your target client base as well as the quality of your work and designs. Freelance work may also include specific client-commissioned work.

Regular participation in contests and exhibitions may also give you an added advantage by helping you to gain recognition and improve your skills.

Skills

What general employability skills do metalwork and jewellery graduates possess in addition to those specific to their particular discipline? Typically, a graduate in these disciplines will have developed the following skills: 

  • creative thinking and vision, to produce new ideas
  • the practical application to produce a piece which is desirable in the marketplace
  • the practical ability to work with tools and materials, such as metals and gemstones
  • drawing and computer design skills to produce designs
  • dexterity, an eye for detail and good hand-eye coordination
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • organisation and time-management skills and the ability to work to deadlines
  • patience
  • commercial awareness and the confidence and temperament to be successful in the business world
  • the ability to market yourself and your work
  • skills in negotiation and persuasion when dealing with suppliers and buyers
  • commitment to and passion for your work

Source: Prospects 2013

Many of these skills you will have developed throughout the course of your study at university. Take the time to look through the list and try to think of an occasion when you have demonstrated these skills. Try to identify your weaknesses and consider how you might improve your profile. Have a look at the suggested links for more industry specific information

Career Options

Metalwork and jewellery graduates often cross disciplines and they are well placed to be effective in all sectors of a knowledge based society due to their capacity for creative and analytical thought; this is something highly valued by a wide range of employment sectors. They are typically found working in a variety of roles within the fashion and accessories retail sector, but also find employment within the arts and craft industries either as an employee or more commonly, as a freelance designer.

Job Descriptions

Below, is a list of job descriptions that are relevant to your field of study or interests. The following links provide useful information on what each role entails and the skills required for fulfilling the roles successfully. 

Last modified: 
Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 11:13