Become a Jewelry Repair Tech
Jewelry repair technicians use metal, special chemicals, and tools to size rings, reset stones, modify jewelry, and replace broken jewelry parts. They require considerable on-the-job training to become fully skilled, and common places of employment include jewelry manufacturers and sellers as well as repair shops. They are also at risk of injury from tools and chemicals, physical strain from long hours performing bench work, and in some cases, security threats from working with high-end and valuable jewelry pieces. Retail work hours are common; night and weekend work is required. However, self-employed workers have the opportunity to set their own hours.
|Degree Level||None needed|
|Training||Metal fusing and chemical etching|
|Licensure and/or Certification||None required, though optional CBJT certification is available to show competence|
|Key Skills||Critical thinking, manual dexterity, attention to detail, use of jeweler's tools, soldering equipment, chemical baths, and good vision for up-close detail work|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$37,060 per year (for all jewelers and precious stone/metal workers)|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jewelers of America, O*Net OnLine
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Steps to Getting into this Career
Step 1: Complete Training
While formal education is not required, some technical schools offer jewelry repair programs that vary in length from six months to one year. Some schools offer classes and workshops in specialized techniques, such as antique design, watch repair, and silversmithing.
Step 2: Obtain Hands-on Experience
Due to the hands-on nature of repair work, on-the-job training is still common within the jewelry field. Small shops and jewelry manufacturing plants offer an opportunity to apprentice, which means working under the supervision of experienced craftsmen. In addition to learning and honing techniques, practical experience offers an apprentice the chance to learn about what is currently trendy, which is important knowledge for those in the jeweler's business.
Step 3: Earn Certification for Career Advancement
The Jewelers of America certifies bench jewelers at four different levels of expertise. The entry-level certification is the Certified Bench Jeweler Technician (CBJT). The CBJT exam tests the knowledge of repair technicians with one year of practical experience.
To really stand out, build a customer base through marketing and advertising. Due to the expensive nature of materials used in jewelry, jewelry repair technicians need to earn consumer trust to attract clients. Word-of-mouth advertising is one way jewelry repair technicians appeal to potential customers. Digital communication, such as electronic mailing lists and websites, allows for easier social sharing and thus a greater potential for reaching a wider audience.
To review, with knowledge of soldering and good vision, on-the-job training, and possibly certification, jewelry repair technicians can earn about $37,000 a year to use metal, special chemicals, and tools to size rings, reset stones, modify jewelry, and replace broken jewelry parts.