Many times, jewelry repair technicians, who should be detailed, patient and have good hand-to-eye coordination, often learn skills while on the job. However, formal jewelry repair training is also offered through a short series of trade school classes resulting in a certificate of completion.
Individuals seeking jewelry repair training through a degree program can look to an associate's or bachelor's degree in jewelry design, which generally incorporates jewelry repair training.
Jewelry repair training programs are very experiential, allowing students to participate in field trips and gain practical jewelry techniques through hands-on labs. Certificate programs can range from six months to one year. Associate's degree programs are two years long, whereas bachelor's degree programs take four years to complete. Classes may be offered online.
Jewelry Repair Certificate
A certificate program is usually geared toward aspiring bench jeweler technicians. Students learn an overview of the jewelry business, including appraising, gemology, metalsmithing, and stone setting. They also learn to work with jewelry repair tools, such as wax molds, clasps, soldering accessories, drivers, drills, blades, pliers, magnifying lenses, and measuring devices.
Associate's Degree in Jewelry Design
An associate's degree program in jewelry design typically includes coursework in jewelry repair. Students learn to work with fine and costume jewelry, as well as materials sourcing and identification, metal forming, casting, and soldering.
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Bachelor's Degree in Jewelry Design
Often conferred as a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, these jewelry design and repair programs emphasize the creation of jewelry as a work of art. Students usually learn to work with beaded, bronze, silver, gold, platinum, brass, and aluminum jewelry. Computer-aided design (CAD) training is also incorporated.
Popular Career Options
More than formal training, experience in jewelry repair is vital. Individuals who have completed a formal training program may have participated in work experience. Additionally, informal apprenticeships may be available through independent jewelry repair technicians or jewelry manufacturers. Jewelry repair technicians can work as employees or independent contractors at retail jewelry shops, repair kiosks, or creative plants.
There are no license or certification requirements for jewelry repair technicians, but voluntary certifications are available through the Jewelers of America. Credentials include the Certified Master Bench Jeweler, Certified Senior Bench Jeweler, Certified Bench Jeweler, and Certified Bench Jeweler Technician. Applicants must pass a practical and written exam in order to qualify.
Metal guilds, art centers, and schools may offer jewelry repair workshops, which often last for a couple of days. Instruction is geared toward beginning or experienced technicians, and topics can range from tool modification to soldering techniques.
Jewelry repair and design programs at the certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree levels offer highly experiential training for aspiring jewelry repair technicians.