Bachelor's degree programs in metal and jewelry art are designed to provide students with the foundational knowledge and technical skill necessary to create unique pieces of jewelry. These programs train students in jewelry-making techniques using metals and gems, as well as jewelry design and color use. Over the course of these programs, students design and create necklaces, bracelets and rings from metals and other materials.
Incoming students should be high school graduates who have completed courses in English, basic mathematics and science. These programs accept those students who are creatively inclined and who have a strong interest in the arts.
Bachelor's Degree in Metal and Jewelry Art
Students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in jewelry arts learn about techniques relevant to the jewelry industry, such as metalworking, wax molding and enameling. They also learn the basics of gemology, hollow ware and color usage. They are usually required to spend time in the studio learning how to draw jewelry designs, use metals and casting techniques and fabricate complete pieces of jewelry.
Foundational courses within a bachelor's degree program in jewelry arts provide students with an introduction to art theory and history, while core courses introduce students to particular jewelry-making techniques and general education courses provide a strong liberal arts background. A combination of foundational and core courses might include:
- Metals and jewelry
- Jewelry rendering
- Introduction to drawing
- Computer-aided design
- Forming jewelry
- Light metal casting
- Design processes
- Color theory
- Professional practices
Popular Career Options
Earning a bachelor's degree in jewelry arts can prepare individuals for entry-level positions in the jewelry industry. Some of these include:
- Commercial jewelry designer
- Custom jewelry designer
- Costume jewelry designer
- Jewelry mold creator
- Jewelry retailer
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that jewelers and precious stone workers would see an employment decline of 7% from 2018-2028. While competition is strong for lower-skilled manufacturing jobs, the BLS stated that prospects will be best for those with formal training. The mean annual wage for jewelers and precious stone workers was $43,570 in May 2018.
Continuing Education and Certification Options
Bench jewelers who work to repair and clean jewelry in retail locations can gain certification from the Jewelers of America. Jewelers who concentrate on precious gems can also gain gemology certification from organizations such as the American Gem Society. Similar organizations, the Gemological Institute of America, offer continuing education classes for jewelers who are interested in brushing up their skills in the field.
While aspiring jewelry makers aren't necessarily required to complete a formal training program, they can enhance their skills and improve job prospects by earning a bachelor's degree in metal and jewelry arts. The programs include general studies, design-focused coursework and hands-on studio experiences.