Jewelry Making: Classes Needed to Become a Jewelry Maker

In jewelry-making classes, students learn how to work with precious metals, gems and the tools of the trade. Colleges with art or fine arts programs will typically offer jewelry making or jewelry design classes.

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Essential Information

Associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs in art or fine arts may include jewelry making classes. Students of jewelry making classes can become designers for fine, bridge or costume jewelry companies, or they can go into business for themselves as independent jewelry designers, makers or distributors.

Courses for potential jewelry makers will include instruction in the design and creation of necklaces, rings, earrings and other types of jewelry. Students can gain hands-on experience welding metals and working with gems. Advanced students will also get training in how to make molds and models for large-scale production.

Here is a list of common concepts taught in jewelry making classes:

  • Jewelry terminology
  • Drafting and drawing techniques
  • Essential jewelry-making tools
  • Jewelry repair
  • Jewelry business practices

List of Jewelry Making Courses

Jewelry Design

A required introductory class about the art and craft of jewelry design initiates most jewelry making programs. Students get an overview of the principles of fine, bridge and costume jewelry design and learn rules specific to necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, pendants, brooches and other pieces. Coursework includes basic gemology, beadwork, metalwork, color theory and jewelry industry standards. This class may include a studio component.

Drawing for Jewelry Design

This course is required in most jewelry making curricula, and combines both lecture and lab learning. Students practice rendering jewelry designs on paper with pencils and markers. They also employ computer software such as AutoCAD. In many cases, a strong emphasis is placed on detail work. Students learn specifically how to depict metals and stones in renderings and then begin to develop their own personal design style.

Metal Work for Jewelry Design

Jewelry-making programs typically require a course in metalwork that includes time in the studio. Building on a foundation of metalwork history and design, students are introduced to the properties of metals such as platinum, gold, silver and rhodium. This course covers basic metalwork tools and techniques. Coursework includes metal and laser welding, cutting, sawing, forging, soldering, polishing, joining, piercing, hammering, enameling and carving metal. Chemical and electrolytic anodizing and plating processes are also learned. Students practice polishing and finishing techniques to complete their pieces.

Gemology for Jewelry Makers

The ability to identify and work with gems is crucial for jewelry makers; therefore, a gemology course stressing lapidary skills is typically required. Students learn the properties and uses of precious and semi-precious stones, both natural and lab-created. The tools necessary for cutting and polishing gems are covered along with appropriate usage techniques. Students also learn about gemstone settings in theory and practice. This course typically includes hands-on work.

Jewelry Production Skills

This class is usually taken toward the end of a jewelry-making program. Students gain wax carving and casting skills while learning how jewelry is made from rendering to fabrication. Coursework may include creating white metal models for costume pieces. This class includes studio work as well as classroom lectures.

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