How To Start Your Career In The Jewelry Business
By Andy Moquin
The jewelry industry can provide exciting moments and lucrative pay. There are many fields to the business including design, goldsmith, gemologist, buyer, store manager, watchmaker, sales, and store ownership. Each has specific requirements in training and experience in order to succeed and become employable. With proper guidance and hard word work you can achieve any amount of success that you set your mind to. First, you must understand that there are many product types and you can spend a lifetime becoming an expert in one. Some of these product types include timepieces, polished diamonds, fashion jewelry, colored gemstones, bridal products, luxury items and many more. I recommend deciding which product intrigues you most and pursue a career in that product category. Choose the field that is most needed in that particular product category and then maintain a passion for what you are selling or creating, this is an important ingredient in a successful career.
Determine your Niche Field
As I said, each field has its benefits and you’ve got to determine which is going to be most beneficial to you and provide you with the lifestyle that you are looking for. Assess your skill sets and then try to match them up with the field that requires the most of what you possess. Read the chart below to identify the required skills for each career field:
Designer – Creativity, computer skills, basic jewelry making knowledge, fashion sense, math skills.
Goldsmith – Mechanical skills, hand-eye coordination, patience, detailed oriented, integrity, self-pride.
Gemologist – Math skills, organizational skills, integrity, quick learner, investigative, interest in gems.
Buyer – Eye for fashion, organizational skills, accounting skills, forecasting, management skills.
Store Manager – Sales skills, organizational skills, previous experience, effective at time management, integrity, customer service & relations, business management experience.
Watchmaker/horologist – Mechanical skills, hand-eye coordination, patience, detailed oriented, integrity, self-pride.
Salesperson – Sales skills, people skills, organizational skills, motivated, willingness to learn, knowledge of gems and goldsmithing.
Store Owner – Basic knowledge all of the above, investment capital.
Training and Education
As with any career choice, education and training is crucial to achieving success. The industry has several educational institutions that will prepare you by providing the proper knowledge of the business. I’ve always been a huge advocate of continuing education and even though I have 20 years experience in the jewelry business I’m still learning every day. I recommend a life-long effort in learning that not only includes industry specific information but also any business training and self-help that you can apply in your daily work. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is a great resource for gemological training and is a must if you want to pursue the gemologist field. As a salesperson, the Accredited Jewelry Professional degree from GIA is a great start, especially if you don’t have experience. People trying to pursue a career in store management or ownership can take jewelry business management courses. Other training institutions worth mentioning are the American Gemological Society and Jewelers of America. Goldsmiths can also take jewelry making courses at GIA however there are much better schools for goldsmiths that you can attend. The most renowned jewelry making schools are The New Approach School for Jewelers and the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts. These schools have specialized training for people that want to become benchmen, diamond setters, and designers.
Designers can attend GIA or the Fashion Institute of Technology to receive an in-depth education on creating jewelry designs using traditional methods or new technology like CAD-CAM. You can get examples of how custom design is performed using CAD-CAM at design your engagement ring Watch makers are one the fastest growing opportunities in the luxury products field. Mechanical Swiss watch sales in the US have grown considerably over the last 5 years and a need for qualified people that can repair them has also grown. A great resource to learn the craft of watch making is the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute.
Getting Your Foot in the Door
If you’ve had prior sales experience then you probably have a good chance at landing a sales position however, an AJP from GIA is a shoe in. As previously mentioned, integrity is of the utmost importance in the industry especially when considering the security issues surrounding high value items. When interviewing with potential employers you should be able to demonstrate a high level of integrity and honesty to the interviewer.
Completion of jewelry educational training is certainly a good way to find a job in the jewelry business however; you don’t necessarily need it to be guaranteed a job. Sometimes showing a sincere interest in a job and a willingness to start at the bottom and spend time learning can capture the interest of an employer. As a jeweler you’ll definitely need experience or training, however even with training you’ll still have to start at the bottom and work your way up. The best advice that I can give the goldsmith candidates is to never stop learning and always seek additional training. Additional training will make you invaluable and will help you earn higher pay scales.
Promote Your Craft
Once you’ve established yourself in the industry you should act as a responsible steward to the business. Treat your position and responsibilities with the utmost respect and integrity. A jewelry purchase can be an intimidating process for the average consumer and it is our responsibility as professionals to honor the customer’s needs and educated them in the best way we know how. You should also promote the business and encourage others to become involved in the industry. Finally, take the time to share your knowledge with others as this will further promote professionalism in our business.
Andy Moquin has spent 20 years in the jewelry business buying and selling over $20,000,000 in diamonds, engagement rings and custom designed jewelry. He as traveled to Belgium and Israel to work with international diamond dealers and works as an advisor for DBC Diamonds an international consortium of diamond dealers. His experience in the jewelry business has become invaluable to consumers and business owners. He can be contacted at 716-630-7091, email@example.com, www.andrewsjewelers.com, learn about diamonds.
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