Crafting a career in jewellery design

Crafting a career in jewellery design

Unique in its design and workmanship, the history of Indian jewellery is as old as the history of the country itself. The jewellery is designed using emeralds, diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires and other precious and semi-precious stones. But with time, peoples’ preferences towards jewellery have changed drastically. And why not? The jewellery industry itself is a dynamic industry poised for a glittering future.

The vast spectrum of jewellery ranges from those studded in diamonds, traditional ones to the contemporary jewellery we see everywhere. To become the final glittering product that are showcased in many stores, they undergo a gruelling process. When raw materials are mined or manufactured and shipped from far-reaching places, jewellery designers bridge the critical gap between the producer and consumer. And during its process, everyone in plays an important part, including its sales representatives and appraisers. At every step, they ensure that the jewellery is sourced, manufactured and sold in an ethical and environmentally conscious manner.

Required skills

Jewellery designers are one of the most important people that a jewellery house can have and traditionally began as an  apprentice. It requires technical and illustration skills, a keen eye for detail, an affinity for fine arts, familiarity with chemistry, alloys etc. and a comfort level with mathematics. But over and above everything else, he or she needs to have a great sense of aesthetics. But with an industry which is constantly evolving and the line between traditional and contemporary jewellery is getting blurred, innovation is key.

If you have always been interested in style or fashion, and you like drawing, painting or graphic design, you might consider a career as a jewellery designer. Designers can work with jewellers to create one-of-a-kind jewellery, or they can work for manufacturers developing new pieces for the company’s collections. Some designers go on to start businesses, selling designer jewellery under their own brands. Designing jewellery – whichever route you choose – is a unique and challenging occupation.

Qualities

A good designer would also bring his/her love of style to their work. Some hands-on experience in making jewellery would help a designer understand how jewellery works: how it is put together, how the stones are set, the clasps attached and so on. Good eye-hand coordination, computer skills and drafting ability are important, as are an understanding of colour and some gemological training.

Prospects

The Government of India set up the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), a  Public Private Partnership (PPP), in 2008 which is aims to ensure that India creates infrastructure to train 4.6 million professionals in the next decade. India will then have the youngest population in the world with almost 65% of the population below the age of 35.  Gem and Jewellery industry currently employs 4.5 million and as per a survey by NSDC and ICRA, and there will be an additional requirement of 4 million people in next 10 years. Gem & Jewellery Skill Council of India (GJSCI) has been set up by combining four major bodies. All these policies will carve a niche area in the career of a Jewellery Designer.

Courses

Many Government and private institutes have already floated a number of courses in jewellery designing anticipating the demand for such profiles. There is a need to identify leadership talents in Jewellery and we need courses to enhance these capabilities in individuals. There already are courses like the One-Month course conducted by the joint effort of ESSEC Business School and IIM Ahmedabad on Luxury Brand Management. Manipal University has also started with School of Jewellery Management where they have initiated a 3-year undergraduate programme in Jewellery Design and Management and is considered to be one of its kind in the country.

Related careers

Apart from jewellery design there are a host of other career opportunities that the Industry offers to aspirants. They could be jewellery sales professionals, jewellery appraisers, jewellery manufacturers and wholesalers and quality assurance technicians. All these careers have a significant role to play in the entire life cycle of jewellery from its birth to the point they reach the consumers. While all of these require the necessary skills and qualifications, what brings them together under one roof is the tremendous personal satisfaction of working with something they love – jewellery.

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