Forget world travel. Lydia wants to stay put here in the U.S. and design jewelry for a living. But does that make sense? Will you be able to support yourself and possibly a family with that job in the coming decades?
Your blog is wonderful, I think it’s so great for someone to put so much time into helping students.
Thanks! I’ve been a real slouch lately when it comes to my daily posts, but I am officially back on track as of today. 🙂
So since your willing I’ve got two questions:
Go for it.
Background Info: I’m in community college now doing my core classes and good thing cause after a bunch of traveling to Switzerland, Israel, and Egypt I decided I didn’t want to travel that much the rest of my life doing International Business.
OK. Still, I’m jealous of your globetrotting.
So flip flopping aside I have pretty consistently wanted to do Jewelry Design as a career which leads me to my two questions:
Uh-oh. I’m painfully ignorant about the jewelry design business…looks like I have to do some actual research today instead of just shooting off at the lip.
1. Is this a supportive career?
If you mean, will you make enough money to support yourself, then sure — as long as you can find a job. Can you support, say, a family of five? That’ll be tough, from what I’m gathering. Here’s what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says in its 2010-2011 outlook:
Median annual wages for jewelers and precious stone and metal workers were $32,940 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,370 and $43,440. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,000, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $55,130.
Most jewelers start out with a base salary, but once they become more proficient, they may begin charging by the number of pieces completed. Jewelers who work in retail stores may earn a commission for each piece of jewelry sold. Many jewelers also enjoy a variety of benefits, including reimbursement from their employers for work-related courses and discounts on jewelry purchases.
Plenty of job opportunities?
This definitely depends on your definition of “plenty.” It’s definitely a niche industry, but — again, from the BLS:
Prospects for bench jewelers and other skilled jewelers should be favorable; keen competition is expected for lower skilled manufacturing jobs, such as assemblers and polishers.
Is there a good website to check something like that?
Yes — here are the ones I used:
Bureau of Labor Statistics — Jewelers Outlook
FabJob Guide to Becoming a Jewelry Designer (sells an eBook…I have no idea if it’s any good, so buyer beware).
2. If I did go to school for it I have a couple of school options in my area. I can either go to a university in North Dartmouth (Umass) or RI (RISD) or a pretty prestigious trade school (North Bennet Street School) in Boston. What looks better on a resume a trade school or a university?
Well, according to the BLS once again:
- About 54 percent of all jewelers and precious stone and metal workers are self-employed.
- Jewelers usually learn their trade in vocational or technical schools, through distance-learning centers, or on the job.
So, since I have no experience with the business of jewelry design outside making rings and bracelets for my kids out of Silly Bands, I’m going to trust the government (mark this day, you won’t hear that from me very often) and say that a trade school may be your best bet.
The second one is a little more important to me cause I’ve already done some research on the first. So if you don’t get to it no worries.
Thank you for your time,
Of course, and thanks for asking — I learned a lot from this one myself. Before your note, I would’ve guessed that there were only a handful of jewelry designers in the U.S., and that most of the work was farmed out to Chinese factories.
Because of you, Lydia, I’m just a little bit less full of shit today than I was yesterday. Thanks!
— What about you guys? Got any advice for Lydia? Let us know in the comments below!