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What training does a bench jewler generally have ?

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
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9,831
I asked this in another thread but @Karl_K suggested i start a new thread as it hasn't been discussed for a while

i mean aside from any purley academic or artistic study

Im talking about the actual physical nuts and bolts of building a well made piece of jewlery

I would imange here in NZ its some kind of apprenticeship ?

I know the (we call them manufacturing) jewler who made my one and only custom job and did the valuations and resizing on mum's rings did an apprenticeship back in the day because he did training with the jewler who made one of mum's rings
But he's getting on it years and im primarily asking about younger jewlers nowdays

Do they put their credentials up on the wall like doctors and dentists ?
(Peehaps they should)
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 22, 2014
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5,043
From what I found (searching for myself) there are private Colleges that offer training and “certification” in various aspects of jewellery making.
There are also courses you can do to learn how to work with metals and create mounts and set gemstones and courses to learn how to facet gems as well as Gemology courses so as to be able to identify gemstones.
I think the Gemology courses have more credence, the GAA here in Australia is a 2 year part time course with exams and is well regarded. That’s the Australian equivalent of GIA.
I think with jewellery making and facetting, examples of the persons work is the best “certification”. A piece of paper issued by a private college that cost a few thousand dollars means little if the output is rubbish.
 

mellowyellowgirl

Ideal_Rock
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4,228
The jeweller that I go to in Chinatown:

No details about qualifications whatsoever. He's just been at the shop for a billion years and he's very experienced.

Initially I sussed out the shop and they sold and set a lot of coloured stones. Now I have no idea of the quality or treatment of these stones so I don't buy them but the jeweller is the one who sets them so that gave me enough comfort to try a few stones with him.

The highlight was an emerald with fissures everywhere that I warned him might crack. But he set it without a hitch!!!!!! He's since done all sorts of stones for my friend and my sister so he's really proven himself to us.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
9,831
From what I found (searching for myself) there are private Colleges that offer training and “certification” in various aspects of jewellery making.
There are also courses you can do to learn how to work with metals and create mounts and set gemstones and courses to learn how to facet gems as well as Gemology courses so as to be able to identify gemstones.
I think the Gemology courses have more credence, the GAA here in Australia is a 2 year part time course with exams and is well regarded. That’s the Australian equivalent of GIA.
I think with jewellery making and facetting, examples of the persons work is the best “certification”. A piece of paper issued by a private college that cost a few thousand dollars means little if the output is rubbish.

Im kind of hoping its like a traditional apprenticeship like Gary did to be a carpenter/joiner (a long while ago now)

Here apprenticeships have industry and govt standards and they used to require so many thousand hours on the job as well as theory that is done at night or in block courses at the local polytech (Americans might call polytech community college)

Just on that thread with the really bad setting of the diamond into prongs got me thinking
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
9,831
The jeweller that I go to in Chinatown:

No details about qualifications whatsoever. He's just been at the shop for a billion years and he's very experienced.

Initially I sussed out the shop and they sold and set a lot of coloured stones. Now I have no idea of the quality or treatment of these stones so I don't buy them but the jeweller is the one who sets them so that gave me enough comfort to try a few stones with him.

The highlight was an emerald with fissures everywhere that I warned him might crack. But he set it without a hitch!!!!!! He's since done all sorts of stones for my friend and my sister so he's really proven himself to us.

'A billion years' sounds like an old experienced jewler
your lucky to have found him

Also in our corner of the world if anyone does cr*p work word gets around pretty fast

But what about all these other cowboys ?
In countries that have more than 2 degrees* of separation ?


*Someone did a study here one - we are all in NZ only 2 degrees separation from each other (not the universal 6 or what ever it is)
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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Apr 22, 2020
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1,086
So in India jewelry is basically a familial trade, the bench jewelers (in Hindi they are basically called ‘artisans’ which is nice and upholds their craft I feel) learn the trade from their families or communities. When they get hired on by jewelers they also get some amount of on job training as well. This is especially true for traditional indian jewelry but also for modern, westernised pieces. I don’t think there’s some formal certification course or anything but of course I could be wrong.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
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So in India jewelry is basically a familial trade, the bench jewelers (in Hindi they are basically called ‘artisans’ which is nice and upholds their craft I feel) learn the trade from their families or communities. When they get hired on by jewelers they also get some amount of on job training as well. This is especially true for traditional indian jewelry but also for modern, westernised pieces. I don’t think there’s some formal certification course or anything but of course I could be wrong.

I think most of my mall jewlery store rings were made in India

I wish the individual workers got NZ wages especially with the huge mark up on mall store jewlery
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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I think most of my mall jewlery store rings were made in India

I wish the individual workers got NZ wages especially with the huge mark up on mall store jewlery

Yeah that’s from the jewelry factories which wasn’t what I was referring to initially, but you’re right!

Jewelry manufacture in India is of two major kinds - Firstly, factories where workers manufacture pieces mostly for export (or for sale in chain stores or brands in India). These pieces are cast/die cast, not handforged and can be of differing quality depending on who they were manufactured for. Some independent jewelers also sell stuff that is cast but is usually not made in these large factories as far as I know. Secondly, individual artisans or communities of artisans who work for individual/independent jewelers or jewelry designers; this stuff is usually handforged (though some jewelers do sell cast like I said, but there’s a distinct price difference I’d say) and while they can be of differing quality the variation between best and worst is much less.

The price of handforged jewelry in India is inexpensive because labour is cheap, which is a shame when you look at the quality of the work - I’ve seen and held pieces that frankly your top-end maisons like Cartier would be proud to put their signature on. I’ve also seen and held some sloppy, hastily put together and badly made jewelry; and I don’t think the former receive enough more than the latter for the work they do. I mean, they do get paid more but I don’t think it’s enough. That’s cost of labour for you - there’s just so many people in India that manpower is cheap.

It’s a crying shame when you think about the price of jewelry overseas though. At least the lower-end stuff in India sells also at lower prices, so they receive a larger fraction of the price for their work. The markups on mall jewelry overseas is so high that you know the individual worker got peanuts for it in comparison to the final price.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
9,831
Yeah that’s from the jewelry factories which wasn’t what I was referring to initially, but you’re right!

Jewelry manufacture in India is of two major kinds - Firstly, factories where workers manufacture pieces mostly for export (or for sale in chain stores or brands in India). These pieces are cast/die cast, not handforged and can be of differing quality depending on who they were manufactured for. Some independent jewelers also sell stuff that is cast but is usually not made in these large factories as far as I know. Secondly, individual artisans or communities of artisans who work for individual/independent jewelers or jewelry designers; this stuff is usually handforged (though some jewelers do sell cast like I said, but there’s a distinct price difference I’d say) and while they can be of differing quality the variation between best and worst is much less.

The price of handforged jewelry in India is inexpensive because labour is cheap, which is a shame when you look at the quality of the work - I’ve seen and held pieces that frankly your top-end maisons like Cartier would be proud to put their signature on. I’ve also seen and held some sloppy, hastily put together and badly made jewelry; and I don’t think the former receive enough more than the latter for the work they do. I mean, they do get paid more but I don’t think it’s enough. That’s cost of labour for you - there’s just so many people in India that manpower is cheap.

It’s a crying shame when you think about the price of jewelry overseas though. At least the lower-end stuff in India sells also at lower prices, so they receive a larger fraction of the price for their work. The markups on mall jewelry overseas is so high that you know the individual worker got peanuts for it in comparison to the final price.

I know its grossly unfair the wages paid to your workers manufacturing goods for western markets :confused2:
Same for the people working in call centres

I do think of the people who made my overseas made goods
 

kipari

Ideal_Rock
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Funny you should ask: my friend's daughter just started her studies here in France.

It's basically college with an apprenticeship afterwards.

She had to present her A-level grades for a first application, got interviewed then and now started her first year. It's mainly theory (alloys, different methods, how to calculate alloys ...) For the first semester. Then they start bench training. It'll last for 3 years total with blocks in a company towards the end.

She can call her self a goldsmith when she's finished.

She can also become a master craftsperson /artisan. To get that official title one has to take more classes while working. It's another three years.

One needs a master craftsperson at a shop to be able to host apprentices .
It's the same in Germany.

I *think* one needs to have finished this program to be able to open a shop and call yourself a goldsmith (whereas everyone can open a "jeweler's shop" to buy and sell jewelry)
 

bludiva

Ideal_Rock
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2,568
here in the U.S. they can either start through training classes or train on the job/apprentice, not sure what is more common but it does seem like more of a "family" trade than other professions. i took some classes at the local school last year that taught the basics, many go on from that type of program to work as a bench jeweler and improve their skills on the job.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
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Messages
8,882
In the US, mostly it’s done on the job. They start out with easy things, like sizing rings and fixing broken chains, take seminars on things like the use of laser welders and CAD systems. The manufacturers are usually pretty supportive. That and practice practice practice. There are some schools. GIA, https://www.gia.edu has a whole program in it. I rather like the New Approach school. https://newapproachschool.com/ That and more practice. I'll also throw a bone to Paris Junior College. https://www.parisjc.edu/index.php/pjc2/main/tijt For students on a budget, I've been very impressed with them. Another with a good reputation on a budget is Vancouver Community College. https://www.vcc.ca/

Mostly it's the practice.

Back when I was running a manufacturing/repair shop, I hired and trained quite a few and mostly we trained them in-house and occasionally sent them to a school in San Fransisco that has now closed. I’m not sure if that’s the best way or not but it’s still pretty common. I can think of several of my old apprentices who started marketing themselves as master jewelers after they left me. I’m not sure what that makes me.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
9,831
Funny you should ask: my friend's daughter just started her studies here in France.

It's basically college with an apprenticeship afterwards.

She had to present her A-level grades for a first application, got interviewed then and now started her first year. It's mainly theory (alloys, different methods, how to calculate alloys ...) For the first semester. Then they start bench training. It'll last for 3 years total with blocks in a company towards the end.

She can call her self a goldsmith when she's finished.

She can also become a master craftsperson /artisan. To get that official title one has to take more classes while working. It's another three years.

One needs a master craftsperson at a shop to be able to host apprentices .
It's the same in Germany.

I *think* one needs to have finished this program to be able to open a shop and call yourself a goldsmith (whereas everyone can open a "jeweler's shop" to buy and sell jewelry)

That's so excitting !
Good for her :appl:
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
9,831
In the US, mostly it’s done on the job. They start out with easy things, like sizing rings and fixing broken chains, take seminars on things like the use of laser welders and CAD systems. The manufacturers are usually pretty supportive. That and practice practice practice. There are some schools. GIA, https://www.gia.edu has a whole program in it. I rather like the New Approach school. https://newapproachschool.com/ That and more practice. I'll also throw a bone to Paris Junior College. https://www.parisjc.edu/index.php/pjc2/main/tijt For students on a budget, I've been very impressed with them. Another with a good reputation on a budget is Vancouver Community College. https://www.vcc.ca/

Mostly it's the practice.

Back when I was running a manufacturing/repair shop, I hired and trained quite a few and mostly we trained them in-house and occasionally sent them to a school in San Fransisco that has now closed. I’m not sure if that’s the best way or not but it’s still pretty common. I can think of several of my old apprentices who started marketing themselves as master jewelers after they left me. I’m not sure what that makes me.

Its commendable for an employer to take the time and money to train the next generation
=)2
 

oldminer

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
6,517
Jewelry repair can be learned by doing work under skilled supervision. Really fine jewelry manufacturing takes many years of whatever sort of apprenticeship you can find. It would be best to have a willing teacher who has both the right touch and an artistic mindset. The jewelry colleges turn out some fine jewelers, but it takes years of practice to find your special niche. I loved doing bench work years ago, but I had so many other potential opportunities offered to me in the diamond, colored gems, manufacturing, and estate jewelry trading sides of the business, that I went with the flow away from full-time bench work. I am no artist, and it was the right direction for me to follow. If you have the artistic ability and the dedication to creative work, the jewelry trades are rewarding and a happy place to be. You have to fit your skillset with the needs of your artistic yearnings.
 
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