If you're skilled at working intricately with your hands and have an appreciation for jewelry, then working as a goldsmith might be a fulfilling path for you. Goldsmiths are responsible for conceptualizing and producing jewelry out of gold. They're often referred to simply as "jewelers."
It's All About Jewelry
From necklaces to rings, jewelry is goldsmiths' main focus. Not only will you outline plans for jewelry, you'll produce it. When a piece of jewelry is broken, you'll also fix it, if possible. Goldsmiths generally focus specifically on gold, as their name indicates. They often utilize other types of gemstones as well, however. Note that not all goldsmiths perform the same kinds of tasks. Some concentrate solely on fixing gold pieces, while others devote themselves entirely to drawing and planning them.
When goldsmiths work with gold and other materials, they use a handful of techniques to give the pieces their desired forms. You'll trim, bend, roll and spin gold as a means of changing its appearance, for instance. Hammering was an especially common technique for goldsmiths far back in history. Engraving is another major part of a goldsmith's work.
Goldsmiths, for the most part, work inside. You often sit while you work, generally on benches tailored for your job. Goldsmiths typically work standard business hours, although there are always exceptions. When they have big workloads, they often extend their hours. This sometimes happens over the hectic holidays when the demand for jewelry is significantly higher.
Since making jewelry often calls for detail on extremely small surfaces, you'll have to have extremely sharp vision. You'll also have to be highly adept with your fingers and hands. Importantly, goldsmiths need to have focused and attentive personalities. People who get restless and bored easily aren't the best candidates. A sharp eye for aesthetics is a vital element, too. Artistic savvy is the foundation of the job, after all.
If you wish to land a goldsmith position, ample training is a must. While many goldsmiths acquire knowledge and skills through a combination of observation and experience, training programs are also important. Many trade schools and colleges offer programs geared to goldsmiths, with course subjects ranging from fashion to jewelry design and restoration. Apprenticeships also can be extremely effective for aspiring goldsmiths.
- The Crafts and Culture of a Medieval Guild; Joann Jovinelly and Jason Netelkos
- Money, It's Our Job; Gerry Bailey
- United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics: Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers - What Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Do
- Career Opportunities in the Visual Arts; Richard P. Clark and Pamela Fehl
- United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics: Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers - How to Become a Jeweler or Precious Stone and Metal Worker
- Alberta Occupational Profiles: Jeweler