Jewelry designers create all types of jewelry pieces, including rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and broaches. They work with many different types of gemstones and precious metals, such as gold, platinum and silver. If you are considering pursuing this type of artistic career, you may complete computer-aided design, or CAD, training, which is a modern tool that allows you to design a jewelry piece using technology.
Some jewelers use CAD technology to save time and energy in the jewelry-making process. This particular type of design technology allows jewelry designers to create a virtual piece of jewelry before they perform costly steps, such as cutting an expensive stone or creating the actual mold. With CAD, jewelry designers can modify the actual design of the piece several times to see which end result they like the most. For example, they can change the setting, change the stone or make other modifications without making any physical changes to the materials.
As of May 2010, the national mean annual salary was $38,520 for jewelry designers and metal workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number used an average hourly wage of $18.52 per hour. Designers in the 25th percentile earned an average of $25,710 per year, while those in the 75th percentile earned around $47,000 per year. These figures are based on years of experience, the type and amount of educational background, and work location. According to Indeed, CAD jewelry designer positions pay an average of $58,000 per year, at the time of publication.
These technology-proficient jewelry artists can work in a wide variety of work settings and industries -- and some pay better than others. As of May 2010, the highest paying industry for designers and metal workers was professional, scientific and technical services. Designers working in this industry earned an annual mean wage of $60,650, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some other high-paying industries include coating and engraving at $46,220 per year, and jewelry, luggage and leather goods stores at $41,590 a year. Mail order houses only paid an average of around $38,600 per year.
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jewelry making and design industry is expected to grow at only a five percent rate between 2008 and 2018 -- slower than average for other occupations. However, opportunities for the limited estimated openings should be better for jewelry designers and gemologists trained in CAD, as this type of technology helps save store owners and manufacturers precious time and energy during the design process.