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How To Become a Jewellery Designer in Australia

Q Report Team
Updated on October 06, 2022
5 min read

Are you a creative person that loves the craft of jewellery design? If so, you may be considering launching your career as a jeweller. Jewellery designers use their creativity and their material expertise to design and oversee the implementation process of manufactured jewellery products. They also offer custom designs that are based on clients' needs and visions.

As a jewellery designer, you will: 

  • Create new and unique jewellery designs to sell to customers 
  • Oversee the process of jewellery creation, from planning to production
  • Prepare drawings and samples of jewellery for clients to look over and review
  • Order materials and create an estimated budget
  • Work with clients, sales, and manufacturing so you and your team can achieve your company vision and deliver high-quality jewellery products.


How Do I Get Started?

To become a qualified jeweller in Australia, you are required to go under someone's wing as an apprentice. This apprenticeship is a mixture of old-fashioned "on-the-job" training, and classroom training and assignments. 

As an apprentice, the timeframe of your term will depend on the state you are undertaking your apprenticeship in but generally lasts between 4 -5 years. The classroom portion of your training will be undertaken by one of the various training organisations around Australia, but the most common ones are TAFE institutes.


How Do I Get an Apprenticeship?

There are a variety of ways to go about getting an apprenticeship as a jewellery designer: 

  • Contact australianapprenticeships.gov.au
  • Reach out to employers you would like to be employed under and submit a resume
  • Reach out to your closest TAFE campus, which will likely be where your classroom training will be held. Employers often have close relationships with TAFE institutes and actively look for apprentices through them.


Identify Your Jewellery Style

As with most things in life, picking specific niches or styles you enjoy more than others and then mastering them, will always be better as an artisan than the "jack of all trades" approach. Sure, you'll want to be able to be well-rounded and capable of making different types of jewellery, but you need to identify your style. 

Maybe you fancy stud earrings, or maybe you're really passionate about working with rose old and rings with gemstones. Maybe you have a particular talent for crafting exquisite bangle bracelets, or pendant necklaces. The point is, find a few of the styles you love, and stick with them. As you go along, you'll eventually develop signature characteristics that are yours, and yours alone. 

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Make Sure You Have The Proper Toolkit For a Designer

It's absolutely essential for every jewellery designer to have the proper tools at their disposal for jewellery-making. You can pick up the tools separately, or buy them in a pre-packaged kit online, but the general makeup of every toolkit looks like this: 

  1. Flat Nose Pliers - These will be one of your main go-to tools. They'll make it loads easier opening jump rings, finishing wire-wrapped ends and a whole plethora of other tasks that would take all day to list here. You might even want to consider grabbing a second pair to tackle tricky work. 
  2. Round Nose Pliers - These are great for making wire loops, hoops, and clasps. 
  3. Wire Cutters - It would be a good idea to invest in some higher quality wire cutters. Due to the sheer amount of cutting you'll be doing; cheaper ones will wear out fairly fast. 
  4. Nylon Tipped Pliers - Great for smoothing out wire that gets kinks in it. 
  5. Flush Cutter - Similar to wire cutters, but they never leave loose ends. The only drawback to these is each pair can only handle one specific gauge.
  6. Ruler - For size gauging and reference. Graphing rulers are even better.
  7. Practice Material - It wouldn't be a great idea to practice with gold, silver, or other precious materials until you've got a firm grip on the craft. Even then it's always good to do a practice run with cheaper material. Copper wire is a great alternative because of its malleability, but you can use any base metal. 
  8. Disk Punch - Great for cutting circles, squares, hearts, and other shapes. 
  9. Jeweller’s Saw - This is an essential item for intricate jewellery that has lots of little edges and cuts. 
  10. Wire - Wire comes in all different types: aluminium, gold, silver etc. Make sure you stock up on different gauges as well, such as 24-gauge, 26 gauge, and so on. 


Designing Jewellery Pieces

This is where it gets fun. You may be creating your own intricate piece of art, or you may be bringing your client's vision to life. In any case, the process remains largely the same. You'll start off with an initial concept, such as the characteristics of an engagement ring, for example. You then move on to the sketching process. 

After you've got a rough sketch of your jewellery design and it is settled upon, many jewellers now use what's known as CAD software so they can view the concept jewellery in the form of a computer-generated image. Some also create a wax model. After the model has been approved, your custom piece is hand-built and hand-finished. 


Getting Your Designs to Market

You'll want to pay attention to what's trending in the jewellery market at all times and make sure you focus your designs accordingly. For example, In Australia, charms and beaded bracelets are very popular in 2021-2022, as well as jewellery with bright enamel. This can change depending on the month, week, location, etc. Make sure you pay close attention. 


In Conclusion

Being a jewellery designer is an incredibly rewarding profession. You get to indulge your artistic muse, as well as provide people with exquisite and unique jewellery that they'll cherish for the rest of their lives. 


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