David, Jewellery business owner
How did you become a jeweller?
David had initially planned to apply his creative skills to a career in architecture, but instead, he decided to get into his father's jewellery business. Today, he is the director of this family business, Grounds Jewellers.
What are some of the pros and cons of the job?
"Being in a family business gives you a lot of flexibility, but what I love most about the job is being able to create pieces from scratch. That personal touch, being able to design and create jewellery is the main fulfilment for me. And a couple of times a year, I make something for my wife," says David.
David also warns that the working conditions can be a little cramped and dirty. "A lot of people see the nice clean jewellery shops and imagine that we work under these conditions, but the job is more like that of a refined blacksmith, really. We work with heat, flame and acid, and often in very small workshops. A lot of places don't have good ventilation, and the fumes can be a bit much for some. Your nails will break, your hands will get dirty, and you'll get the occasional burn or cut from slipping."
He adds, "But it's quite peaceful to work on your own like that. I enjoy sitting down, working uninterrupted."
David says if you'd like to combine travel with work, you'll certainly have the opportunity to do this as a jeweller, as the demand for jewellery in Europe and the US far exceeds the demand here.
What sort of skills and qualities do you need?
Because of the creative nature of the work, you'll definitely require some artistic flair. "When it comes to practical work, a certificate doesn't tell you very much. In a way, you can't really teach someone to be a good jeweller. It's more a case of 'if you've got it, you've got it'. And while the ones with flair do really well, the less talented are usually not so highly paid."
So how do you know if you've "got it"? "You need to enjoy creating things and using your hands. If you're good at drawing and good with your hands, you're on the right track," says David.
Fully functioning hands and good eyesight are crucial. For this reason, the work often becomes quite difficult for older jewellers, and those who injure their hands.
So if you're a jeweller who plays sport, you want to be careful not to break a finger!
It's also a job that requires a certain degree of patience, as you might only make two to three rings in a day, or it could take you as long as four days to make a single piece.
Are there any tips for getting a job as a jeweller?
David assures that if you have the talent, and complete the relevant training (in areas such as jewellery, gemology and diamond technology), that should get you through the doors of most jewellery shops quite easily.
Find out more about a career as a jeweller
Visit the MyFuture website to find more about duties and tasks, work conditions, earnings and required qualifications for a career as a jeweller.
Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).