A jeweler manufactures and repairs articles of jewelery, such as rings, bracelets, and pendants. This job also includes the enlarging or reducing of sizes of rings, soldering pieces of jewelery together, reshaping or restyling old jewelery, and the polishing of jewelery. Equipment used includes various hand tools, a polishing wheel, a soldering iron, a jeweler’s lathe and a drill. Jewelle’s also estimate the value of jewelery such as, for example, looking at factors such as colour, cut, clarity and carats of diamonds. Skills needed for this career are a good knowledge of jewellery styles and designs, metals and alloys, gemstones and their values, different methods of cutting and setting gemstones, as well as technical skills, maths skills, and problem-solving skills.
Jané Bloem and Charnelle Van den Bergh are jewellers at White Apple Jewellers, a niche jeweller in Newlands.
Charnelle’s grandfather made jewellery and while making her career choice, she spent a week with him. On her first day there, she asked him what he was doing in the garage and he said making jewellery and joined him and instantly fell in love with Jewellery making.
Jané, on the other hand, did a few aptitude tests which all indicated that she should go into industrial design or jewellery design. She then sent her portfolio to Cape Technikon and was accepted. She decided to follow the career after she was chosen for the course as only 12 people were accepted. They all told us about their glittering careers.
A jeweller can also be known as a jewellery designer and manufacturer. Starting out a jeweller can expect to earn R3 500. This can go up to R5 000 or R6 000. Jané says that “you can earn up to R35 000 and you can earn more with different metals”.
Jané and Charnelle own their own shop so they control everything of the business. They said a jeweller designs jewellery, does bench work, repairs and manufactures jewellery.
Pros and cons
The pros are that you do creative work everyday; no day is the same, it is interesting, and you get to meet different people. Also customer satisfaction is pro.
The cons are the condition of your hands after all the work. But other then that Jané and Charnelle agree that there are not many cons.
Required studies and experience
There are numerous training colleges around the country that offer short courses of two years. Jane and Charnelle did there studies at Tecknikon where they studied for four years. Charnelle says that “you need experience for your pay to increase and you need to do an apprenticeship which is like a trade test”.
The personality needed for this career includes patience, good people skills, understand what a client wants, being able to see in 3D, creativity and time management.
An average day
An average day says Jané and Charnelle is “quotes and ordering stuff (paperwork) which we do when we come in, in the mroning. We work in unison, while one of us does repairs, the other will do manufacturing. We also have clients coming in through the day.”
The best thing about the job
“When you design something for someone and they weren’t quite sure but you knew they would love it, the look on their face when they see it is so rewarding and fulfilling. That is the ultimate high,” says Charnelle and Jané.
The worst thing about the job
“When you break a stone or if you have to redesign something,” frown Charnelle and Jané
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