HOW TO BECOME A JEWELLER
Jewellers and goldsmiths fabricate and repair rings, brooches, pendants and bracelets, among other things. They use fine precision tools to cut, saw, file and polish jewellery.
The jewellery manufacturing industry can be divided into two types of production:
Craftwork: individual articles that are handmade by skilled craftsmen; and
Mass production: moulds and machines are used to produce a large number of articles as quickly as possible.
Jewellers who work in jewellery stores and repair shops provide a variety of services to their customers. Much of their time is spent repairing jewellery and watches, and doing hand engraving.
Typical repair jobs include enlarging or reducing rings, resetting stones and replacing broken clasps and mountings.
Some jewellers also design jewellery that will later be made either by hand or by machines.
Jewellers and goldsmiths shape the metal with hand tools or cast it in moulds to their own designs or those created by designers. They solder together individual parts to form the finished piece. They may cast designs in precious metal and mount diamonds or other stones on the piece.
Jewellers and goldsmiths use pliers, files, saws, hammers, torches, soldering irons and a variety of other hand tools.
Jewellers and goldsmiths work indoors at manufacturing concerns, retail jewellers, goldsmiths and at repair shops. The environment is usually pleasant, hygienic and wellequipped.
Being creative; Doing precise detailed work; Pleasant working conditions; and Working with the public.
The possibility of eye strain resulting from a lot of detailed work;
The concentration required when working with tiny objects; Working on one’s own; and Sitting for long periods of time, as well as physical and mental strain.
A goldsmith and jeweller should be/have: At least 16 years old; Artistic ability; A patient, accurate and neat worker; Perseverance and concentration; Careful and reliable; Mechanical, technical and practical aptitude; Enjoy precise, detailed work; Excellent eyesight; Good manual dexterity; and Good eye-hand coordination.
There are no compulsory subjects, but recommended subjects are visual arts, mathematics and English.
For a degree course, a National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements is required.
Similarly, for a diploma course, a National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements is required. For a learnership, a Grade 9 certificate is required. Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.
Diploma: The Durban, Central, Tshwane and Cape Peninsula universities of technology offer a course in jewellery manufacture and design, as does the University of Johannesburg.
This includes practical training, as well as training in gemmology (training in the identification, classification and discrimination of gems).
Certificate: Cape Town’s Further Education and Training college offers the jewellery manufacture course. There are four recognised learnerships:
Precious metal working and mounting – five years (including diamond mounting) Diamond and jewel setting – five years Engraving – four years Mounting and precious metal working – three years Final examination: a compulsory trade test set by the department of labour to qualify as an artisan.
Short part-time courses in jewellery design and manufacture are offered by privately run operations.
Jewellery manufacturers Retail goldsmiths and jewellers Jewellery, clock and watch repair shops Self-employment – skilled and entrepreneurial goldsmiths and jewellers can start their own businesses
The Jewellery Council of SA on 011 484 5528.