A jewellery designer seems like such a cool thing to do. They have quite a history as jewellery has always been popular regardless of the century. Jewellery designers were originally called goldsmiths even in Ancient Greece. Many designers are simply carrying on family tradition and in many countries, this is certainly the case. They grew up around gold and silver and precious gems and learnt how to make jewellery from their family, often from a young age.
A modern day example of this is the Paloma Picasso, daughter of the famous painter, who designs jewellery for Tiffany. Her pieces have a dynamic look and most certainly she has learnt a lot about design from her father.
In today’s world a jewellery designer needs to know about gemology as well as metalsmithing. Sometimes designs are created in a model wax especially for jewellers or sometimes in silver so the designer can create a mould. If the design is successful, this can then be produced in many numbers and can include silver, platinum or gold, for example.
There are jewellery designers who work for individuals. You can work with a designer to have your engagement ring made, for example. There will be an initial consultation where you get to know the designer and he or she gets to understand you a little better. You can explain what you would like and the designer will sketch some preliminary designs (or even use a computer design program) to see what you think. You can go from there until you both agree on the perfect engagement ring for you. Then you will know that your ring is unique and no-one else has one the same as yours.
The designer also has to know exactly how the work involved is done. Otherwise he could design things that are impossible to make. This is why designers usually make the jewellery as well as just design them. That means they have to have knowledge of many things, including mounting which is the actual frame for the piece involved and this often means forming as well as drilling so that the gem will fit exactly. The final piece will need to be polished. Sometimes other processes are involved such as electro-plating which means layering a precious metal like gold onto a base metal. Sometimes jewellery is engraved or metal is welded together – today this can be done by laser. Enamel jewellery is also an intricate process.
It is only through knowing and doing all the work involved that the jewellery designer can work on his or her own designs. Even today, goldsmiths in many countries mean going to a special school as well as becoming an apprentice and this process can take around three years.
Often designers choose to work with jewellery stores but they have to promote and develop their own business. They have to get their name out there. This is why it is important for them to develop their individual trademark designs so that eventually people associate these special designs with the name of the designer. This is true of the above example of Paloma Picasso.