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How do I Become a Jewelry Designer?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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Making an income as a jewelry designer may sound like a fantasy, but it can be a reality if you prepare and enact a workable business plan. For a creative, entrepreneurial person with a passion for jewelry, a job as a jewelry designer can be a realistic working from home option. One of the best things about a career or side job working for yourself as a jewelry designer is having the opportunity to earn income by doing something you’re passionate about. To become a jewelry designer, you should create a business plan, learn jewelry making techniques, develop original jewelry designs and sell your creations according to your plan.

Your business plan for becoming a jewelry designer can be very simple. First, gather information and comply with the requirements for having and running your own small business in your area. Then plan your marketing essentials by deciding who your targeted customers will be and how you can best reach them. Take all the information you collected and create your business plan with dates for achieving each goal. The financial risks are minimal as long as you have another income and will be working from your home.

You will need to invest in some jewelry making supplies and equipment, but this should be minimal since you need only start with a few pieces. Narrow down the jewelry styles you love and that your target customer will buy. You should plan way ahead of season, research trends and then create your own original jewelry designs as your take on the trends. Learn the techniques of the types of jewelry you’ve decided to start with and practice these.

As a jewelry designer, it’s important to wear your designs – not only to gauge the reaction you get, but to make sure the techniques you use stand up well during actual wear. Time and care should be taken to develop your designs into the best quality of jewelry possible. Your name is on the line as a jewelry designer and you won’t get very far in this endeavor if your creations fall apart or you use low quality wire in which the finish flakes off. Once you’ve developed your designs into about ten salable, wearable high quality pieces of jewelry, you can start selling them.

A local craft fair is often the perfect place to test your first ten original jewelry designs as long as your target demographic of customer will be shopping there. You can get an idea what people think of your jewelry designs and what prices they’re willing to pay. Although you don’t need much in the way of business start-up funds or supplies, you should have some business cards and some materials for displaying your jewelry designs effectively. For example, rather than laying your pieces flat out on a table top, you may find that cardboard stands covered in elegant black fabric may work better to get your designs noticed. You may want to create a suggestion box and place it along with paper and pens at one end of your table to help you get some feedback on your jewelry.

Learn from your first exposure as a jewelry designer and make needed changes. Your next steps in selling your products could be through an e-commerce website or you could make appointments with store managers in your area to see if they’ll carry some of your jewelry pieces. Keep designing and adding new pieces. As a jewelry designer, you should constantly be modifying your designs to meet the desires of your growing customer base. The best jewelry designers are those that have a real passion for creating unique, quality pieces of wearable jewelry.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By FernValley — On Feb 12, 2011

Handcrafted designer jewelry is gaining a following, I think, especially things considered fair trade, made of recyclable materials, or otherwise related to environmental or human rights issues. As long as you have something to set you apart in your own niche, and work hard to get noticed, success really is possible.

By panda2006 — On Feb 10, 2011

A lot of top jewelry designers started small, with their own small stores or through word of mouth without even having a real store. You can definitely work your way up to making a living, if not further.

By hyrax53 — On Feb 09, 2011

A lot of independent jewelry and other hand crafts designers are having a lot of luck these days with the website Etsy, which allows you to have a personal online store in a whole network of handmade crafts stores.

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