Others may have more specific tasks but the ones I would look for
are what retail business needs to be successful in everyday routine
I have typed this directly from first thoughts and others may
certainly alter this list. Here listed are basics, knowing of course
that some skills require more than one technique to complete:
CLEANING, with appropriate use of steam, ultrasonic and other
SOLDERING with fuel gas/oxygen torch, including use of all ranges of
precious metal solders including the most useful hard solders. The
joints must be complete and free of defects when finished. (You
should know how to use both liquid and paste flux.) Basic work would
be jumprings, perhaps, with soldering a bezel in place considered
RING SIZING in gold and silver (some shops do not do silver) and
knowing how to care for various gemstones in the process. Work
includes enlarging and reducing without cutting, sizing by adding or
removing metal, sizing ring sets joined together when received.
CHAIN REPAIR (basic)
PRONG AND SETTING REPAIR, including retipping so it is not apparent
and resetting stones in repaired settings.
APPLICATION AND INSTALLATION OF BASIC FINDINGS such as jumprings,
necklace and chain clasps, earpost replacement, etc.
BASIC STONE SETTING, including “tiffany” style settings.
GENERAL STONE TIGHTENING in prong and bead set designs. (Even if you
cannot yet do bead setting, you need to learn to tighten stones in
FINISHING, including from the pickle pot to the customer, providing
a well finished item in the original style as received with repair
service not visible if at all possible. This means using a flex
shaft machine and assorted wheels, burs, sanders, etc.; use of a
full sized dust collector/buffing station and proper use of buffs
and different compounds.
Chris, work in platinum or palladium will be needed at some time and
that can often be learned on the job. Of course, a bench test shows
ability to do basics to get started, with consideration that you are
not acclimated to the particular work set-up at the time of the
bench test. Time at the bench with actual daily work is the real
teacher. On the job you would be expected to know how to do the
basic work and to get better and faster at you gain experience. I
have listed basic skills. Any other skills you can bring to the
table will be a plus, certainly so if the shop does creative design
and custom work.
This testing does go two ways. I have seen job applicants given
bench tests which were pulled out of the sky by store owners, it
would seem, with no apparent thought to what the test would
accomplish. What I witnessed was terribly unfair to the applicant
and honestly useless to the employer in defining the skill levels of
the jeweler tested. Some store owners are not so knowledgeable in
professional bench work and do not know how to test properly. If the
test seems totally inappropriate, you may ask about it. You may
learn something of the employer in this regard and it might not be
the right place to work. What the test is made of and how it is
presented will tell something of the working environment and what may
be expected of you. Chain stores will often have a proven and
consistent testing method. An independent store may or may not
present an adequate or fair test.
Best Wishes. Tom