So I would like to ask, what does the word "jeweler" describe.
Anyone who owns a jewelry store can call themselves jewelers, and
a bench jeweler specifically denotes someone with some skill of
filing, sawing, soldering, setting, polishing.
I think this is a very good point, also one that many people
struggle with in one form or the other. The labels we are given (as
hard as it is to ignore) have a certain effect on how we view
ourselves. Just yesterday, a person was at my house, doing some work,
and noticed some of my jewelry on the counter. He asked if I had made
the jewelry and when I said that I had his reply was (steady
yourself) "Yeah, I know a girl who 'does jewelry', maybe you know
her....she does those Tiffany things, you know, the knock-offs..." I
had to stop and think, did this man just put me on par with someone
who sells illegal knock-offs of Tiffany jewelry?....yes, I believe he
did. It bothers me too, it probably always will, but I try to use
things like this as a springboard to other achievements.
A couple of months ago, there was a discussion on Orchid of Petra
Class (sp?). Some of the comments were "that stuff is ugly" and "my
first year students can set better than that". Fortunately for Petra,
there came along another source of external validation (other than
Orchid), it is the Smithsonian Craft Show. This artist can now take
comfort in the fact that he/she (sorry) is a Smithsonian Craft Show
You have been in this business for many years. You have achieved
what many more have not and that is, to be still in this business
after many years. If that is not enough validation (and it could be)
then maybe, at this point, you can search for a bit of a challenge.
Some people gain personal validation from teaching, some from
competing, some from doing shows. Is there anything that comes to
mind for you that you would like to try? I'm being serious now, and
speaking from the heart.
All of the talk about me being a beader and beaders not being "real"
got my goat, but I used it. My 3500 savings was sitting there in the
bank, just sitting. I kept saying, some time soon, I'm going to
school. I'm going to work with metal. I'm going to be a metalsmith,
it's my dream. The comments irked me enough into action. Now I can't
figure out what I was waiting for.
Sorry, I know this wasn't exactly your question. The answer to that
is, I would never think of calling myself a jeweler, possibly student
or designer, but only because the customers are comforted if I manage
to myself something, whatever it ends up being.
Best of Luck to you