Well, what kind of work do you want? Your question is pretty wide
Hmm. Where to start, where to start?
Whether to apply as a bench jeweler?
A. Would you be happy doing that kind of work?
B. Could you get hired?
If yes to A, then sure, try B. However, "decent paycheck" and
breaking into bench work as an employee somewhere do not always go
Most places have a bench test at the interview. Probably someone on
this list could tell you what it usually consists of. I've done two
at interviews, one so long ago I don't remember what I was asked to
do. The other I remember it was super basic, like drill this piece of
silver. (No, I didn't take either job.)
You've got good technical skills, I bet you could pass a bench test.
The bad news is the jobs are not so plentiful.
Not to be discouraging. It's possible.
Look for openings, network, meet people, join all the professional
associations and go to the meetings, hand out your card and resume.
Attend the upcoming SNAG conference, do the same. Send out
unsolicited letters and follow up. Better, get personal
So let me know what you think, I really love this field I really
want to be a part of it, even if its a peon in training or someone
to take me under there wing and show me all of their secrets....
This is possible, but it generally doesn't pay much. I worked as an
apprentice downtown. Loved that job. One of the best jobs I ever had.
Learned so much, so fast. I'd tell you how much I got paid, but I am
too embarrassed to do that on an open forum.
Start taking pictures! Build the $15.00 photo booth I posted here
recently. Build your portfolio. If I can take passable pictures,
One of your advantages is that you do have some wax/casting
experience, so you're not just bench work. Maybe try a casting house.
I've known others in Chicago to break into the industry through a
One of the barriers to employment in the jewelry industry is not
being "known," getting in someplace even if in sales or something
else you don't want to do, will help you get known.
Once someone has employed you and you've passed the paper and pencil
honesty test, others will be more willing to hire you, and maybe you
can make the leap to the bench.
Another thing in your favor is you've got the "bug" and you can't
keep away. Others can see that and often like to encourage others
with the same affliction. Dedication and perseverance are always
good, and you've got them.
Good luck, and feel free to pester me off line with more questions,
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay