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Employment in the Metal arts/Jewelery Field


#1

So I have come to the point in my life where I want somewhere I can
enjoy being and settle down into, because I am 22 I have no money
for college right now, I still have not finished my associates degree
and well I would not mind a decent pay check… Basically I am
wondering what everyone here thinks I can achieve, If I should even
try applying as a bench jeweler, this is not a email to ask jewelers
to hire me (though if anyone feels compelled in the Chicago Land and
surrounding suburbs to offer me a job I wont complain).

I am currently a student at College of DuPage community college I
have been taking Jewelery classes for the past 4 years there, I would
say my technical ability is standard to devoted hobbyist, My
knowledge on the subject is vast though thanks to Gankosin,
Obsessively reading MetalSmith Magazine and books. My technical
ability is mostly tampered due to my budget, Iv fabricated, Lost wax
Casted, done molding, Chain making, Resin, almost everything but
stone setting, I have probably set 10 stones in all of my work and 6
of those were in my first test project (It needed work but was not
bad for my first time). My portfolio is very… Well its very
disappointing because I have given away most of my work before taking
photos ( nice one, right?) It basically consists of allot of Cynical,
and one shock value spoon (its a penis spoon… It was a tribute
spoon to Keith Lewis and My teacher Kathy Kamal, If the time ever
comes when I do have a interview I think I will be leaving that out,
I don’t think my potential employer would think to highly of it, even
if it was meant to be tastefully shocking)

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…

Thank you all for your time and reading all my blabbering asking if
I have a chance I really would appreciate your input.

Sincerely,
Michael Woltmann


#2

Well, what kind of work do you want? Your question is pretty wide
open.

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
together.

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
introductions.

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,
anyone can.

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
casting house.

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,

Elaine

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#3

Hello, Several years ago, I became really tired of the self
employment game. I had always been self employed and so I went
looking for a job, it sort of fell in my lap really, one of my
consignment stores was looking for another bench jeweler. Even though
they knew my work I was asked to take their basic job test. You get a
pile of repair envelopes and are told to do what you can. Don’t try
and do them all, just do the best you can do. Four hours later, they
looked it over. It was ring sizings, chain repairs, stone settings
etc. somethings I had never done. I still got the job and they taught
me how they wanted things done.

They hired 2 or 3 other folks the same way while I was there. One
was a fresh out of art school guy, He cleaned up lots of castings and
soldered lots of repairs, and he got really good fast. I worked later
at another store in another town and it was the same thing, they test
and then reteach. So what I am getting at is from my experience, you
learn as you go.

If you go in looking for a job and you are well dressed,
enthusiastic, direct and honest, then you have a chance of getting a
job. People like to hire folks who they can get along with.
Generally, politeness and cleanliness go a long way in a job
interview. If you tell them up front that you are a student wanting
to learn then you can probably get a job. If you can practice
soldering chains, sizing rings, soldering on earring posts, retipping
prongs etc. for a while before you go in, I suggest that you do so.
Practice makes perfect and doing the basics easily and quickly can
synch the deal.

You can go buy a few old 14K and 18k bands at a pawn shop and size
it as many times as possible. It will be good exercise to learn to
work on pieces that have previous multiple solderings, lots of repair
work is done on old junky pieces. Also, buy some silver 4 prong and 6
prongs settings from Rio and set CZ’s. and work on some white gold as
well, it is really different than yellow. If you have to spend a
little money that is just the cost of getting a job. You can always
sell the stuff as scrap later on.

Right now I am looking for a jeweler and can’t find one. I spoke
with the instructor at the local Jr. college here,[ it has a great
program], and I have yet to get a call. [Usually art school students
want to make their own stuff. I know I did for years]. I have offered
a pretty good wage too, and no calls yet. I think that it should be
pretty easy for you to find a job.

so good luck,
Dennis


#4

Hello,

I understand where you are coming from as I was at a similar junction
not too long ago. I believe the choice really comes down to what you
consider a “decent paycheck.” I was advised against becoming a bench
jeweler by friends in the industry because they warned me that the
pay was low and the work was hard and often ungratifying. When making
a choice about a future devoted to a creative field, I think that
there are many important things to consider. For me, this involved
relegating jewelry to a glorified hobby, as I wanted something
steadier and more financially rewarding as a career. I am 31 now and
have realized that work is work no matter how you cut it. I have had
two different careers already and I have found that no matter how
much you love something when you start doing it, after a couple of
years the novelty wears off and then it is just a job. When I made
the decision to keep jewelry to an “arts for arts sake” mode it was
because I love it to much for it to become another droning job, and
because if I was going to go to school for something, you better
believe I wanted the pay to be high across the board. I’m not trying
to dissuade you, I’m just giving you my story. I’m currently in
college (on loans) finishing a bachelors in psychology which I will
eventually turn into a PsyD in hopes of becoming a doctor. Ultimately
only you can decide what’s right for you. A great number of the people
on this board are professional jewelers and can give you first hand
advice. I represent the faction of creative people who decided to be
creative in their spare time.

Augest Derenthal
Cry Baby Designs


#5

I don’t know how to generalize this email for everyones feedback, I
thank you all for the you have given, it was really
needed and I will put it to good use, as for some unanswered areas
about me, My associates is going to be in Fine arts that I wish to
carry to a BFA then MFA… But like I said I barely have money for my
1 jewelery class right now and don’t know if I will be returning next
year depending on how bad it gets.

I will basically take almost any work, I don’t even mind the idea of
a sales job in order to get my foot in the door, and as for the pay
well even if its not good it cant be worse than what I am making now,
and I would rather be doing something I loved for basically nothing
rather than something I don’t like… A job is a job and I am sure
after a few years within the jewelery field I may get my down times
but I do not think I will every hate the job, ever since I took my
first class I fell in love with Metal, I took 2 years off from it and
was a computer major, I came crawling back to jewelery
because I thought about it almost every day for those two years. So
indeed I do have the “Bug” and I don’t know if I could ever consider
it a job like I said above because I love it so much.

As to Phillip, Someone would want to hire me because I have basic
skills withing the field because I can adapt and learn very quickly,
I would be dedicated, because I love doing it, I have extremely
strong work ethics and am very disciplined on all standard levels (
Punctuality, Calling off, attitude, even in the job I dislike right
now). The stone setting, well if you saw them you would prob spit in
my face with the experience you have, they need work, lots of work. I
was always in this for the metal and just added stones to my agenda
last quarter of school. What can I do for them now? well right now
without them willing to train me further I would be a great sales
associate while I train myself in my spare time, if they would be
willing to put forth a effort into me I would not disappoint them I
have never disappointed my employers even at the jobs I hated going
in to. I agree I have a confidence problem, I don’t think allot of my
work is good but I am told differently by everyone, I suppose that is
better than being arrogant though, right? At 22 the teenage exuberance
is drained from my blood, I have held a job down since I was 14 years
old, I have no more time for teenage exuberance it tires me.

Alright thats allot, long day… I think I have lost my mind.

I want to thank everyone again for there input I really needed it.

Michael Woltmann


#6

I am a jewelCAD Designer and looking for job… full time or free
lancer… Do you know where should I try…??

Kindly reply…

Regards,
Tusif
Tusif Ahmad


#7

Dear Michael,

You could probably get a job as a bench jeweler’s apprentice in the
Chicago area. Check in the phone book’s yellow pages under Jewelry
Manufacturer’s or jewelry repair. Call, make appointments, hand out
your resume’, have examples of you craftsmanship ready to show.

As far as a decent paycheck goes, I can only hope things are better
in Chicago than they were in Seattle. Cheap immigrant labor kept wages
so low in that area, being a barista at Starbuck’s paid better.

Working as a bench jeweler, for all the slamming it gets on this
forum, will teach you the skills you need to make jewelry and make a
living. And hopefully you’ll even get paid while you learn. Watch how
the shop is run, get to know contacts in the business, fined master
craftsmen to work under.

I got my platinum training from a master platinum smith that I sat
next to as a bench jeweler. To this day my repair skills still come in
handy every time I am trying something new and I accidentally melt
some part I didn’t want melted. I don’t have to start over, I know how
to fix it so no one can see the fix and so the fix is not a weak
spot.

Don’t stop going to school, keep taking workshops through local
metals guilds, and vacation at the Revere Academe or Penland. Never
stop adding to your skills.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228


#8

Hi Michael.

I was in a similar position to you a few years ago. I was working at
a job I didn’t particularly like and one day while looking through a
local paper I saw an add that said something along the lines of
"Goldsmith Wanted". It got me thinking and eventually I decided that
that was something I wanted to get involved in.

I had made plans to work through a program at a local college when
through a few twists of fate I found myself working in a busy shop
that does repairs and custom work. I worked for free for the first
few months from 8:30 in the morning until 5:30 at night, then ran
across town to my paying job and worked from 6:00 until 2:00 am.
Eventually I couldn’t take the hours anymore and told my boss at the
shop I’d have to quit and he told me he didn’t want me to. He told
me to quit the paying job, and that he’d put me on the payroll at
the shop.

That was about three years ago. I think, no matter what you end up
doing, learning the basics and learning them well and most
importantly learning how to do them quickly enough to put food on
the table can not hurt you. Like everyone says, the pay isn’t great
when you start at the bottom, but if you like the job, the
enthusiasm should carry you along for a while anyhow. As was pointed
out by someone else, sooner or later the reality that this is a job
will set in and it will become less fun on some levels. For me,
doing the work has always been enjoyable, but it’s the clients that
make the work day less fun-filled than one envisions in their mind’s
eye when thinking about what the job will be like.

You either go crazy or you learn to laugh a lot when you get a
package with 60 repairs, 40 of them stamped RUSH in red ink. Clients
showing up five minutes before the shop is to close insisting that
you set a 2 carat princess cut diamond, even though the stone setter
has long ago left for the comfort of his home.

As for opportunities in the field, if you were up here in Vancouver
I’d absolutely ask you to come down to the shop and show us what you
can do. I’m not sure what the situation is in Chicago but up here
there are not enough skilled workers. I’m regularly asked by people
in the industry if I want to go work somewhere else. Believe me,
it’s not the whopping three years experience that has them after me,
it’s the fact that there’s no one else available. I think in all the
time I’ve been at the shop we’ve had three or four people come in
and try out for the job. No one was able to hack it. It’s a hard,
dirty, thankless job most days. I think if you’re presentable and
not so eager that it comes across as being suspicious or clingy you
can certainly find someone who can give you some training in the
Chicago area. I can’t see it being that much different in Chicago
than it is in Vancouver as far as available labour goes.

If this is the field you want to work in, get in anywhere. Any area
is useful as you can never know too much in this business. Let it be
known that you want to work at the bench or wherever and before long
the work will find you. At least, that’s how it goes up here. If you
have any questions about what it’s like to toil as an apprentice in
a busy shop, feel free to email me. I’ll fill you in on all the
shocking details.

  • Leif

#9
Don't stop going to school, keep taking workshops through local
metals guilds, and vacation at the Revere Academe or Penland.
Never stop adding to your skills. 

Thank you, Oh I never plan on stopping I don’t think even the
greatest jewelers truly master everything, what I meant in my email
is that Its becoming so hard right now with everything to even think
about paying for my one jewelery class at my college, or any class
for that matter but the Jewelry class is my priority and has pretty
much been for the past 4 years. But If worse comes to worse I will
have to take off a quarter, But I have enough tools at home, Books,
and Ganoksin to progress my knowledge even if devastation comes to
me financially and I cant afford metal I can always pretend and still
read and learn.

Kind regards,
Michael Woltmann


#10

Michael,

Perhaps the best technical education that I received was the one
that I got from sitting behind the bench at jewelry stores and trade
shops. As Nanz wrote, sitting next to a master or experienced
craftsman is invaluable. The skills–repair, setting, etc.-- and the
tricks and general mindset just can’t be found elsewhere. (Although I
don’t see the “slamming” that the bench jewelers are getting on the
forum: The ire seems to be directed more towards the “Art Jewelers”.)

Until recently, I considered this type of bench education one of the
best ways to accumulate the skills required to make work-- any work,
from Art jewelry of the kind found in “500” books to the sleek pieces
offered up in glossy magazines. What I have recently come to realize,
at least in my experience, is that this type of education can bite
you in the butt if you’re not careful.

Years of working behind the bench producing work that is well
designed and well made is gratifying. But I’ve found that it can
leave you with what I’ve come to call “Imperial Conditioning” (some
turn of phrase memory from “Dune”). Besides being well made, this
type of work is by nature “wearable” and “marketable”. Even after
you’ve left the environment and gone on to do your own–perhaps
"artsy"-- thing, the “Imperial Conditioning” can rear its head and
enter into decision making scenarios in unexpected ways. It can, in
the extreme, in the name of safety change the direction of a piece.
While this can certainly be a good thing, the other side of that
sword is less remarkable work.

I don’t wish to initiate a thread about wearability or the true
nature of jewelry or reopen the whole “500” conversation or comments
about “Awt”. Those of you who know my work or have taken workshops
with me, hopefully, know how I feel about durability, integrity of
idea and the quality of craftsmanship. I have total and complete
respect for bench jewelers of all stripes. I still believe that an
education at the bench and in the trade is one of the best that you
can have and is one that is widely applicable.

My caveat, though, is that one should be sure use it to their
benefit, channel it to whatever direction excites them while at the
same never allowing it to steer the ship too far from where you want
to go.

Take care, Andy Cooperman


#11

Michael, I would advise you to approach this like any other career.
The more education you have the better. I will tell my kids this if
they want to come into my field; Take these trade school classes;

New Approach School for stone setting and anything else they offer.

GIA stone ID classes, maybe get a GG if you think it will make
money. Don’t take trade school classes if you can’t see the direct
path to making money, a 4 year college is much better for that. Get
a 4 year degree in business and art. Don’t get caught up in chasing
the prestige of schools, trade or otherwise. Get a business education
if not in a 4 year college then a junior college. Take entrepenuer
classes, they have a degree in entrepenuer-ship here and the
University of Arizona. I listened to people when they told me there
was no money for education so I later in life I paid professionals
to teach me while in the trenches. Talk about expensive education, I
feel you will have to learn all that stuff at some time, better to
get it out of the way and have the college experience while young. A
business education will be a great asset if you ever want to strike
out on your own, and will also benefit any business you work for. If
you don’t think you will want to strike out on your own at some
point then trade schools are a great option, they give concentrated
education then you must go out and learn how to do it out of the
lab.

Sam Patania, Tucson
www.patanias.com


#12

Dear Michael,

Nanz is truly correct when he talks about spending time on the
bench, especially doing repair, this can really fine tune your skill
with the torch and your stone setting skills!

And even more important is the Never Stop Learning part, If you do
decided to take up workshops and spend some time in California, check
out our website www.jewelrytraining.com

it will have on our workshops and summer camp as well,
good luck in your ventures and please feel free to contact us with
any questions

Gabriel
1800-731-1122


#13

There is such a wide variety of craftspeople on Orchid, it’s just
such an amazing place. I have seen, in the photo galleries, also a
wide variety of craftsmanship. I will make you a (whimsical) bet: if
you see work that makes you think of Tiffany’s or Faberge - very
fine, very disciplined, very refined, I would bet those people worked
as “bench” jewelers - a term I’ve never heard of really except here.
My file is an extension of my hand, I can saw anything, any way - I
think of my torch as a hot glue gun, not a torch - “tack, tack, flow,
warm - done!” It’s all second nature. A lady wanted her $25,000 watch
clasp tightened, and I just picked up a hammer and went “Whack”, and
it was done - second nature. All this comes from being a "bench"
jeweler. Having someone hand you the $25,000 watch to size to begin
with comes from being a “bench” jeweler. Anybody who makes a living
off of jewelry is a professional, but the Trade of jewelry, and Union
shops, and yes, “bench” jewelers is the Profession of being a
jeweler. Having a box of job bags with 50 rings each to be filed and
soldered is incredibly boring, yes, but it teaches you everything
that’s important, trains your hands and eyes, and your co-workers,
over the years, will teach you everything that means anything. My
last “bench” was in a shop that had pieces in the DeBeers ads, and
was a major supplier to Zales-fine work and high standards. Go knock
on some doors - real shops won’t give you “tests”, they’ll just sit
you at a bench, give you a job, and watch everything you do - you
can’t hide if you are, or are not qualified.


#14

Michael,

Often, metalartists have small production lines which have simple
tasks, which while are not fun, can teach somebody the basics while
getting paid. I have such a line sitting at my bench. When I discuss
this with some one, they all look at me like, “that’s too much work.
I really just want to make my own jewelry.” But of course, they never
do.

The point of this is, put an ad out for working as a part time
assistant for production jewelry. I would even pay for that Jewelry I
class and probably Jewelry II!

Don’t despair. I know you love the medium. I’ve had the bug for a
long time, but as a career, came into this quite quickly. My total
time for working in jewelry is 15 years. I started in adult ed and
then art school. Had I known that I liked to work with my hands, or
moreover, been supported in that endeavor by my family, I would have
been at Revere Academy long ago.

Advertise that you offer help in production work. It’s not
glamorous, but it will get your foot in the door and keep you working
on something you enjoy.

If you live close to me, I’ll put you to work!

-k

Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


#15

Michael,

I was reading through this thread. I also have a fine arts
background. I manage a Jared repair shop in MN. We do basic bench
jewelry, repair, setting, pearl stringing and a little custom. Our
company is always working for enthusiastic people who have the have
the “bug”. I would like to suggest that in the Chicago area there are
several Sterling Inc affiliated stores but check with any of the
"Jared" stores. They always have a repair shop. Jared shops are full
service jeweler, doing repair to custom work. It may not be the
jewelry as fine art, if that is what your looking for. But it is a
good company to work for with great benefits. There may be apprentice
level openings that could get you in the door with a decent paycheck
but more valuable it the education benefits (along with a strong
benefit package for employees) Sterling teaches and trains on every
level. With Sterling you can learn and grow with a great company.
There are also a lot of promotion opportunities offered at Sterling
that aren’t usually open to jewelers. And I will also encourage you
to learn and develop your skills every where you can. Good luck and I
hope you find not just a job your looking for but a career.

Maegan Lufkin
Sterling Inc
MN


#16

Hi Maegan;

I manage a Jared repair shop in MN. We do basic bench jewelry,
repair, setting, pearl stringing and a little custom. Our company
is always working (you mean looking? *DLH*) for enthusiastic people 

I’m afraid the word is quickly spreading the Jared is not a good
place to work. I have at least two jewelers who have described, to
me, a nightmare of high pressure expectations, truly inferior
jewelry that is difficult to repair, and that old trick of making all
employees managers so they can be worked way over 40 hours per week
with no overtime. Seems they have landed on a magic number of "40"
jobs a day, but this doesn’t count time spent fishing the stones out
of the ultrasonic that regularly fall out of the shoddy merchandise.
Are you ready to tell me, then, that the stories I have personally
heard are just anomalies?

David L. Huffman, always with an ear to the ground.


#17

Bench jeweler of approx. 30 yrs. Iam 50 yrs. young. I took a position
with Sterling Inc.as a Bench Jeweler( of course) 5 years ago. My
reasons were many, one was for my future. I was promoted with in one
year to a Jared Shop manager, which I proudly accepted. The quality
of jewelry I see on a daily basis is the same as its always been. I
see alot of jewelry, more work than I have ever seen in my entire
career and not because it inferior. Talk about job security. I work
abut the same hours I always have 48 to 58 hrs. a week. My staff(who
are all excelent Bench Jewelers) and myself complete on time,done
right ,quality repairs and custom designs to our customers on average
400 to 700 times a week. Irregardless of where the jewelry came from
or what condition it was in.Fishing stones out of a ultrasonic has
been a mandatory past time of mine for 30 years. I may not get payed
any overtime, however my bonus package and my incentive package well
than make up for that.Sterling is sending me to a Fairmont Resort in
Mayakoba Mexico, all inclusive, for a week. Google that.I believe
Bench Jewelers want to be paid well and most are more than willing to
work hard to get there. Sterling employs approx. 660 bench jewelers
at present,they will want to double that in 5 to 8 years. Those of
you who are looking for a future as a Bench Jeweler could do alot
worse.David L. Huffman knows of two…anoma-lies


#18

If you are working 8 to 18 hours per week that should be overtime at
1 1/2 time or more, I seriously doubt that any bonus they give you
makes up for the lost wages. For it to be a ‘bonus’, it has to be the
amount OVER what they are legally required to pay you. Also, for your
own if an important part of your job is performing
labor, such as you personally doing jewelry repair, instead of
actively managing the work of others, your position is considered to
be non-exempt by the federal government, and is REQUIRED to be paid
overtime for any hours over 40 per week.

Are you only shorted the overtime pay differential, (in other words,
do you get paid straight time per hour for every hour you work,
instead of EXTRA PER HOUR overtime for the hours over 40), or are you
on a salary that only pays you for your 40 hours per week and the
rest is free labor for Sterling? Either way, unless your job is far
more than 50% managerial, you are being shorted a LOT of money, and
Sterling is breaking US labor law.

Lee Cornelius - whose wife happens to be the Director of Human
Resources for a large health care organization.

Vegas Jewelers


#19

Hi Bru;

Sorry, it’s a little worse than the 2 former employees. There’s also
what I know from personal experience with Sterling. Unless the people
at the top are an entirely different crew, which, I’ll grant, is
possible, I don’t have much respect for the entire company. But
things may have changed, it’s been a while. I just suspect the
business model hasn’t changed. And so far, you haven’t really
contradicted some of what I’ve said and some things you haven’t even
replied to.

  1. are you salaried for that 48-58 hours per week?

  2. is that 40 jobs no-matter-what policy in effect for your shop?

  3. do you have a laser welder? The shops I heard about didn’t.

  4. I never said you shouldn’t have to pick stones out of the sonic,
    just that it shouldn’t happen so often that it puts undue pressure on
    a jeweler to keep up.

As for quality, perhaps the cheap stuff came from Kay’s or one of
the other’s under Sterling’s umbrella, but I have no doubt I was told
the truth. From what I understand, Jared’s working shops are hubs for
repairs from the other Sterling brand stores.

These people I spoke with had nothing to gain telling me what they
did, and having been in the trade as long as I have, I know there are
just some stories that can’t be made up. I was also not at all
impressed with the wages one of the jewlers was paid, considering
what I know his skill level is. I think it was off by at least 10
grand. I guess if you’re saving that much on wages, a little all
expenses paid vacation isn’t going to break the bank. And to my
thinking, 48-58 hours a week without overtime, or worse, for salary,
means your real hourly rate is probably pretty low. I’m glad you’re
happy with your position. But I’m still recommending that people
avoid working for mall chains, in general, and I’m still very
suspicious that Jared’s is not a good career move.

David L. Huffman


#20

I can’t pass up commenting on this… I have been lurking, reading
this topic with some interest. I used to work for Jared, and was
fired…twice! (fired then rehired, then fired again. Very long story)
I cannot recommend working for them, but they do have the best
warranty of all the jewelry chain stores. I must note, I was not a
bench jeweler; I was an office associate, but I worked in the shop
with the jewelers. The shop I worked in was highly stressful, the
jewelers were overly dramatic know it alls, they overworked the
polisher, were micromanaged, etc. When problems arose, the shop
manager did nothing. It seemed that they were more concerned with
numbers (who did the most amount of jobs). One jeweler would do all
the easy jobs (sizing, and re-solders) while the other two bench
jewelers would do the harder jobs (stone setting, etc). The first
jeweler’s number were higher, so he looked like he was out performing
the other two jewelers. Many times I saw them repremanded for having
low numbers, but it really wasn’t their fault. One of the bench
jewelers said several times (to the office girls) that Jared was the
hardest and most stressful bench job she had ever taken! The good
news is if you are a shop manager for long enough (20-25 yrs) they
give you a Rolex. As for the vacation, you’ll need it! The jewelry is
all mass produced and some are not produced well, so you’ll see the
same pieces come in all the time!

Please take this with a grain of salt, I am incredibly biased. But I
did work there long enough to become a certified diamontologist, and
realize I wanted to run my own company.

On a positive note, being a shop manager or a bench jeweler is a job
and it can get your foot in the door. But working for a smaller store
might be more ideal. Have you considered checking Craigslist in your
area? In my area, there are tons of postings for artists, and a
handful for jewelers…Just a thought.

Rachael
www.lovingjewelry.com
Luscious Jewelry for Today’s Woman