Job title?

Hey all, kind of a funny question… but I’m designing my first
business card and I’m not sure what to call myself as far as job
title goes.

I hear all these terms float around like “jewelry designer, bench
jeweler, production artist, etc” I design a lot of jewelry, nobody
makes it for me, and I make as much as I can in my 40+ hours of work
at the university lab that I can fit in after college classes. I’m
not a bench jeweler or a production jeweler, but what do all these
titles mean, and what do you call a person who designs and creates

Also - one other question off the topic. Where can i get some
gradient paper like the kind often used in jewelry photography?
I’ve seen some nice papers used in backgrounds that fade smoothly
from grey to black, white to grey, etc.


David Tomich

 I'm designing my first business card and I'm not sure what to
call myself as far as job title goes. 

Oooohh! Good one, David!!!

You could always go with the “lineup.” Goldsmith, silversmith,
designer, etc. Takes up a lot of real estate on the card though.
Then there’s the ubiquitous “jewelry artist.” I’ve recently come to
the feeling that’s backwards, though. I’m feeling most comfortable
with “artist jeweler.” It means almost the same thing, but the
subtle emphasis is different. The change in my mind set has yet to be
reflected on my cards though… which I print myself.

All the best,


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Dear David, This is a great question, one I have debated for a long
time. I come up with " jewelry artist" time and again. Paper you
describe can be found at a photography store.

Sam Patania, Tucson

Try this one - A person who designs and makes jewelery is called a

It’s a good old fashioned name that has been in use for centuries.

Tony Konrath

        Try this one - A person who designs and makes jewelery is
called a "Goldsmith." It's a good old fashioned name that has been
in use for centuries. 

The problem is, calling yourself a goldsmith when you don’t use gold
confuses people. So is a person who designs and makes jewelry in
silver called a silversmith? No, that’s a person who raises hollow

My business card says Jewelry Artist, Teacher, Speaker (and in a
separate line) Certified PMC Instructor. Though I like artist
jeweler and may switch.

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Certified PMC Instructor

 Where can i get some gradient paper like the kind often used in
jewelry photography? I've seen some nice papers used in backgrounds
that fade smoothly from grey to black, white to grey, etc. 

Helix Camera, in Chicago, IL, sells these in two sizes. Any high
quality, professional camera supply store in your area should sell
them. Or see if Helix does mail order.

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Certified PMC Instructor

Try this one - A person who designs and makes jewelery is called a
"Goldsmith." It's a good old fashioned name that has been in use
for centuries. 

…yeah, but what if you don’t actually work in gold yet? :slight_smile:

seriously, I have asked my self that question before too. I started
out by working in copper, brass and nickel wire for two years then
gradually switched to silver and gold fill. Also, in my opinion, a
person is a silver or gold smith only, if they can do every technique
in the material that is known. so, I’m not a silver smith. I’m not
even a generic jeweler in my own eyes. on the other hand,
“wireworker” doesn’t quite cut it either, due to the many people out
there, that choose wire work as a cheesy two minute way to wrap a
tumbled rock, and that’s not what I do.

anyway, I’m rumbling,

Hi, David, I’m in somewhat the same position–I am self-employed
as a jeweler, in whatever time I can eke out from the demands of
life (I’m a good deal older than you, but have children and other
responsibilities). I consider myself an artist, whose medium is
jewelry. I have not always been a jeweler, but I have always been an
artist. So, I say I am an artist-jeweler, or a jewelery artist. As
for gradients–you can buy them at a good photo supply place.
They’re beautiful, but a bit fragile. Some people partially
spray-paint the back of a piece of glass. Personally, I have created
a selection of gradients on a photo-editing program (Hot Shots) in
assorted shapes(straight, oval, round, curved, one like ripples
spreading in an oval from the center) and textures. They yellow
after a while, but I can always print a new one (on photo paper).
They are very large files, but I’m very happy with them–except when
a piece has to stand up, in which case, an 8 1/2 x 11 may be too
small. HTH! --Noel

My business cards read: Jeweler - Metalsmith (I stole it from Sue
Dorman :-)). I should probably change it to Jeweler - Goldsmith
(since ‘Metalsmith’ implies expertise with raising, etc., as well as
non-precious metals) but I haven’t gotten around to it. I like this
designation because it tells the reader that you produce jewelry and
that you make it yourself. ‘Jeweler’ alone is used to designate a
retailer just as often as one who creates jewelry; and 'Metalsmith’
alone doesn’t say enough. I think the two work well together.


Goldsmithing refers to the tools and techniques used to create, not
the material. So, even if you work in silver, platinum or base
metals but you use small hammers and the like to construct,
fabricate or cast, you are a goldsmith. If you use large hammers
and raise metal to form large items then you are a silversmith,
regardless of the material used. There is some crossover between
techniques and tools but I know few people who would confuse what a
real silversmith does with what a goldsmith does based on how they

I wish I could take credit for this but I must say that I read it in
a post from the goldsmith Abrasha several years ago.

I agree with Tony…“Goldsmith.” It never goes out of style and
congers up wonderful mental images. Work very diligently, perfect
your techniques, create awesome peices and someday you may even be
able to upgrade to “master goldsmith.” There are few higher
designations than that to aspire to in the world of art.


Hi David…as to your question on your job title, I’m in the same
boat. I’ve printed my business card to read " designer and maker of
jewelry". The photography issue is my area of expertise, and I can
tell you that it’s not a graduated background, it’s all in the
lighting. The photographer uses a solid color background, and lights
it in order to create that beautiful fade that you see. I use a grey
solid paper and fade from light to dark. Any good photographer will
be able to shoot your pieces to give you that look.

The problem is, calling yourself a goldsmith when you don't use
gold confuses people.  So is a person who designs and makes jewelry
in silver called a silversmith?  No, that's a person who raises
hollow ware. 

Good point. For years I have referred to myself as a silversmith
and it there has been some confusion at times as to if I create
silver eating and serving utensils (I create jewelry only). One of
my clients refers to me as an “artist” but I’m not comfortable with
putting that on my business card or website. Perhaps artisan jeweler
may be a better fit…

Rick, in Colorado Springs, who is having an identity crisis… :wink:

So is a person who designs and makes jewelry in silver called a
silversmith?  No, that's a person who raises hollow ware. 

Elaine, Webster’s New World Dictionary defines Silversmith as “a
craftsman who makes and repairs articles of silver”.

I do not agree that a silversmith is only…" person who raises
hollow ware". In fact, I believe a person who has learned barely the
basics of “smithing” could conceive themselves a “silversmith”. I
have students who have recently learned the two basics of
sawing/piercing and soldering. Many of them do it quite well while
others struggle. Nonetheless, each has completed several required
projects sufficiently well that they should be able to continue
working in silver (or gold for that matter if they wish…since I
content that if one can work in silver, gold is easy!) and improve
their skills. Perhaps in the old European way of an apprentice,
these folks have barely begun and to hang a shingle under that
system one was required to be well practiced in a large number of
disciplines. But, in our modern world of power machinery, ready-made
findings and materials, etc., a “silversmith” is not so easily

It is not so necessary to define oneself as simply a “silversmith”
or “goldsmith” or even “jeweler”. By the way, the latter is defined
in Webster’s as “a person who makes, deals in, or repairs jewelry,
watches, etc”. There is nothing there that defines the boundries or
specific skills of a jeweler, silversmith, or goldsmith. Any such
boundries are of society’s making for the purpose of economic
definition. Its like the old question of, are you a jeweler if you
don’t have a GIA certificate? Can you be a gemcutter if you don’t
have this or that certificate? Bet your bippie! Many of the best
jewelers and cutters in the world have no initials after their name
and never will.

IMHO, the definition only becomes important when one begins to
‘sell’ their talents on the market. If they are wise, that is the
time to declare their bonafides and define their limitations or
conversely, define the scope of their training and experience so the
client can decide if this is the person to do the intended work.

I don’t do raising or hollow ware but by Jove, I AM a silversmith,
goldsmith, teacher and a whole bunch of other things!

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut1

Smith to me implies someone who uses a hammer. I understand to to
mean someone who can utilized the plastic nature of metal to change
it’s shape without removing or adding metal. Therefore, I consider
myself an artist, metalsmith jeweler. I can and do raise metal but do
not try to sell these things. They are family gifts for weddings,
graduations and babies. However, I often use a hammer change the
shape of of a piece of metal that will be part of a jewelry piece.

Marilyn Smith

   Elaine, Webster's New World Dictionary defines Silversmith as
"a craftsman who makes and repairs articles of silver". 

I’m wondering if the term “silversmith” has a different connotation
depending on what area of the US you are from? The Northeast states
where part of the original 13 colonies where during colonial times
silversmiths (i.e. Paul Revere) were renown for their raised hollow
ware. Whereas in the southwestern states, a little later in history,
the southwest American Indians originally hammered pure silver or
silver coins into jewelry, buttons, and other adornments and were
called silversmiths. Interesting thought.

Of course I’m speaking in terms of the US and am curious if Europe
and the rest of the world define silversmith as one who creates
silver eating and serving utensils.

Rick Copeland – Silversmith
Colorado Springs, Colorado

I think the word ‘jeweller’ is easily understood and comprehensive
enough to cover the all activities connected to jewellery making.

Yath Iqbal
Ceylon Sapphires International
Sri Lanka

David, How about Precious Metals Artisan ? I’m going to use this
monniker on my next set of business cards. Ron at Mills Gem, Los
Osos, CA.

Dear colleagues, what we call ourselves has been an interesting,
thoughtful and occasionally entertaining. From my perspective as an
Aussie jeweller who first became an apprentice in 1953 it seems to
matter less and less as I get older and older. Call me whatever you
like, but don’t call me late for dinner or a beer.

I think I’d rather be defined and consequently “titled” by virtue of
what I achieve in the eyes of my colleagues, clients, the apprentices
I have trained in turn, and my students. Some may generously
acknowledge me as a master jeweller. Those for whom I made chalices
and hollow ware may regard me as a silversmith or goldsmith depending
on what metal I used. Is there room for a titaniumsmith in our
lexicon? I would qualify. I’d also qualify as an engraver and a gem
setter because that also was part of my training and my subsequent
practice. In my own opinion, I’d most certainly qualify as an amateur
in some areas and a dilettante in others. Maybe even an explorer in

Defining and naming is a mark of intelligence, so I guess this quest
for a job title is an intelligent activity. Intelligent or not,
ultimately I’m simply a jeweller.

Kind regards

I have enjoyed this particular thread, and have a couple of points to
add. From the time I began my apprenticeship, I referred to myself as
an “apprentice goldsmith”, and this stuck for several years. When I
felt comfortable calling myself a “goldsmith”. I would occasionally
get blank stares from the person I had just met, when they asked what
I did for a living. I think, in a crowded, noisy room, what I had
said sounded like “goldfish”, which might not have been that far
from the truth, given that many of the workshops around here are
sectioned off from the retail frontage by large glass windows. They
customers regularly come up to the glass, point, and can’t resist
tapping, no matter what the sign says.

At times, it has been fun to make up other titles, just to mess with
people. “Precious metals technologist” has had some mileage, as has
“Irish setter”, an inside joke referring to heritage as well as an
uncanny ability to “fetch” loose stones which have taken flight.

It has always provided me with a great deal of amusement that, upon
meeting someone new and divulging my occupation, I will immediately
be hit with this statement: “Really? That must be so interesting. I
have this ring…”

My question is, does the same phenomena happen to a gynecologist at a

I have found that, in most cases, “jeweller” is the least confounding
for people during conversation. My business card gives me no title,
and most people can figure it out on their own. “Metalsmith” is more
vague for the jewellery types, “silversmith” works pretty well and
doesn’t seem to get confused with “silverfish”, which is probably a
good thing. “Jewellery artist” would work well, I think, as does
“bench jeweller”, the latter being commonly used within the trade in
the U.S. “Designer goldsmith” or “designer silversmith” gets used
around these parts a fair amount. Whatever one decides to call one’s
self, it is most impor tant to remember that only a small percentage
of those who are on the receiving end of the will have
even a minor understanding of what it is that you actually do. That
is one of the most beautiful aspects of our work. We are enigmas.

David Keeling

All, My thoughts on this subject are that you are discussing two
separate items. One is a job description and the other is a business
name. Words like goldsmith, silversmith. caster, etc all refer to
job descriptions. A job description is a group of tasks that an
individual must be able to perform within a certain amount of time,
with a certain amount of tools and equipment, with a certain amount
of training, and a certain amount of quality expected in the finished

A business name is how you wish to be know. I have struggled with
this for many years. My business name choice was easy. I wanted a
business name that could readily identify with me and my products. I
also wanted enough latitude so that my wife could be a part of the
business. I named the business after my our name and Gems -
“Galarneau’s Gems”. Describing how I wanted “Galarneau’s Gems”
customers to think of my business evolved over time. I started out
as a “Custom Lapidary”. This worked well for many years until I wore
myself out repairing every conceivable rock job you could think of.
Then I went to “Artist Lapidary” and defined my work shop as a
studio. After a few years of this I still was not satisfied- too
snooty. I took a long hard look at what I actually manufacture.
They are all rocks. I want to be know as a person that is dedicated
to making long lasting items out of rocks for the pleasure of my
customers. Therefore my job description is “We Cut Rocks”.
Shortened to “WCR”.

Gerry Galarneau