Seeking entry level position

Hello all-

I recently graduated from a BFA program, and am having difficulties
trying to find work within the jewelry field. I have heard not so
great things about large chains and their repair shops–not
surprising. And many of the locally owned shops seem to have their
benches filled up. I’m looking for an entry level type of position
where I can tune up my technical skills for a few years. I was
hoping some of you might have a bit of insight on breaking into the

Thanks so much!


Hi Kathlyn,

You did not indicate you lived in Minneapolis in your Orchid post,
but I clicked onto your website link and discovered you are local!
Congratulations on pursuing your career in jewelry arts and design.

Have you spoken to any jewelers/designers here in Minneapolis? I
know seeking employment is not easy, especially entry-level, but
perhaps I can help as I know a lot of independent jewelers and

I have been looking for someone to help me out in my studio, but I
have made arrangements with a friend who is a gem stone cutter to
come in later in June to start training. She is pregnant, so her
help will only be short-term, so there could be some potential for a
part-time position later in Summer/Fall when she will need time off.

Also, I have a friend who owns a jewelry store in New Prague and he
may be looking for someone because I know one his people quit

There will be other opportunities too, it’s just knowing where to
look and who has something to offer. Unfortunately, it’s very rare
to find something with full-time hours and a full apprenticeship
right away, at least in Minneapolis I have found that to be true.

If you are flexible and eager to learn, you will find success. Every
door opens to another.

In my studio, my business partner and I design and create all of our
inventory so we would be looking for someone to essentially assist
me in the finishing processes, ie. casting, finishing, polishing,
soldering and assembling, and maybe some light stone setting.

Currently, I do it all. I am a certified bench jeweler by the
Jewelers of America and my partner is a Graduate Gemologist. We
operate a state-of-the-art shop equipped with CAD/CAM technology and
a CNC lathe, a laser welder, an induction casting machine, mass
finishers, etc.

If I can help you, I will do my best. If you want to contact me or
have questions, feel free to e-mail me or call me at my studio.

All the best!
SaraSara D. Commers

I have heard not so great things about large chains and their
repair shops 

True, but if you are simply looking for a place to hone your skills
for awhile why not do it there? You don’t have to commit to a
lifetime, but a year or two of doing repairs is going to raise your
skill level dramatically.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Dear Kathlyn,

I read your post and wanted to respond in a short note, but there is
just too much to say. I hope that this lengthy response gives you and
others a better understanding of how to make the leap from an
academic Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) to a job as a jeweler.

The jewelry industry expects entry level workers to have a set of
useable bench skills. If you want to work in a jewelry store, a
manufacturing shop or a trade shop you have to be worth the money
they pay you. Unfortunately, those skills are difficult to develop in
academic jewelry programs such as the one you attended for your BFA.
While college programs certainly have their merits, they generally do
not teach the specific fabrication, setting and repair skills that
are needed in jewelry jobs. And like you, most graduates with BFA
and MFA degrees sadly discover that their time and money have not
given them the skills applicable to jewelry work in the commercial
industry. But that is not the goal of such programs. Of course, there
is no real reason why college jewelry programs could not prepare
students better for the working world, but that is a long and very
political story…

So if you want to enter this field as a bench jeweler, my suggestion
is to attend a professional trade school program, one that will give
you the skills you need in a short time. Here at the Revere Academy
of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco, we teach the specific skills that
jewelers and repair technicians use, and much more. These skills,
as ring sizing, chain repair and prong setting, are covered in our
classes. We teach a lot more than that in areas of design, gemology,
granulation, etc. You can learn bench skills two ways here. You can
either enroll in my 8 week Jewelry Technician Intensive (the next
one is Oct-Dec) or take the same material as individual 3-day classes
during our open session. (We are also offering some of these 3-day
classes as part of our Revere Academy East in North Carolina at the
end of October.) All of this is on our website:

After graduation, some of our students, the ones most serious about a
career in this field, take the first level of the Jewelers of
America’s Certification exams. It is a challenging 14-hour bench
skills test, all in gold. Passing the test and becoming certified as
a JA Bench Jeweler Technician, is a significant and also very
realizable achievement. At that point, doors that appeared to be
closed, open up. It is a great way to start off a career in jewelry.

Kathlyn, I just checked out your website and looked at your work.
You did a great job! Your jewelry shows lots of commitment and
promise. I am impressed by both your designs and the professional
appearance. Now you need to decide if you really want to be a
jeweler. If so, take the steps to make that concept a reality, just
like taking an idea and making it into a piece of jewelry.

Craft your life.


Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street Suite 900
San Francisco California

So if you want to enter this field as a bench jeweler, my
suggestion is to attend a professional trade school program, one
that will give you the skills you need in a short time. Here at the
Revere Academy 

Kathlyn, I just wanted to pop in and say don’t disregard Alan’s
excellent advice just because he is also recommending you attend his
school, lots of other folks on this list, including me, would second
his advice.


dear Kathlyn

i feel for you sister…after attending an art school
education for a number of years I ended up working in a very high end
trade shop. I was laughed at for going to school and having very few
applicable skills for the trade. I ended up going to the Revere
academy in sanfransisco for some classes after that… i also soaked
up all of the educational workshops at the MJSA show in new york,
they have fantastic speakers including Blain Lewis from the new
approach school and Jurgen Martz from the Platinum guild. after years
of exploring the craft I do feel like I have some applicable skills
for the jewelry trade. i will probably never master all tecniques but
I have a pretty firm grasp on forging and stone setting.

my advice to you is to find the coolest jeweler in your home town.
explain to them that you like jewelry enough to get a degree in the
subject, but you have alot to learn, are trust worthy and ready to
get paid to learn.strangely enough they may see alittle of themself
in you. lucky for me I had guys like Doug Zaruba and Doug Legenhausen
who took the time to kick me in the tail.

wayne werner