Pros and Cons of Being a Jewelry Mold Maker
Jewelry mold makers regularly work with precious metals and stones, managing machines and equipment that produce various jewelry items like necklaces and earrings. Check out these pros and cons to see if becoming a jewelry mold maker is the right career for you.
|Pros of Being a Jewelry Mold Maker|
|Flexible schedule and chance to work independently*|
|Not a lot of schooling needed (a high school diploma is often the minimum education requirement)*|
|Ability to work with your hands and showcase your creativity*|
|Opportunity to produce items that are popular with people*|
|Cons of Being a Jewelry Mold Maker|
|Tasks can become repetitive and tedious*|
|Job outlook was expected to decrease (11 percent drop between 2014 and 2024)*|
|Pressure to be accurate and precise while on the job*|
|Use of heavy machinery and equipment can be dangerous*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Jewelry mold makers are responsible for creating pieces of jewelry that can include rings, necklaces and bracelets. They use heavy machinery and hand-operated tools to cut and file materials and then examine the products to make sure they have been completed properly. Jewelry mold makers who use equipment must know how to operate the machines and how to fix and repair parts on a regular basis. You may also need to work directly with precious metals and stones by inspecting them and fitting them into molds to form part of the finished pieces. Common tools used on the job include calipers, blow-molding machines, casting machines and utility knives.
There are new technologies that can help jewelry mold makers eliminate some of the hands-on work, which can be tedious and time consuming. Computer-based equipment allows jewelry mold makers to save time when working by creating more materials. This may also give you a way to develop a specialization in a type of machine, which can enhance your skill sets.
Career Growth and Salary Stats
Little job growth was expected for jewelry mold makers in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of precious stone and metal workers was predicted to decline by 11 percent between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Jewelry production often takes places outside of the United States, which has created less of a demand for employees within the country. There should be some demand for jewelry-based careers at repair services and department stores. Outside of that, the BLS projected strong competition for entry-level work and production-related jobs.
The BLS reported that the median annual wage for jewelers and precious stone and metal workers was about $36,870 as of May 2014. Jewelry mold makers generally work in plants or production companies, but other workers who hold jewelry-related jobs can work independently or within a small business.
Education and Skills Requirements
You don't typically need to go through extensive schooling to become a jewelry mold maker. Most employers require a high school degree as the minimum education requirement, but some employees hold college experience. Like many production jobs, much of your training takes place on the job. You can also take part in an apprenticeship program, where you can learn directly from a trained expert on how to perform your job duties. There are trade schools that offer formalized training for jewelry mold makers and workers who handle precious stones and metals.
However you gain your training, part of the job requires you to pay close attention to detail, so that you can follow quality standards. Many people who work with jewelry or precious metals and stones need to have a steady hand and perform physical tasks while standing or at a work bench. There may also be a good amount of lifting, especially when creating the molds and checking your products for inspection.
Job Postings from Real Employers
Jobs for jewelry makers range from entry-level and production-line work to management positions. You usually must work at a manufacturing plant, but there are positions that allow you to work in an office. Check out these job descriptions from real employers posted on CareerBuilder.com in April 2012.
- A jewelry manufacturing plant in Ohio is hiring a full-time jewelry bench prep and assembly employee to work with precious metals to size and inspect jewelry pieces. Candidates must be detail oriented and hold previous work experience in the field.
- A jewelry manufacturing company in New York is looking for an operations manager who can manage and lead jewelry production efforts. Applicants need a 4-year degree, along with 5-10 years of work experience to be considered for the position.
- A manufacturing company in Ohio is looking for an employee who can inject wax and mold materials for jewelry. The employer requests that the candidate have prior experience in jewelry work and submit to a background check.
How to Get an Edge in the Field
While there are trade school programs for jewelers, the most common way to get ahead in your career is through experience. Jewelry mold makers undergo on-the-job training to understand how to operate heavy machinery and create jewelry. With enough work experience, you may be able to advance to management and supervisor positions.
Some employers, however, require you to earn an undergraduate degree to be considered for a higher position. If you wish to advance beyond jewelry making and also have a hand in the design of jewelry pieces, you can pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in jewelry design. You can learn more about consumer markets, popular jewelry trends and gem quality. You might even earn a Master of Fine Arts in Metalwork and Jewelry Design, which offers advanced study and studio practice perfecting the art of jewelry making. Some programs offer tuition wavers, which can make a graduate art degree more affordable.
Alternative Career Paths
Craft or Fine Artist
If becoming a jewelry mold maker doesn't feel like the right fit, you may become a craft and fine artist. With this job, you have the freedom to create pottery, glassware and other original works. Craft and fine artists typically hold at least a high school diploma. Employment of craft and fine artists was predicted to grow by only five percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS. As of May 2010, craft and fine artists earned a median wage of about $43,000 per year.
If you like working with jewelry, another option is to go into retail sales, where you can work as a salesperson for a business. You can help customers find what they need and if you specialize in jewelry, you may find work at a department store selling high-end items. The job outlook for retail salespeople was about average, with a 17% increase in employment expected between 2010 and 2020, the BLS reported. Retail salespeople made a median annual wage of about $21,000 as of May 2011.
Welder or Cutter
If you still want to work with your hands, you can consider becoming a welder or cutter. This job involves using heavy equipment to join together metal pieces to make materials. These types of jobs require a minimum of a high school diploma, but you must usually undergo specialized training to understand the craft and practice using the needed tools and equipment. Welder and cutter jobs were expected to increase 15% between 2010 and 2020, which was average, according to the BLS. Welders, cutters, solderers and brazers took in a median yearly wage of almost $36,000 as of May 2011.