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Jewellery designers are either self-employed, freelance or work in-house for jewellery companies. Some self-employed designers will design and make all their jewellery themselves, while others will just design and leave the production and assembly to jewellery makers. Some will design one-off or limited pieces and some will design pieces for the mass market.
Designers might meet with customers looking for a one-off piece and design something in tune with their specific requirements and measurements. They either draw sketches or use computer-assisted design (CAD) software to show clients their ideas and the options available. Once a design has been agreed by the client, it will either be sent to a specialist jewellery maker or made in-house.
Designers who make their own jewellery will source the best materials; precious and semi-precious metals and stones. They will also be responsible for moulding, mounting, shaping, setting, engraving and finishing pieces before displaying them to be sold. Most designers will specialise in one or a few of these disciplines, but rarely all.
Self-employed jewellery designers usually sell their pieces through shops or at galleries and need a certain amount of commercial awareness and business acumen in order to be successful.
As well as creating their own designs, jewellery designers working in shops and boutiques might be asked to either repair or alter pieces of jewellery brought in by customers.