Career Profile: Gem Setter/Goldsmith
Every morning, people put on rings, bracelets, and more. Before they can do that, however, someone has to design and make the items. Gem setters and goldsmiths work with a variety of materials to make the jewellery that people wear each day. If you are creative and like to work with your hands, you should consider this career option. Working in this field can be a rewarding and interesting choice.
Normally, goldsmiths and gem setters work at jewellery stores or repair shops, although it is possible to do some of the work from home with the right equipment. Many people learn the techniques on the job from other workers in the trade. Apprenticeships can be a good way of learning what to do in this field.
For people who prefer to learn in a classroom, courses in this field are available at many career colleges and even some universities. Courses covering basic techniques are available in many schools, but students might need to go to a university to study advanced techniques like hydraulic die forming and granulation. Students can also learn the differences between the hardness of diamonds, for example, and the relative softness of emeralds or other gems. In some jobs, official qualifications might be necessary.
Depending on their level of experience and skills, goldsmiths and gem setters can earn between about $15 and $29 per hour. Generally, people who work with diamonds earn more than others. Having good vision, with or without glasses, and steady hands is essential for this job. Often, people in this field work with tiny jewels and need good vision for such detailed work. As people age, their vision becomes worse and their hands might begin to shake. When the work becomes too difficult, people might need to retire or change jobs.
Sometimes when customers buy jewellery, they might want it as a gift for a friend or relative. For that, they might want an engraving of the person’s name on it. When goldsmiths know how to do special tasks like engraving, they will have more possibilities for work. Although it is good to have a wide range of knowledge for different customer requests, it is often good to have a specialty, as well. For example, a gem setter could specialize in a certain design or a goldsmith could work mainly with wedding rings.
Often, people in this field work fairly regular hours, but they might need to work on weekends or holidays in some cases. The work is not very physically strenuous. Still, working with tiny gemstones and small earrings or necklaces can be tiring on the eyes and the back.
Like many other fields, goldsmith and gem setting work depends on the economy. When other people have good jobs and can afford to pay for jewellery, they will buy much more than when the economy is struggling.
Some work will always be available, especially in large cities, but people in this trade should have other options in mind, just in case the work declines. For people who enjoy working with their hands and taking care of tiny details, becoming a goldsmith or gem setter is a good choice.
Goldsmith Centre. “Setter.” https://goldsmiths-centre.org/industry-profiles/profiles-setter.
The Goldsmiths. “Careers.” https://www.thegoldsmiths.ca/careers.
Ontario Colleges. “Goldsmithing/Silversmithing.” https://www.ontariocolleges.ca/en/programs/arts-and-culture/goldsmithing-silversmithing.
Payscale Canada. “Average Goldsmith Hourly Rate Canada.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Goldsmith/Hourly_Rate.