Making jewellery in the traditional way using practical bench skills should ideally be learned by hands-on practical tuition.
Although online videos can be helpful for trade tips, you won’t get a feel for how tools should be held or applied, which is absolutely essential for beginners. And you may not be fully aware of workshop safety practises.
I recommend undertaking a local Jewellery Making class to start with. This will help you understand the making process and give you an idea if you have a natural aptitude for working in metals. Projects set by the tutor will be designed to build confidence over time through the use of a variety of tools and techniques.
The most important factor is to learn jewellery skills from someone who has jewellery trade experience. Learning from a self-taught jeweller is not ideal, your tutor should be an accomplished highly experienced trade Jeweller who has worked in a variety of precious metals.
One-to-one tuition will help you learn quicker, you will still make mistakes which is an important part of the learning process however the undivided attention of a tutor will allow you to work at your own pace and on your own more designs/projects.
7 Essential Tips for Jewellery Beginners
1. Don’t expect to make wonderful pieces of jewellery straight away, any specialist craft requires a lot of practise before the maker becomes competent. Ongoing practical making is important for developing your designs too.
2. You will make many mistakes, this is normal and helpful for becoming a jeweller. Jewellers are problem solvers and you need to learn how to fix your mistakes or find another solution. This will stand you in good stead in the future.
3. In the beginning try to keep your designs simple and create them well. Grand ideas should be saved until you have mastered basic techniques otherwise you may find yourself going from one disaster to another which could affect your confidence.
4. Finishing is an important part of Jewellery Making, take the time to find perfection in your finish. A wonderful design can be ruined by a poorly finished piece that looks unprofessional and could affect your credibility as an accomplished Jewellery Maker.
5. Through design development and practical making you will eventually realise the collective common style of some of your designs form a loose style aesthetic. Identifying this is an important breakthrough because this will help your designs become recognisable as your work, your design aesthetic, your creative voice.
6. Try and learn new Jewellery Making techniques regularly , this will open up the possibilities for new designs, help you gain confidence and you will learn invaluable time saving tips of the trade.
7. Establish your "Jewellery Maker" presence on Social Media as soon as you can in order to build followers who like your work and may be willing to buy in future. For your Jewellery, It is essential to create Facebook or Instagram accounts separate from your personal accounts. Keep the posts Jewellery related only.
BLOG - About the author
Dawn Meaden-Johnson is the Director and Founder of The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company. She has 25 years’ experience working in the Jewellery Industry including at Signet Retail Jewellers and almost 10 Years at Birmingham City University School of Jewellery during which time she has worked extensively with national and international clients whilst managing their Short Course Programme Project.
A graduate Silversmith of Birmingham School of Jewellery, Dawn still occasionally creates limited edition contemporary jewellery under the brand Dawnstorm, specialising in the use of anodised aluminium in jewellery.
Email Dawn at email@example.com