Think about it. Is there anyone you know--male or female--who doesn't own a single piece of jewelry? Most people have at least one or two favorite pieces, from the simple to the elaborate, and often start wearing it at a very young age. Jewelry has been worn for close to 100,000 years to make a statement about who we are and whom we love.
Today's worldwide jewelry industry is conservatively estimated to be a $165-plus billion business annually. The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that "the increasing numbers of affluent individuals, working women, double-income households and fashion-conscious men are expected to keep jewelry sales strong. The population aged 45 and older, which accounts for a major portion of jewelry sales, also is on the rise."
These are compelling indicators that jewelry--and careers in jewelry--won't be going away anytime soon. That's why getting professional training can be a great option for high school graduates not pursuing a four-year degree, or for workers looking for a career change.
Trained jewelry professionals can pursue a multitude of careers, including a retail store owner or associate, diamond and colored stone buyer, lab and research professional, auction house specialist, diamond manufacturer, colored stone dealer, bench jeweler, jewelry designer and jewelry buyer. According to the Department of Labor's report, there is a growing need for highly skilled bench jewelers particularly.
"Demand for repair workers should remain strong even during economic slowdowns because maintaining and repairing jewelry is an ongoing process," the report states. "In fact, demand for jewelry repair may increase during recessions, as people repair or restore existing pieces rather than purchase new ones."
More reasons a career in the jewelry industry is a smart choice:
Jewelry is often acquired by someone, for someone, for a special reason. People will always celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and engagements, regardless of the economy or retail environment. A piece of jewelry is often the go-to gift to mark these occasions.
Jewelry is made by people. Jewelry, like art and music, begins as someone's creative idea and will likely always require the talent and hands-on skills of designers and craftsmen to bring it to life.
Jewelry is accessible. Nearly everyone can own a piece of personal jewelry at an affordable price. Just about everyone is a potential jewelry customer and many are repeat customers.
Jobs in the jewelry industry are accessible, too. If you're interested in knowing more about the industry, talk to a jeweler you respect and find out how he or she got into the field. Most will have a Graduate Gemologist (GG) or an Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP) diploma from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), the nonprofit research and accredited education organization long regarded as the world's foremost authority in gems and jewelry.