To become a goldsmith, a person must possess several characteristics, including good eyesight and manual dexterity. Educationally, there is some formal classroom training required, though most goldsmiths find that a period of on-the job instruction is typically most beneficial. After you become a goldsmith, you should be able to find employment as a jeweler, appraiser, or designer.
Certain physical skills are required to become a goldsmith, including manual dexterity and keen eyesight. Excellent manual dexterity will enable you to handle with small, delicate work pieces, while good eyesight is essential to accurately see the minute details in a piece of jewelry. Maintaining your focus on a piece for extended periods of time is a common occurrence for a goldsmith, so excellent focus and determination will also aid you in this field. In addition, keeping abreast of changing trends in fashion will provide a designer goldsmith with an up-to-date style aesthetic necessary to stay popular in the industry.
A sufficient amount of formal classroom training is also needed to become a goldsmith, which may be acquired from a community college, trade school, or university. Coursework may be completed through traditional, in-person classes or specialized, distance-learning programs. A degree in gemology or goldsmithing from a four-year college, however, may give you the best opportunity for employment.
In addition to formal education, hands-on work experience should be gained through on-the-job training such as an internship. Many students begin an internship program during college and continue until they have sufficient employment skills. Others attend school full-time and participate in an internship after graduation. A goldsmith internship program can last for one to five years depending on the particular skills being taught.
During an internship, you will learn how to appraise gold, gemstones, and antique jewelry. You will also be taught how to grade gold for its carat value and purity, and learn techniques for polishing and restoring gold jewelry. In-depth training will include instruction on how to form gold into different shapes using various methods as well as techniques for creating new jewelry pieces as your skills improve.
After you become a goldsmith, seek employment according to your particular skills or area of specialty. A jewelry store may be the best place to find initial employment, though, as your experience level increases, you may want to specialize in antiques, gemstones, or restoration. You may also find steady employment as an independent gold and gemstone appraiser. If you have a flair for fashion, consider working as a designer for a jewelry manufacturer.