There are a number of ways to get a jewelry apprenticeship, where a skilled professional provides training to a student. This is a very traditional approach to learning jewelry making, although it is also possible to acquire skills through formal classroom education. Colleges of arts and crafts or design may offer training programs to prospective jewelers who do not want to pursue an apprenticeship route. For those interested in apprenticing, the process can take several years and involves a significant commitment.
The first step is to consider the kinds of projects someone is most interested in. This can include the production of art jewelry and collector’s pieces, customized pieces, and products for mass production. Repair and restoration activities can also be taught in apprenticeships. It may help to read through trade publications and look at profiles of jewelers who produce interesting work to learn more about the different kinds of jewelery and the associated industry terminology.
One way to get a jewelry apprenticeship is to personally contact a jeweler and ask for training. Some may be willing to consider apprentices, especially if they have some experience; for example, a student could start by taking a class to develop skills and demonstrate interest. After taking the class, the student could talk to the teacher about a more involved jewelry apprenticeship. In some cases, jewelers may actively advertise for apprentices, or could belong to cooperatives and collectives that encourage members to teach, in which case they may be very amenable to discussion.
Another option is to apply for a formal jewelry apprenticeship offered through a school of art, design, or crafts. Some jewelers work in environments where they also provide training, like companies that design and produce designs for mass production, and take on one or more apprentices. This kind of work can also be available through production studios, where a jewelry apprenticeship can include opportunities to produce pieces for sale. These facilities may advertise job openings and can provide information about applying as an apprentice to develop skills while working.
Professional and trade organizations may sponsor jewelry apprenticeships in some regions. Applicants can seek information from the organization and may need to apply through them to access their facilitated programs. The organization locates jewelers providing appropriate training and connects them with apprentices. This may include signing a contract to commit to working for a set period of time, as jewelers typically do not want to invest energy in training an apprentice who drops out before completing the program.