A day in the life of a jeweller is varied and imaginative. Jewellers have a wide variety of technical and creative day-to-day roles when running a jewellery brand including:
- Designing and making
- Down time
A jewellers month includes a mix of all these tasks, and we try to spend time on one or two of them each day.
As a creative jewellery business owner, our founder, Esme’s days are filled with a variety of tasks that all contribute to the success of Duxford Studios. She works by planning her overall business strategy for the year, working in quarters to break down long term goals. From this, Esme creates monthly and weekly plans which she reviews each morning to set out a plan for the day ahead, working strictly with achievable SMART goals; this is an acronym which stands for ‘Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound’ and ensures that each goal is specific. This helps Esme stay focused and on track throughout each day and the year as a whole, and ensures that she makes progress towards her long-term business goals.
2. Designing and making
One of the most important and enjoyable aspects of Esme’s job as a jewellery business owner is making pieces of jewellery. This can include creating a new collection like our Interius Handmade Statement Jewellery Collection, learning new skills, and working on bespoke commissions for clients. Esme loves the creative process of designing and making ethical handmade jewellery (it’s why she started Duxford Studios!!), and she’s always looking for new inspiration and techniques to incorporate into her work.
One of the joys of being a jeweller is that Esme gets to work with a variety of materials, from precious metals like gold and silver and ethically sourced gemstones. She spends time researching new materials, experimenting with different textures and colours, and testing out different techniques to create unique and beautiful pieces of jewellery.
Many of Esme’s days involve designing pieces of jewellery and this process takes many forms. From sketching out a bespoke design idea for a client like a custom ethically sourced engagement ring or a one-of-a-kind ethical necklace, to visualising and planning a new collection through online and book research and artistic concept brainstorming. When working with clients on bespoke jewellery commissions, Esme enjoys taking great care in understanding her client's preferences, tastes and how they want to feel when wearing the finished piece and she makes sure to keep them updated on the progress of their commission and get their feedback.
This is where it really gets interesting. This aspect is probably most jewellers favourite part of running a jewellery business, and it's definitely Esme's favourite bit! She works in a variety of different ways but her most popular process is lost wax casting.
Lost Wax Casting is the process in which a metal object is cast from a mould made from an original wax model. Esme starts by carving a design from a solid piece of wax. A mould is then made from a plaster-like material which is poured around the wax model and left until set. This is then placed in a furnace to melt the wax away and molten metal is poured into the mould, filling the space left by the melted wax. For more info, read our blog post What Is Wax Casting?. It's a very versatile process which can result in beautiful and detailed items, like the Sterling Silver Hand Necklace.
Alongside this, there are other fun and interesting making processes that many jewellers use like sawing, soldering, filing, polishing and stone setting. We use and enjoy all of these processes when making our ethical handmade jewellery.
Here at Duxford Studios, we love spending time learning new skills. From new soldering techniques to new and inventive ways of setting stones. We're always eager to learn and improve our skills to stay ahead of the curve and bring exiting new products to our customers. We make sure to set aside time each month to learn new skills which we incorporate into upcoming Contemporary Handmade Jewellery Collections and our Handmade Bespoke Jewellery Services.
Another important aspect of running a jewellery brand is marketing. We use platforms like Instagram and Pinterest and love getting the word out about our jewellery and connecting with new clients. We spend valuable time creating and scheduling posts, interacting with our followers, and exploring new ways to reach potential customers.
Social media is a great tool for educating people on all things jewellery. We share beautiful photos and information on our designs and materials, our brand story and the inspiration behind our work. We also love showing behind the scenes processes that happen in our studio and on our workbenches to give people a glimpse of how things are made.
Baby's fingerprint cufflinks, 9ct white gold.
Admin is a big part of every successful business, and it's no different here at Duxford Studios. Whether we're replying to emails, approaching markets and stockists or keeping track of income and expenses, we always make sure we're on top of our admin tasks.
We plan and budget for future expenses such as materials and equipment, keep track of inventory, regularly reviewing and update stock levels and make sure that there are enough materials on hand to fulfill orders and complete commissions. We often review our website to ensure it's up-to-date with current collections, prices and stock availability and we review our pricing to make sure it reflects changes in the market - this is especially important as precious metal prices can fluctuate and gradually increase in cost over time. It may not be the most exciting part of the job, but it's essential to keep Duxford Studios running smoothly.
6. Down time
Throughout each day, we also make sure to take breaks and step away from our bench to recharge and refocus. Much of the work we do is detailed so it’s good to take short breaks as it allows us to come back to a project with fresh eyes and a clear head. Esme enjoys going on a lunch-time dog walk and also recommends doing yoga and short sessions of mindfulness too.
Overall, a jeweller’s career consists of a mix of all these tasks, mostly focusing on one or two of them per day. We find that this keeps our days well-rounded and varied and ensures that all aspects of Duxford Studios are getting the attention they need. The most important thing is to approach each day with a positive mindset, knowing that it’s a new opportunity to improve and grow our business.
How to become a jeweller
Does this sound like your dream job, but you're not sure how to get started? Keep reading for our top tips on how to become a jeweller.
Being a jewellery business owner is a rewarding and fulfilling career, but it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and patience to get there. To become a successful jewellery business owner, you need to:
- Start to learn jewellery skills and find your signature style
- Start social media accounts and work on building a following
- Make and sell pieces of jewellery for family and friends
- Do a business course to understand the basics of running a jewellery business
- Read and research in your spare time
- Register as a sole trader
- Build a website or sell through a 3rd party platform
1. Start to learn jewellery skills and find your signature style
The first step to becoming a jeweller is to learn. Gaining the skills and techniques required to make beautiful and high-quality jewellery can be done through face-to-face classes, online workshops or a blend of both. It's important to learn the basics of jewellery making, including soldering, sawing, filing, and polishing but don’t wait until you’re a master silversmith to start and grow your business. Get the business up and running when you’re confident with the basics, and take your customers on your journey with you!
Once you’ve started making jewellery designs, you'll want to develop your own unique style. This is something that can take some time, so don’t rush the process – enjoy it! The goal is to make your jewellery stand out, this will help you to build a loyal customer base who love your brand and products. Experiment and have fun with different materials and techniques and after some time you’ll find a style that feels authentic to you.
2. Start social media accounts and work on building a following
Social media is a free and powerful tool for building a following and reaching potential customers. Figure out which platform suits you best and create a business account to showcase your work and connect with other jewellers and customers. As we mentioned above, you can do this early on in your jewellery making journey – people love discovering new and unknown brands and following their journey of growth! Use hashtags and keywords to make it easy for people to find your work.
3. Make and sell pieces of jewellery for family and friends
Once you’re confident with your skill level and you’ve designed some beautiful pieces of jewellery, you can start making and selling pieces for family and friends. This is a great way to bring revenue into your budding business, help grow your confidence and gain experience and build a portfolio of work to promote.
And before you ask… Yes, you should be charging family and friends!
4. Do a business course to understand the basics of running a jewellery business
Running a jewellery business is not just about making beautiful jewellery, you need to understand the fundamentals of running a business. Take courses and read books on business management, finance and marketing to learn how to create and grow your business sustainably and sensibly. It's important to note that you should approach this action as an ongoing project - you can never know too much about building and growing a successful and sustainable business!
5. Read and research in your spare time
To stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques in the jewellery industry and in the business world, it's important to read and research. Follow industry blogs and publications, attend trade shows and events, and connect with other jewellers online. This way you'll always be one step ahead of your competition.
Here's a reading list to get you started:
- Start & Grow a Profitable Jewellery Business, Jessica Rose
- The Essential Guide to Business for Artists & Designers, Alison Branagan
- They Ask You Answer, Marcus Sheridan
- Four Thousand Weeks, Oliver Burkeman
- Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
6. Register as a sole trader
Once you have built a catalogue of work and a following on social media, it's then time to register as a sole trader. There's lots of information about this process on the Government website. Becoming a registered sole trader will allow you to legally sell your jewellery and will also help you to establish yourself as a professional.
7. Build a website or sell through a 3rd party platform
To reach a wider audience and sell your jewellery online, you'll then need to design and build a website or sell through a third-party platform like Etsy. You can pay someone to do this if you're not tech savvy, but web design can be expensive so do your research before committing to a project like this. Having a beautiful website will allow you to reach customers from all over the world and help you to establish your brand, so don't skip this step.
As you'll now know, becoming a jeweller takes a lot of hard work and dedication. With the right business and creative skills, and a keen eye for style and design, you can turn your passion for jewellery making into a successful career. From starting to learn jewellery making skills and developing your signature style to building your website, enjoy the process and approach each element in an organised and systematic way. Before you know it, you'll be on your way to success.
Duxford Studios creates ethical handmade jewellery inspired by the human form, modern culture, and the sensation of touch. All of our pieces are cast from hand carved wax in recycled sustainable sterling silver, gold vermeil, and other precious metals. Shop our full collection on our website or get in contact about a custom jewellery design commission. Need help choosing a piece? Read our full guide on what to look for when buying jewellery on our blog page.