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Design Jewelry At Ashworth University

Feb 28, 2008
A jewelry designer crafts, constructs, and forms decorative and functional pieces - though they need not be mutually exclusive - that can be worn as decoration. Often, students of jewelry design and metalsmithing are drawn to the field because of the materials involved. Precious and semi-precious metals and stones, and a host of ceramic compounds, enjoy a unique tactility that draws students to this career. Roughly 40% of all jewelers are freelancers and future prospects for highly skilled jewelers are promising. Though there is a steady demand for jewelry repair specialist, many design and fashion houses are keen on hiring skilled jewelry designers. Jewelry accessories are key components for several fashion houses and seasonal fashions. In history, jewelers originated as metalsmiths, working primarily with precious metals that included gold, silver, and copper. While most ancient cultures, including Egypt, Harappa, and Minoa, obviously worked these metals into ornate jewelry, it was the Etruscan and Macedonian goldsmiths that heavily influenced ancient Greek and Roman jewelry designs. Intricate ring and earring designs are indicative of this influence. The art of milling and rolling 24 carat gold jewelry reached its height in Thessaloniki, in Ancient Macedonia. These pieces would later influence such well-regarded 18th century archeological jewelers as the Castellani family.

Dedicated students of jewelry design and metalsmithing must undergo a demanding education in metallurgy, crafting, repairing, finishing, polishing, joining, cutting, casting, soldering, modeling, engraving, enameling, embossing, and plating precious and semi-precious metals. Indeed, such methods as plating, anti-oxidization, pickling, and tinting should be understood, as well as the ability to decide the carat value of precious metals, explicity that of gold. The scope of any worthy core curriculum should include the design of a wide selection of pieces, including rings, necklaces, earrings, pendants, and bracelets. More specifically, jewelers may be inclined to create or repair such pieces as cufflinks, cameos, pins, and even watches. Though watchmaking tends to be a discipline unto itself, many watchmakers begin as jewelers and metalsmiths.

An essential component to successful jewelry design is the ability to skillfully solder. A capable jeweler should master the art of soldering, familiarizing himself, or herself, with the various types of fluxes, solders, and heating elements available today. Moreover, familiarity with the host of tools and equipment available to the modern jeweler and metalsmith is equally essential. Anvils, spring dividers, drawplates, hammers, shears, gold-testing needles, polishing motors and more are among the tools necessary to properly craft jewelry.

It is essential that a major in jewelry navigates through progressive levels of design and technical understanding. Students should be motivated to not only pursue their studies, but also aggressively pursue any and all of their career options.
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