Designing gems of art

Payal Chanania
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Jewellery designing is an art – a unique and intriguing art. But this art was closely guarded earlier, confined to select few artisans or ‘kaarigars' and handed down generation to generation.

Now with the recent boom and opening up of the branded market, jewel design is flourishing like never before. And it's no longer restricted to designing traditional gold and diamond pieces either. This ever-growing industry offers immense opportunities for exclusive, contemporary, stylised and designer jewellery in keeping with latest fashion trends. Not to forget striking prospects in semi-precious and costume jewellery as well.

All in a Day's Work

Jewellery design is one of the most creative professions where you get to craft innovative jewels right from conceptualising the style and design, drawing sketches, fashioning detailed drawings to preparing structural models, computer simulations or sometimes even a full-scale prototype.

This requires you to understand the market, identify the consumer needs, visualise ideas to suit the demand and create impressive presentations to communicate your idea clearly.

But the job doesn't end with designing. Jewellery artists also have to be involved hands-on in the actual manufacturing process where craftsmen use specialised hand tools and equipments to turn the designs into exquisite, flawless pieces!

Getting Started

Formal training is essential for refining this creative skill. Both Bachelor and Masters Degree of Fine Arts include jewellery designing. Or you can opt for a diploma or certificate course offered by numerous specialist institutes in India. There are long-term, short-term and even online/distance learning programs varying from a few weeks to one to two years. Course costs ranges from Rs.10, 000 to a lakh plus depending on the type of program.

These courses impart knowledge about drawing skills, design themes, colour science, diverse kinds of stones, environmental exposure, form and space, presentation, jewellery costing and fashion trends. Some even include computer-aided programs for designing jewellery and accessories. CAD eliminates tiring efforts of umpteen redesigning on paper and imparts flexibility of exploring numerous alternatives.

These courses not only hone your designing skills, but also help you learn the basics of jewellery making techniques right from metal textures, stone settings, casting, cutting, polishing to even engraving, enamelling and electroplating. It also includes identification of gems/diamonds and testing quality of precious metals/stones. In fact, this rudimentary knowledge is crucial for becoming a good designer.

Apart from designing, you can also choose to specialise in other streams like jewellery manufacturing, gemmology, diamond grading, etc.

What it takes?

Generally, a school level or 10+2 background is essential. An art background or an internship with a design studio/jewellery designer can give you a head start in the competitive industry.

What it takes is a penchant for jewels and a flair for design. A creative and imaginative mind with an eye for detail and colours is essential. You have to be meticulous as nothing but perfection is acceptable. Being able to work with patience and concentration is also important.

It goes without saying that you have to be well-versed with the fashion scene and stay updated with the changing trends.

Career Prospects

Besides designing there is plethora of career options in jewellery design houses, fashion houses, export houses, antique/art auction houses etc. Big names like Tanishq, Swarvoski, DeBeers and D'damas regularly scout for remarkable talent.

You can choose to work as an in-house artist, freelance or be a self-employed entrepreneur. Or specialise in any particular aspect of jewellery making like goldsmith, bench jeweller, lapidary, quality assurance consultant, diamond and gemstone grader, etc. But as vacancies in this field are not advertised much, you have to build and maintain a good network in the industry.

Generally, jewellery designers start small by designing for the mass market and then move to custom designs as they gain prominence. And once you build your own inimitable style, you can even launch your own line or open your store!

Starting pay packets range from Rupees10-12,000 depending on the type of work. Pay packages/incentives keep rising with top designers raking in lakhs a month.

With talent, skill, initiative and experience on your side, there is literally no limit to what you can achieve! So, unleash your imagination and love for all that glitters by converting your passion into a fascinating, rewarding and fulfilling profession!

Payal Where to study?

JD Institute of Fashion, Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi

NIFT, Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi

Sin Gem Jewellery Education, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, etc.

Vogue Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore

Indian Institute of Design, Bangalore

School of Design, Chennai

Small Industries Service Institute, Chennai

Dr. Dharmambal Govt. Polytechnic for Women, Chennai

Deccan Institute of Gem and Jewellery, Hyderabad

JK Diamonds Institute of Gems and Jewellery, Mumbai (regularly organises courses in Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore in association with jewellers, councils, etc.)

Jewellery Design and Technology Institute (JDTI), Noida

Indian Institute of Jewellery, Mumbai

Indian Diamond Institute, Surat

Online course





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