Ms. Priyanka Shah, proprietor of Shree Gems and Minerals and Gem Testing Lab, Hyderabad, comes from the family of Raja Bhagwandas, jeweller to the Nizam's. She won the best jewellery designer national award, sponsored by World Gold Council. Ms. Shah shared her precious time to talk to us about jewellery designing as career option.
Excerpts from an interview:
Till a few decades back, jewellery designing was constrained to the families of a few artisans. Today it is an emerging career opportunity open to anyone. What is the impetus behind this changed scenario?
In olden days, the only way to master jewellery designing was to work with an experienced jeweller. But today, with advancements in technology, the scenario has changed. The recent boom in the gems and jewellery industry has transformed the traditional form of art into a highly commercial modernized tech-savvy one where in you work with 3D and graphic software.
So, with a course from a reputed institute you can gain the knowledge and skills required to become a professional in the field.
Also, in India, jewellery is linked to social status. Today people are keen on what they want to wear and possess. They want to a style statement and gain an edge over others at social occasions. This increased the demand for jewellery designers, and turned the profession into a promising career choice.
Inspiration to a finished piece of jewellery - tell us about the journey.
Jewellery designing involves various stages. First, the design is created as a sketch on a paper or using software. Then it is manufactured by casting and moulding of the raw metal. Next, gemstones are soldered and the different components are integrated. This is followed by finishing, which includes polishing and fine tuning etc. A jewellery designer's role does not stop after the first stage; he is involved throughout the process. The job demands great precision and concentration because the work is complicated and involves precious metals and stones.
What are the different roles in the field? What does it take to succeed in them?
The most coveted position is Company Jewellery Designer. Who wouldn't love to have someone pay you to design jewellery and not have to deal with selling the finished pieces? To succeed in this role, you need to have expert level knowledge of jewellery making techniques and materials, years of industry experience, and excellent contacts and relations with overseas partners.
Another role is jewellery buyer. Large stores have employees who specialise in buying jewellery merchandise to be sold in their stores. This position requires jewellery and fashion knowledge and foresight to future trends. Then comes the role Jewellery Sales Representative. They locate and secure accounts from retailers. Another popular role is freelance jewellery designer.
How are the entrepreneurial opportunities in this field?
Entrepreneurial opportunities are good. But make sure you carry with you sufficient experience in the field and have good knowledge about gems.
What are the new trends in jewellery designing?
Although trends vary from person to person, it's safe to say that 2011 will stay classy when it comes to jewellery. Since there is a hike in prices people will be selective in buying as well.
What is your advice to fresh graduate of jewellery designing?
Designing exclusive pieces of jewellery is what sets you apart from the rest. In today's competitive industry you have to offer clients one-of-a kind jewellery. A professional and personalised approach enables you to make the most and the best from what you have learnt. Also, learn gemology because it is very useful in the profession.
Nitya Sai Soumya