Monday, June 29, 2009

Jewelers and precious stone

Jewelers design, manufacture, repair, and adjust rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other jewelry. They use a variety of common and specialized handtools to mold and shape metal and set gemstones. Increasingly, jewelers use computers to design jewelry and lasers to perform very delicate and intricate work.

Jewelers usually specialize in one or more areas: Designing and manufacturing new pieces of jewelry, gem cutting, setting and polishing stones, or repairing broken items. Jewelers who are knowledgeable about the quality, characteristics, and value of gemstones also sell jewelry and provide appraisal services. In small retail or repair shops, jewelers may be involved in all aspects of the work. Jewelers who own or manage stores or shops also hire and train employees; order, market, and sell merchandise; and perform other managerial duties.

The work of jewelers requires a high degree of skill, precision, and attention to detail regardless of the type of establishment or work setting. Typical repair work includes enlarging or reducing ring sizes, resetting stones, and replacing broken clasps and mountings. Some jewelers also design or make their own jewelry. Following their own designs, or those created by designers or customers, they begin by shaping the metal or carving wax to make a model for casting the metal. The individual parts are then soldered together, and the jeweler may mount a diamond or other gem, or engrave a design into the metal. Although jewelers mainly use computers for inventory control, some jewelry designers also use them to design and create customized pieces according to their customers’ wishes. With the aid of computers, customers visualize different combinations of styles, cuts, shanks, sizes, and stones to create their own pieces.

In manufacturing, jewelers usually specialize in a single operation. Some may make models or tools for the jewelry that is to be produced. Others do finishing work, such as setting stones, polishing, or engraving. A growing number of jewelers use lasers for cutting and improving the quality of stones, intricate engraving or design work, and ID inscription. Some manufacturing firms use CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing) to facilitate product design and automate some steps in the mold and model-making process. As such systems become more affordable, their use should increase. In larger manufacturing establishments, jewelers may be required to perform several tasks as new manufacturing processes make their way through the industry.

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