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Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Job Outlook

Employment of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers is expected to decline 5 percent from 2010 to 2020. Low-skilled workers will likely face limited opportunities because most jewelry manufacturing is now done outside of the country.

Traditional jewelry stores may continue to lose some of their customers to nontraditional sellers, such as department stores, but they will still maintain a large customer base. In addition, new jewelry sold by nontraditional retailers should create some demand for skilled jewelers who can size, clean, and repair jewelry.

Job Prospects

Despite declining employment, job opportunities should be available for bench jewelers who are skilled at design or repair. New jewelers will be needed to replace those who retire or who leave the occupation for other reasons. As master jewelers retire, shops lose expertise and knowledge that is difficult and costly to replace. Job opportunities in jewelry stores and repair shops should be best for those who have graduated from a training program and have related work experience.

Strong competition is expected for lower skilled manufacturing jobs that are susceptible to automation. Jewelry designers who wish to create their own jewelry lines should expect intense competition. Although demand for customized and boutique jewelry is strong, it is difficult for independent designers to establish themselves. Experience with computer-aided design (CAD) makes creating custom pieces of jewelry easier.

During economic downturns, demand for jewelry products and for jewelers usually decreases. However, demand for repair workers should remain strong even during economic slowdowns because maintaining and repairing jewelry is cheaper than buying new jewelry.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition