These days you can purchase jewelry in a number of places besides the traditional jewelry store. The number of department stores, mall kiosks, discount stores, and Internet shops could make you think the world is ready to rain baubles, bangles, and beads! Yet, the purchase of fine jewelry is more an investment than a shopping excursion.
When looking for fine jewelry, you may find it to your benefit to acquaint yourself with the services that a master jeweler provides.
What Is a Master Jeweler?
In nearly every recorded civilization, people have been fascinated by the allure of gemstones and precious metals. Jewelry has been found that dates as far back as 6,000 BCE. However, even our ancestors depended on the talents of a skilled craftsman to forge their rings and bracelets and set their treasured gemstones into precious metals.
Throughout most of history, jewelers have passed on their craft one to another. Sometimes techniques were passed from father to son and sometimes from skilled artisan to apprentice. A youngster who wanted to become a jeweler would seek out the mentorship and guidance of a skilled jewelry craftsman and hope to be taken on as his apprentice.
Jewelry apprenticeships could last from one year to six depending on the talent of the apprentice and temperament of his teacher. In fact, commonly a young jeweler might become an old jeweler without ever opening his own shop!
Today, jewelry design is considered to be as much an art form as a trade. Degrees in jewelry making are offered by vocational schools and the world of jewelry design is introduced to art students the world over. Interestingly, though, many jewelers find it necessary to complete internships and/or seek jobs as apprentices with master jewelers. Just like in olden times, the master jeweler is usually a skilled artisan with years of experience in his field.
In addition to academic education and apprenticeship, in the US the Jewelers of America offer four letters of certification for jewelers. Each level is completed with both written and “bench” tests. The bench tests are hands on activities that the jeweler must complete to be awarded certification. The fourth level of certification is the Certified Master Bench Jeweler (CMBJ).
When Do You Need A Master Jeweler?
The contemporary master jeweler can answer nearly any question about your jeweler and solve nearly any problem you bring to him/her. Many modern master jewelers are jewelry designers in their own right.
Although many jewelers advertise themselves as professionals, certification tells you that your jeweler has acquired a certain amount of expertise in his/her field. Services your master jeweler may offer include:
- Appraisal of your jewelry
- Resetting of loose stones
- Repair of damaged precious metals
- Professional cleaning
- Ring resizing, either smaller or larger
- Redesign of old pieces
- New design settings for unset stones
- Custom jewelry design
The US Department of Labor has this to say about jewelers in general.
“The precise and delicate nature of jewelry work requires finger and hand dexterity, good hand-eye coordination, patience, and concentration. Artistic ability and fashion consciousness are major assets, because jewelry must be stylish and attractive.”
This is what you can expect from a master jeweler!