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The goldsmith begins his career learning basic metal smith techniques used for creating and repairing jewelry. In Europe, there is a long history of apprenticeship as a way of learning the skills and processes a goldsmith uses. In the U.S., jewelry making programs and art degrees are often combined with apprenticeship to gain goldsmith skills. While there is no definitive path to becoming a goldsmith in the U.S., you can follow certain steps to gain the skills needed to begin your career.
Enroll in a jewelry class and learn the skills of a metalsmith. Gold is not usually the first metal a goldsmith learns to craft. Learning to create jewelry and art pieces using all types of metal helps hone the smith's skill set. Start early with jewelry courses in high school or college. A class that introduces you to the tools and basic tasks a jewelry designer uses is a good place to begin.
Complete a college degree in jewelry arts. A bachelor's degree in jewelry making allows you to learn to create with all metals, including gold. Arts degrees encourage the development of an artistic style and students begin learning to “show” their work to the public and in some instances may be allowed to sell their work through campus art sales.
Learn about gold and its history. Study on your own or take a course on gold. Knowing all you can about gold can inform your jewelry designs, techniques and the type of gold you choose to use. Check the library for books about gold and its history. A general metals course that includes the topic of gold should also provide valuable information.
Obtain certification from Jewelers of America, JA. This organization offers a series of professional certifications that identify a jeweler as having a particular level of skill and ability to make and repair jewelry. Obtaining one or more JA certifications can develop a goldsmith's abilities and indicate he is dedicated and trained to pursue a career as a goldsmith.
Apprentice with a goldsmith. Apprenticeship allows you to work under the direct supervision of an experienced goldsmith and learn advanced jewelry making skills. To find a goldsmith, search online, contact a local college art department or jewelry making school and speak with present and former jewelry instructors. You may need to develop a relationship with the goldsmith before he will agree to an apprenticeship.
Alex Burke holds a degree in environmental design and a Master of Arts in information management. She's worked as a licensed interior designer, artist, database administrator and nightclub manager. A perpetual student, Burke writes Web content on a variety of topics, including art, interior design, database design, culture, health and business.