Jewellery polisher

Description

Jewellery polishers ensure that finished jewellery pieces are cleaned by customer demand or prepared for sale. They may also perform minor repairs. They use either hand tools such as files and emery paper buff sticks and/or hand held polishing machines. They also use mechanised polishing machines such as barrel polishers. 

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to jewellery polisher:

jewelry polisher
jewellery polishing machine setter
jewelry polishing machine worker
jewelery repairer
jewellery finisher
jewelry polishing machine operative
jewellery polishing machine worker
barrel polishing machine worker
barrel polishing machine tender
barrel polishing machine operative
jewelry polishing machine tender
jewelry polishing machine setter
jewelry polishing machine operator
barrel polishing machine setter
jewellery polishing machine operator
jewellery polishing machine operative
barrel polishing machine operator
jewellery polishing machine tender

Working conditions

Some jewellery polishers work from home and sell their products at trade and craft shows. Online sales are also a growing source of sales for jewelers.

Jewellery polishers spend much of their time sitting at a workbench or standing at a polishing station. Computer-aided design (CAD) is also an important tool in the jewelry industry.

There is exposure to machines, fumes, and toxic or caustic chemicals, and risk of radiation. Many tools, such as jeweler’s torches and lasers, must be handled carefully to avoid injury. Polishing processes such as chemical baths also must be performed in a safe manner.

Self-employed workers usually work at home in their workshop or studio. In retail stores, jewelers may talk with customers about repairs, perform custom design work, and sell items to customers. Because many of their materials are valuable, jewelers must follow security procedures, including making use of burglar alarms and, in larger jewelry stores, working in the presence of security guards.

Work Schedules

Most jewellery polishers work full time.

Many self-employed workers show and sell their products at trade and craft shows during weekends. Retail store workers might also work nonstandard hours because they must be available when customers are not working, such as on holidays and weekends.

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a jewellery polisher.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Jewellery polisher is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Jewellery polisher career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to jewellery polisher.

metal polisher
jewellery mounter
precious stone cutter
precious stone setter
tumbling machine operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of jewellery polisher. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of jewellery polisher with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

automated assembly line operator
gemmologist
precision mechanics supervisor
metrology technician
industrial robot controller

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of jewellery polisher.

  • Buffing motions: The different processes, or motions, used in polishing, depending on the desired end result concerning the level of smoothness and shininess of the metal workpiece: cut motion or colour motion.
  • Gemstones: Types of minerals or petrified materials that are cut and polished for use in jewellery, classified according to type, characteristics, and value.
  • Jewellery processes: Materials and processes involved in creating jewellery items like earrings, necklaces, rings, brackets, etc.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of jewellery polisher.

  • Use jewellery equipment: Handle, modify, or repair jewellery-making equipment such as jigs, fixtures, and hand tools such as scrapers, cutters, gougers, and shapers.
  • Polish gemstones: Use polishing agents or fine grades of diamonds to remove small amounts of stone in order to get a shiny surface that will improve light refraction or reflection.
  • Sand gemstones: Use abrasives to remove scratches and irregularities on gemstones. The abrasives used for this process are finer than the ones used for grinding gemstones. The sanding process is used to create flat surfaces on a stone, such as facets, is called lapping.
  • Ensure conformance to jewel design specifications: Examine finished jewellery products to ensure that they meet quality standards and design specifications. Use magnifying glasses, polariscopes or other optical instruments.
  • Grind gemstones: Shape gemstones using equipment such as diamond or silicon carbide wheels to obtain a rough though more regular form called the preform.
  • Clean jewellery pieces: Clean and polish metal items and pieces of jewellery; handle mechanical jewellery-making tools such as polishing wheels.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of jewellery polisher. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Cultured pearls: The process of creating pearls by inserting a piece of tissue in the centre of the oyster to help create pearls under controlled conditions, instead of the accidentally occurring natural pearls.
  • Imitation jewellery: The materials and processes used to create imitation jewellery, and how to manipulate the materials.
  • Coining: The process of shaping metal parts with a high relief or very fine features, such as coins, medals, badges or buttons, by pressing the surface of the metal between two dies.
  • Precious metal processing: Various processing methods on precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of jewellery polisher. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Remove inadequate workpieces: Evaluate which deficient processed workpieces do not meet the set-up standard and should be removed and sort the waste according to regulations.
  • Remove processed workpiece: Remove individual workpieces after processing, from the manufacturing machine or the machine tool. In case of a conveyor belt this involves quick, continuous movement.
  • Metal polishing machine parts: The various parts, their qualities and applications, of a metalworking machine designed for buffing and polishing metal surfaces, such as the brush head, contact roller head, drum, drum base, lock bar, shell, and others.
  • Operate precision measuring equipment: Measure the size of a processed part when checking and marking it to check if it is up to standard by use of two and three dimensional precision measuring equipment such as a caliper, a micrometer, and a measuring gauge.
  • Monitor moving workpiece in a machine: Monitor the processing of a workpiece in motion, such as a piece of metal or wood moved linearly over a static manufacturing machine.
  • Mark processed workpiece: Inspect and mark parts of the workpiece to indicate how they will fit into the finished product.
  • Supply machine: Ensure the machine is fed the necessary and adequate materials and control the placement or automatic feed and retrieval of work pieces in the machines or machine tools on the production line.
  • Measure flatness of a surface: Measure the evenness of a workpiece’s surface after it has been processed by checking for deviations from the desired perpendicular state.
  • Operate metal polishing equipment: Operate equipment designed to buff and polish metal workpieces, such as diamond solutions, silicon-made polishing pads, or working wheels with a leather polishing strop, and others.
  • Set up the controller of a machine: Set up and give commands to a machine by dispatching the appropriate data and input into the (computer) controller corresponding with the desired processed product.
  • Tend metal polishing machine: Tend a metalworking machine designed to buff and polish metal surfaces, monitor and operate it according to regulations.
  • Apply polishing lubricants: Apply the appropriate lubricant matching the kind of metal of the processed metal workpiece during polishing processes, such as was or kerosene.

ISCO group and title

7313 – Jewellery and precious-metal workers


References
  1. Jewellery polisher – ESCO
  2. Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Last updated on September 29, 2022

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