Silversmiths design, manufacture and sell jewelry. They also adjust, repair and appraise gems and jewelry. Silversmiths are specialized in working with silver and other precious metals.
The following job titles also refer to silversmith:
silver earrings fabricator
silver jewellery maker
silver jewellery fabricator
silver ring fabricator
silver earrings maker
silver jewel smith
silver ring maker
Some silversmiths work from home and sell their products at trade and craft shows. Online sales are also a growing source of sales for jewelers.
Silversmiths 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, silversmiths must follow security procedures, including making use of burglar alarms and, in larger jewelry stores, working in the presence of security guards.
Most silversmiths 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.
No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a silversmith.
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.
Silversmith is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Silversmith career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to silversmith.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of silversmith. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of silversmith with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of silversmith.
- Metal and metal ore products: The offered metal and metal ore products, their functionalities, properties and legal and regulatory requirements.
- Characteristics of precious metals: Variations of precious metals according to density, corrossion resistance, electrical conductivity, light reflectivity and quality.
- 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 silversmith.
- Use jewellery equipment: Handle, modify, or repair jewellery-making equipment such as jigs, fixtures, and hand tools such as scrapers, cutters, gougers, and shapers.
- Pour molten metal into moulds: Pour molten steel or metal into moulds; operate by hand or by using cranes.
- Cast jewellery metal: Heat and melt jewellery materials; pour in moulds to cast jewellery models. Use jewellery-making material such as spanners, pliers or presses.
- Smoothen rough jewel parts: Smoothen rough parts of pieces of jewellery using hand files and emery paper.
- Create jewellery: Create pieces of jewellery using precious materials such as silver and gold.
- Heat jewellery metals: Heat, melt and shape metals for jewellery making.
- Apply smithing techniques: Apply techniques and use technologies in relation to the various smithing processes, including sculpting, forging, upsetting, heat treating, and finishing.
- Select gems for jewellery: Select and purchase gems to use in jewellery pieces and designs.
- Select metals for jewellery: Select and purchase precious metals and alloys to use in jewellery pieces
- Cut metal products: Operate cutting and measuring instruments in order to cut/shape pieces of metal into given dimensions.
- Develop jewellery designs: Develop new jewellery designs and products, and modify existing designs.
- Mount stones in jewels: Mount gemstones in pieces of jewellery closely following design specifications. Place, set and mount gemstones and metal parts.
- 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
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of silversmith. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Electroplating metal materials: The various processes various materials used for electroplating may produce, such as copper plating, silver plating, nickle plating, gold plating, embossed gold plating, degreasing, and others.
- Electroplating processes: The various metalworking processes using electric current to form metal coating on an electrode and on the workpiece, such as pulse electroplating, pulse electrodeposition, brush electroplating, and others.
- Engraving technologies: The characteristics of various materials and methods used to engrave something on a surface.
- Watches and jewellery products: The offered watches and jewellery products, their functionalities, properties and legal and regulatory requirements.
- Jewellery product categories: Categories in which various types of jewellery can be found such as diamond fashion jewellery or diamond bridal jewellery.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of silversmith. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Pass on trade techniques: Pass on knowledge and skills, explain and demonstrate the application of equipment and materials and answer questions about trade techniques for the manufacturing of products.
- Engrave patterns: Engrave and print designs and patterns onto a variety of surfaces.
- Advise customers on jewellery and watches: Provide customers with detailed advice on watches and pieces of jewellery available in the store. Explain about different brands and models and their characteristics and features. Recommend and provide personal advice on pieces of jewellery, according to the customer’s needs and preferences.
- Apply restoration techniques: Select and apply appropriate restoration techniques in order to achieve the required restoration goals. This encompasses preventive measures, remedial measures, restoration processes and management processes.
- Evaluate restoration procedures: Evaluate the outcome of conservation and restoration procedures. Evaluate the degree of risk, success of treatment or activity and communicate the results.
- Adjust jewellery: Reshape jewellery mountings.
- 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.
- Record jewel processing time: Record the amount of time it took to process an item of jewellery.
- Estimate restoration costs: Estimate the cost implications of restoring and replacing products or parts.
- Build jewellery models: Construct preliminary jewel models using wax, plaster or clay. Create sample castings in moulds.
- Record jewel weight: Record the weight of finished jewellery pieces.
- Perform damascening: Perform the art of inserting contrasting materials, such as different types of metal, into one another in order to create detailed patterns.
- Estimate cost of jewellery and watches’ maintenance: Estimate the total cost for the maintenance of watches or pieces of jewellery.
- Design objects to be crafted: Sketch, draw or design sketches and drawings from memory, live models, manufactured products or reference materials in the process of crafting and sculpting.
- Select restoration activities: Determine restoration needs and requirements and plan the activities. Consider the desired results, the level of intervention required, evaluation of alternatives, constraints on actions, stakeholder demands, possible risks and future options.
- Maintain jewels and watches: Use cleaning equipment to properly care for jewellery and watches, as per customer request. This might involve cleaning and polishing watches and pieces of jewellery.
- Estimate value of used jewellery and watches: Assess used metal (gold, silver) and gems (diamonds, emeralds) based on age and current market rates.
ISCO group and title
7313 – Jewellery and precious-metal workers
- Silversmith – ESCO
- Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Featured image: By Hadizasani – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0