Life On The Job

Manufacturing Jeweller and Designer: Michael Parker

Michael at work
Michael at work in his studio

Description of my job:

A manufacturing jeweller and designer designs and hand makes jewellery pieces e.g. rings, pendants and earrings.

These are made using precious metals (such as gold, silver or platinum) and gemstones (such as diamonds, sapphires etc.).

My day is spent consulting with my customers, then making their jewellery pieces. I also spend time talking to my suppliers - that is, the people that provide my raw materials.

Michael's website
Michael's website


My schooling did not directly relate to the skills required for my career. Nevertheless, learning to speak and write formal English clearly and coherently, and basic mathematics was essential.

It was also important to learn to interact and interrelate with others - as a part of my job is to deal with customers on a daily basis.


To become a manufacturing jeweller and designer I completed 3 years at TAFE and a four year apprenticeship. I went to TAFE one day a week for 3 years, and worked in the jewellery workshop the other days for 4 years. This allowed me to achieve a trade certificate.

Gallery of Michael's Designs:

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design design
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design design

Experience  & Opportunities:

At the time I left high school, my father had a jewellery business that employed apprentices and tradesmen. He encouraged me to take this career path - so I became an apprentice and worked alongside other jewellers in a workshop of about 5 people.

I am second generation jeweller i.e. I followed in my father's footsteps.

I completed my apprenticeship and became a tradesman after four years. I now have my own jewellery business.


I am self-employed, owning and running my own jewellery studio. At the beginning of my career I was apprenticed for four years. While the apprentice's wage was small, it did give me a sense of independence.

I now work in my studio, consulting with customers and making jewellery pieces.

I have an office manager who handles the paperwork and general administration.

As the outcome of my work is beautiful jewellery pieces, this would be an interesting career for someone with a creative flair.


As jewellery is a fashion item, there are always changes in trends.

By accessing associations such as GAA and JAA, and keeping connected to the main suppliers of the jewellery industry, jewellers can keep abreast of new concepts, trends and products.

While professional development is not essential to levels of productivity, it is certainly advantageous.



Gemmological Association of Australia

Jewellers Association of Australia



Design a ring of your own

PrimaryPrimary  MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary  

ICT Capability Australian Curriculum General Capability: ICT Capability

Critical & Creative ThinkingAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical & Creative Thinking

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity



1. View the following video:

Learn to Design Jewellery - High-speed tour of what a traditional jewellery design artist does. (12mins)

(URL: Video


2. In pairs, role play - one person as the jeweller designer and one person as the customer.


a. You need to have some idea about what you would like to have as a ring.

b. You need to know the gemstone you want in your ring

c. You need to decide on white gold or gold

d. You need to know how much you are willing to spend

Jeweller Designer:

a. You need to reflect back to your customer what they say they want and then draw or sketch their requirements.

2. Swap roles.

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Jeweller side

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Jeweller side

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