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Bling it on
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 09, 2012
First Published: 17:31 IST(9/10/2012)
Last Updated: 17:43 IST(9/10/2012)
Crowning glory: Kate Middleton wore the Halo tiara (made in 1936 by Cartier) for her wedding with Prince William. It was lent to her by Queen Elizabeth

The lowdown
A jewellery designer is a visionary and a crucial part of business today, as the market has evolved considerably. While s/he designs with a strong sense of aesthetics, it’s imperative to have knowledge of the right techniques, especially production. A jewellery designer can have his or her own business or get associated with a brand, or smaller player or retail in stores. A degree in jewellery designing or gemology can be of help and the rest depends on your creativity and hard work. Jewellery designers these days are tech-savvy, working with 3D and graphic software, though they also need to know about the hands-on technique, mix of metals, stones and gems etc to decide which designs can go from the drawing board to the store shelf. As quirky gets fashionable, many designers also like to experiment and work with clay, fibreglass and other unusual materials

If self-employed:
10am: Start work on designs
10.30am: Speak/meet with individual clients or the stores that stock the jewellery
12.30pm: Lunch
1.30pm: Back to design
4.30pm: Review the day’s work and designs
6pm: Coffee break
8pm: Wrap up for the day

If designing for a jeweller:
9am: Reach office and run through the day’s worklist
9.30am: Start work on designs
1pm: Lunch
2pm: Back to design
5pm: Review the day’s work
6pm: Leave for home

The payoff
The pay depends on the seniority, capability and expertise of a designer. Jewellery designers can draw fixed salaries from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 1 lakh per month or freelance per design. Celebrity designers get fees for design and sale commission. Some designers can be part-timers as well

* A good sense of aesthetics, exposure and colour
* A keen eye for detail
* Good drawing skills 
* Understanding of gems and metals

Getting there
A lot of luck, capability and contacts can take you places. The correct route, however, would be through a good internship after a course in jewllery designing or gemology from a recognised institute. One can also gain great amount of knowledge and exposure through the internet and by participating in fashion weeks. Experimenting constantly on designs would be a great stimulation

Institutes and URLs 
* National Institute of Fashion Technology (various centres)
* National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
* Jewellery Design & Technology Institute, Noida
* SNDT University, Mumbai

Pros and cons
* Choose this profession only if you have the aptitude and flair
* It can be a very stimulating, exciting and well-paid work, if you hit the right chords
* Lot of pressure of sales, since the market is competitive and only the best can survive
* As this profession involves high value materials and great amount of pilferage, a strong sense of ethics is must
* The journey of building a brand is tedious

The jewellery profession... is stimulating, challenging and a full-time occupation Poonam Soni, a Mumbai-based jewellery designer who was featured in The Collector’s Guide-Quintessentially Gems, along with Cartier and Bulgari

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