A Designer Dream

jewellery designing

Jewellery design has transitioned from being a luxury career to a mainstream one. Sangeetha Thiyagarajan profiles this lucrative profession

Jewellery designers are architects of jewellery. They ideate, design, prototype and then create jewellery. A designer might produce mass designs for a commercial manufacturer or custom jewellery for a select clientele. They might be specialists focusing on one type of ornament or generalists who create entire themed collections. Most designers also have complementary degrees in gemology, jewellery manufacturing, business management and retail, which give them more command over the creation process and the flexibility to apply their skills to different facets of the business.

The Indian connection

India’s gems and jewellery industry is likely to double in the next five years, according to a study titled All that glitters is gold: India Jewellery Review 2013 by global consultancy firm A.T. Kearney. Additionally, more and more international brands are setting up shop in the country. It is evident that there is an increasing need for a workforce skilled in fashioning jewellery.

Getting started

“We will teach you the skills. All you need is passion and energy,” says Radhika Sapkal, Assistant Manager at GIA. Vast arrays of courses are available for design enthusiasts. If you are a beginner, you can start with fundamental courses on design and composition. If you want something niche, explore courses that deal with Indian and western design styles or the ones about manufacturing, marketing and retailing jewellery. Choose a reputed course. This will offer tremendous scope in terms of interaction with foreign faculty, international competitions, trade fairs, conferences and networking and showcase events.

Career options

You may start your own jewellery designing venture or join a major jewellery brand. Some institutes have placement cells or affiliations with jewellery houses and can help secure an apprenticeship. If you opt for a gemmology course, you can secure a job with one of the grading labs in the country. You can also choose to work as a design teacher or trainer yourself.

On the job

For those who start their own business, the designing of jewellery is only one part of the job. You need to source raw materials, set up and maintain a workspace, hire artisans to help out with the business, and stay abreast of the latest trends in technology, fashion, and the gold and precious metals industry while selling your product at the same time. “My card says designer but I play so many exciting roles every day,” says Sowmya Kannan, a costume jewellery maker from Mumbai. Noted jewellery designer Renu Oberoi agrees. “I not only limit my scope of work to designing as I am fully involved in manufacturing and marketing too. The key to designing jewellery is looking into the aesthetic and commercial aspects both, and the usage of the product in today’s day and age.”

The perks

As a designer, creative satisfaction is the biggest perk. Adds Oberoi, “We get to experiment with different raw materials, coloured gemstones and techniques of craftsmanship.” There are perks in working for a jewellery maker too. “I am exposed to every side of this industry. Tomorrow if I decide that I want to participate in jewellery promotion, it’s easier for me to make a switch,” says Vijay Rao, Retail Manager for a top Indian jewellery brand.

The challenges

Working alone might give you freedom and flexibility but there is a lot of uncertainty involved. Oberoi elaborates, “It’s difficult to create stunning pieces that are well priced. We have constant competition in this field with new and young jewellery designers popping out every day. And a luxurious product like jewellery is first hit by an economic slowdown or recession.”
Working with a reputed jewellery brand, while offering your more options in terms of choosing the kind of work you want to do, imposes managerial expectations.

The future

Indian jewellery is hitting foreign shores with a style and exuberance that was never witnessed before. Says Mehul Choksi, Chairman and MD of Gitanjali Jewels, “The biggest selling point is the uniqueness of our products and the obsession of customers overseas to look different and possess a rare piece.” In this frenzy, a native Indian jewellery designer has the luxury of indulging his creativity while commanding top dollar both at home and globally. If you can turn the precious into priceless, this career is just the right choice for you.

“My advice to young students would be to work under a jewellery firm. Be passionate about what you want to create. Keep creating and drawing as there is no better knowledge than experience!” – Renu Oberoi, jewellery designer

Career facts:

Jewellery designer

Job profile

A jewellery designer is the creative head of design and supervises the entire process of jewellery making – from the sourcing of materials to final finish and presentation.


Beginners start at Rs. 30,000 a month while experts might earn upwards of  Rs. 1 lakh for each assignment.


A flair for design, an understanding of the industry, a creative mindset and willingness to learn.
* Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Mumbai
* The Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery (IIGJ), Mumbai
* SinGem, pan India
* Institute of Diamond trade (IDT), pan India
* College of Creative Studies, USA

Cost and duration

Courses range from 5 days to 4 years depending on the level of expertise. The cost varies accordingly, from Rs. 11k for online gemmology courses to up to Rs. 20lakhs for an exhaustive jewellery design diploma.


Volume 3 Issue9



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here