A silversmith specializes in working with precious metals for the jewelry trade and may also restore antiques and create ornamental tableware and trophies. Silversmiths often work for themselves or find employment with jewelry retailers or large manufacturing companies. To become a silversmith you must hold an interest in working with metals and minerals, draw and design and perform tasks with great precision.
Find a school that offers training in jewelry design, metalsmithing and art metals programs. Training is also available through distance-learning centers.
Enroll in a program that fits your specific career goals as the training you receive at a technical or vocational school enables you to specialize in a certain aspect of the metalsmithing industry. For example, some schools offer additional courses that include shop theory and blueprint reading while others are short-term in nature and focus on specific skills such as jewelry-making and jewelry-repair alone.
Consider seeking employment from an employer that offers on-the-job training or an apprenticeship. Jewelry manufacturing companies often offer such programs.
Contact the Jewelers of America to find out how you can receive certification. Although a silversmith can find work without certification, these credentials demonstrate expertise and can help with advancement opportunities.
Establish a strong reputation with jewelry suppliers before you start your own business. Statistics show that self-employed silversmiths make up half of the people working in this field. If this option appeals to you, develop your sales, customer service, marketing and business management skills while working for an employer to make the transition to business owner a smoother process.