By Aakriti Tapuriah and Rashi Sanghvi co-founders of STAC Fine Jewellery
For us, jewellery designing is about creating pieces that you yourself as a designer would love to wear. Our philosophy is simple – design fuss-free pieces that can be worn from the breakfast table to the dancefloor. Jewellery designing isn’t just about technique; it’s about finding the perfect balance between the latest trends, customer feedback and your own creative aesthetic. If you are hoping to make a career in jewellery design, creative thinking is the most prerequisite that you’ll need to make it in this field. Given the constantly evolving nature of trends, it is also essential to have the ability and knowledge of working with a wide array of materials and metals. Attention to detail and an eye on the latest trends, locally and internationally, will also help you stand out from others in this field. Contrary to popular perception, a design degree can be a great asset in your designing process, but it is definitely not a prerequisite.
How to Build a Career in Jewellery Design
If you are just starting out in this field, it’s a good idea to narrow down on your inspiration, pick a central theme or concept, refine it and then progressively build on that. Drawing from the concept one can then help you channel your creativity into different pieces. The next step of design discipline would be to make sure that those designs work as part of the overall brand aesthetic and industry trends. Jewellery design is an iterative process with tweaks coming in at every stage from initial design to manufacturing, so don’t be afraid to go with the flow as things progress.
While individual preferences and creative leanings differ greatly, on a broader scale, it is essential to identify your design and aesthetic style, create a portfolio of your design work and create some sample pieces to get a hang of the manufacturing process. This will help you determine if you would like to and if you can afford to work for yourself in the beginning or would rather join a company.
It is important to note that there are several courses online and offline that cover precious and semi-precious stones, technical drawing, CAD and design. Depending on your past experience and background, it may be worthwhile to get some practical experience with an existing designer before starting out on your own.
Start by identifying a couple of companies that you would like to apply to as a jewellery designer. The second route is for you to just go all in and make your designs, launch a thoughtfully curated social media profile, do lots of physical pop-ups to gauge feedback for your designs and begin your journey!
The only way to then get started is to simply get started! Everyone’s design process is very personal but just starting a mood board with some images or simply sketching from one’s imagination works as a first step. It is best to narrow down your creativity to one specific concept and work with that. While initially, one may find the sketches random, they will come together through a process of iteration and elimination.
Once the processes are in place and you are ready to go live, the next stage begins of establishing your name in the market. There is no alternative to real and honest customer feedback. So, find every opportunity to put your products in front of customers and learn from them. Also, understanding the technicality of materials, how they work together and how they are assembled helps in ensuring designs that don’t just look pretty but are also practical in wearability.
The best form of market research is going out there and talking to your prospective customer. While there are numerous market research reports, nothing beats qualitative information and feedback from your potential audience. As a brand, we have used every form of the primary response to gauge interest in our offering – from surveys to experimental pop-ups as well as test marketing on social media platforms.
The good news is that starting a business has never been quicker. In today’s e-commerce and social media-enabled market, one can test their designs on a larger audience with considerable ease. The Indian market for jewellery is a diverse and ever-evolving market. We have found that the younger, modern woman is looking for jewellery that is simple, classic and can be worn every day. Practical women are looking for jewellery that easily transitions from work to dinner and from traditional to western wear, letting them get the most mileage out of the pieces they own.
The world of jewellery design is a crowded one, and if you are looking to stand out, you’ll find that a creative bent of mind, the ability to find inspiration in everyday objects and a clear idea of your personal design aesthetic are of the utmost importance. It is also extremely helpful to be knowledgeable about the manufacturing process and the mechanical properties of the raw materials you intend to work with. Additionally, just being aware of the latest trends in the industry is always an added bonus!
We learn with every design and every collection we create. The way we have built our skills is by putting it into practice. With every design and every iteration, there is always something new that surfaces and that’s what makes it interesting!