Rochester Institute of Technology

Academic Program Overviews

Student Skills & Capabilities, Salary Data, Career Information 

Metals and Jewelry Design BFA

Program Overview

As an internationally recognized school that merges art with craft, the mission of the School for American Crafts is to educate, inspire and motivate students while preparing them for professions in the creative and technical understanding of wood, metal, clay and glass.  The metals and jewelry design major focuses on fostering a learning environment in which students are exposed to and learn about metalsmithing techniques and design. Students will have the opportunity to learn about hollowware, jewelry, sculpture, and furniture within the metals environment. Distinguished faculty will assist students in building skills for life after graduation, such as soldering, fabrication, stone setting, silversmithing, forging, and casting. Students will also develop drawing and rendering skills in order to enhance their design ideas and artistic methods. During the final year, students will culminate their studies by presenting their work in a senior exhibition. Graduates of this program will develop a strong body of work, a portfolio, and a resume, which will assist them in a successful transition towards achieving their professional goals and objectives.

Degrees Awarded

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Master of Fine Arts

Enrollment

  • Approximately 40 students

Cooperative Education & Experiential Education Component

  • Cooperative education, internships, or freelance work is optional and encouraged.

Salary Information

Co-op:                     Insufficient Data
BFA/MFA:                Insufficient Data

Student Skills & Capabilities

  • In order to achieve the desired occupational goals, the educational objectives seek to stimulate creative imagination & technical invention, develop knowledge of process & command of skills, & foster appreciation, of the crafts and the related arts.  The programs strive to inspire the student to seek continual improvement through analysis & self-evaluation, the BFA program cooperates with the College of Liberal Arts in assisting students to develop personally & socially.
  • Students in the Metals and Jewelry Design Program support the philosophy of the Craft School:  a community of artists and crafts people learning and working together.  This creates an environment of cooperation, responsibility and sharing that we encourage by such activities as group projects and critiques, peer mentoring and studio maintenance and pride.  Self-discovery is at the heart of our assignments, projects, and group discussions. 
  •  The program focuses on design, aesthetics, material and process mastery, and career-oriented topics such as resume building, portfolio compilation, job search lectures and assignments. 
  • Invited guest speakers from the field conduct discussions in topics ranging from design, studio management, gallery relations, professional practices and “special” technical and aesthetic issues.  Field trips to museums, artists’ studios, and art centers are also utilized.

Accreditation

RIT is chartered by the Legislature of the State of New York and accredited by the Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association for the Colleges and Schools.

Equipment & Facilities

  • The School for American Crafts has become famous for its devotion to the technical skills, impeccable craftsmanship, and artistic expression in the crafts. 
  • Three full days per week are spent in the student’s major studio.
  • Studios, labs, classrooms and equipment are among the finest in the nation.  SAC boasts the latest equipment in all areas of design, arts, and crafts, and a wide variety of other resources which aid students in their technical development.  Focus remains, however, on BOTH the technical and creative process.
  • The studio comprises approximately 8500 sq. feet of working space divided into four major areas:  a graduate studio, upper-class undergraduate studio, undergraduate studio, and a forge.
  • Specialty side room areas include polishing, machining, casting, aluminum anodizing, chemical processes, and large soldering and annealing areas. 
  • A student operated supply store is also located in the studio.  Each student has his or her own secure workspace and torch.

Nature of Work

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers use a variety of common and specialized hand tools and equipment to design and manufacture new pieces of jewelry; cut, set, and polish gem stones; and repair or adjust rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other jewelry. Jewelers usually specialize in one or more of these areas and may work for large jewelry-manufacturing firms, for small retail jewelry shops, or as owners of their own businesses. Regardless of the type of work done or the work setting, jewelers require a high degree of skill, precision, and attention to detail. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook)

Training / Qualifications

Jewelers usually learn their trade in vocational or technical schools, through distance-learning centers, or on the job. Colleges and art and design schools also offer programs that can lead to a Bachelor of Fine Arts or Master of Fine Arts degree in jewelry design. Formal training in the basic skills of the trade enhances one’s employment and advancement opportunities. Many employers prefer jewelers with design, repair, and sales skills. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Job Outlook

Employment of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers is expected to decline 10 percent from 2012 to 2022. Moderate competition is expected for skilled positions, and strong competition is expected for lower skilled manufacturing jobs. New jewelers also will be needed to replace those who retire or who leave the occupation for other reasons. When master jewelers retire, they take with them years of experience that require substantial time and financial resources to replace. Many employers have difficulty finding and retaining jewelers with the right skills and the necessary knowledge. Some technological advances have made jewelry making more efficient; however, many tasks cannot be fully automated. Jewelry work is a labor-intensive process that requires excellent handiwork. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Job Titles

Craft Artist, Jeweler, Designer

Employment

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers held about 39,200 jobs in 2010. About 54 percent of these workers were self-employed; many operated their own store or repair shop, and some specialized in designing and creating custom jewelry. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Significant Points

  • About one third of all jewelers were self-employed in 2012.
  • Usually learn their trade in vocational or technical schools, through distance-learning centers, or on the job.
  • Prospects for new jewelers should be excellent; many employers have difficulty finding and retaining workers with the right skills to replace those who retire or who leave the occupation for other reasons. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Selected Employer Hiring Partners

Oneida Silver, Knoll Associates, Tiffany & Co., Bucks Rock Performing & Creative Arts Camp, Designs Internationals Inc., Interlochen Center for the Arts, Barbara Heinrich Studio, Cornell’s Jewelers, JK Jewelry, Earl of Pearls, Ltd, Richards & West Inc., Mann’s Jewelers, Studio 34 Creative Arts Center.

Contact Us

We appreciate your interest in your career and we will make every effort to help you succeed. Feel free to contact Morgan Faas, the career services coordinator who works with the Metals and Jewelry Design program. You can access information about services through our web site at www.rit.edu/careerservices.
 

Morgan Faas, Career Services Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,  585.475.5469

Rochester Institute of Technology . Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
Bausch & Lomb Center
57 Lomb Memorial Drive . Rochester NY  14623-5603
585.475.2301

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