Work Conditions: Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers
A jeweler’s work involves a great deal of concentration and attention to detail. Working on precious stones and metals, while trying to satisfy customers’ and employers’ demands for speed and quality, can cause fatigue or stress. However, the use of more ergonomically correct jewelers’ benches has eliminated most of the strain and discomfort caused by spending long periods bending over a workbench in one position.
Lasers require both careful handling, to avoid injury, and steady hands, to direct precision tasks. In larger manufacturing plants and some smaller repair shops, chemicals, sharp or pointed tools, and jewelers’ torches pose safety threats and may cause injury if proper care is not taken. Most dangerous chemicals, however, have been replaced with synthetic, less toxic, products to meet safety requirements.
In repair shops, jewelers usually work alone, with little supervision. In retail stores, they may talk with customers about repairs, perform custom design work, and even do some selling. Because many of their materials are valuable, jewelers must observe strict security procedures, including working behind locked doors that are opened only by a buzzer, working on the other side of barred windows, making use of burglar alarms, and, in larger jewelry establishments, working in the presence of armed guards.