Jewelry Design Course Outline

Learn how to make jewelry and become a professional jewelry designer with NYIAD's online jewelry design program. Our school's jewelry making experts will teach you the history of the craft, different styles and colors, how to start your own jewelry design business, and much more.

  • Unit 1
  • Unit 2
  • Unit 3
  • Unit 4
  • Unit 5
  • Unit 6
  • Reference Library

Unit 1 Getting Started in Jewelry Design

  • Lesson 1.1 Eye of the Jewelry Designer

    In Lesson 1.1: Eye of the Jewelry Designer, we'll cover NYIAD's Three Guidelines for Jewelry Design. These simple concepts are important to keep in mind with every piece you create and are key elements in every successful piece of jewelry. You'll also begin looking at jewelry with a "designer's eye," thinking about how each piece was created and determining what materials and techniques were used.

  • Lesson 1.2 A Short History of Beaded Jewelry

    In Lesson 1.2: A Short History of Beaded Jewelry, we will explain the role that beads have played in human history. You'll learn how to describe the origin of beads and their role in human history as well as how to list some of the religious and symbolic meanings that have been attached to beads over time.

  • Lesson 1.3 Introduction to Tools and Materials

    In Lesson 1.3: Introduction to Tools and Materials, you will learn about the different types of jewelry making tools, beads and supplies. By the end of the lesson you will be able to recognize different jewelry making tools and their functions, list different types of beads and understand "findings" by identifying their different components.

  • Lesson 1.4 Buying Tools and Supplies

    In Lesson 1.4: Buying Tools and Supplies, we'll explore all the different places in which you can buy jewelry making supplies. You'll learn to list the different types of bead and tool suppliers as well as the best methods for purchasing jewelry supplies both online and at retail stores.

Unit 2 Basic Skills and Techniques

  • Lesson 2.1 Design and Color

    In Lesson 2.1: Design and Color, we will give you an introduction to fundamental design concepts, including the elements of color theory, composition and common jewelry styles. You'll learn to create several types of color schemes, to define a variety of color categories and to explain characteristics such as volume, emphasis, line and texture.

  • Lesson 2.2 Stringing Techniques, Part 1

    In Lesson 2.2: Stringing Techniques, Part 1, we will show you how to execute several important beading techniques. You will eventually use these techniques in your own jewelry designs. You will learn to lay out a pattern on a bead board, to measure string correctly, use crimp beads, open and close a jump ring and string beads on a tiger tail.

  • Lesson 2.3 Wire Working Techniques, Part 1

    In Lesson 2.3: Wire Working Techniques, Part 1, we will show you how to execute several important beading techniques that you will be able to use in your own jewelry designs. By the end of the lesson, you'll know how to measure string and crimp beads, attach chains to a multi-strand divider and execute several wire-wrapping techniques including a simple loop wrapped loop, and a loop with chain.

  • Lesson 2.4 Budgeting and Logging Costs

    In Lesson 2.4: Budgeting and Logging Costs, you will learn different strategies for budgeting, keeping track of expenses and pricing your jewelry. From creating a spreadsheet to developing a fair pricing system for your finished work, by the end of this lesson you'll have all the skills necessary to run a profitable business.

Unit 3 Advancing Your Design Skills

  • Lesson 3.1 Stringing Techniques, Part 2

    In Lesson 3.1: Stringing Techniques, Part 2, you will learn some advanced stringing techniques that will allow you to create more elaborate beaded jewelry. You'll learn to create beaded earrings and necklaces with French wires, to utilize knotting between beads, to master the right-angle weave technique and to string and stitch beads in more complex weaving patterns.

  • Lesson 3.2 Wire Working Techniques, Part 2

    In Lesson 3.2: Wire Working Techniques, Part 2, you'll learn advanced wire working techniques that will allow you to create a wide variety of jewelry designs. By the end of the lesson, you'll know how to explain different types and qualities of wire, to create Danish wire clusters, single and double wire spirals, as well as large-scale webs, hoops and wire details for bracelets and pendants.

  • Lesson 3.3 Developing a Signature Look

    In Lesson 3.3: Developing a Signature Look, you'll learn creative strategies for developing your own jewelry designs. From identifying several different strategies for adding innovation to your style to building on said techniques throughout the design process, this lesson will help you master what it takes to create a line of jewelry that truly stands out.

  • Lesson 3.4 Copyright Law

    In Lesson 3.4: Copyright Law, we follow along as Cynthia Stern, a skilled and passionate beader, interviews a New York City lawyer, Sarah Feingold, about copyrights and the legal nuances of protecting jewelry designs. In doing so, you will learn how to protect your original designs.

Unit 4 Developing Your Style

  • Lesson 4.1 Creating Unique Findings

    In Lesson 4.1: Creating Unique Findings, you'll learn how to make your own decorative findings with wire. By the end of the lesson you will be able to create a hook and eye clasp as well as more complex decorative clasps. You will also learn to create a variety of earring hooks, forged findings and bead connectors.

  • Lesson 4.2 Focusing On Color Trends

    In Lesson 4.2: Focusing On Color Trends, you'll learn how to follow color trends in a way that will help you keep your jewelry designs current. We will discuss the most effective methods of monitoring and identifying color trends, the right ways to use color in an effort to keep your designs current, and the importance of incorporating some sense of color trend in your styles.

  • Lesson 4.3 Advanced Jewelry Photography

    In Lesson 4.3: Advanced Jewelry Photography, you'll learn some simple, reliable techniques and setups for photographing your jewelry. We will explain the importance of taking good photographs as we help you create simple still-life setups for photographing your work. Along the way, you'll develop several go-to techniques to improve the overall quality of your product images.

  • Lesson 4.4 Building Your Brand

    In Lesson 4.4: Building Your Brand, we are going to discuss how to approach building your brand as a jewelry maker- that means taking the time to create a branded package that extends throughout your entire line, from your jewelry to your business cards to your website and ultimately to yourself.

Unit 5 Creating a Unique Brand

  • Lesson 5.1 Creating a Distinct Line of Jewelry

    In Lesson 5.1: Creating a Distinct Line of Jewelry, you will learn how to design a completely cohesive line of jewelry that reflects your signature style. From developing an inspiration point to learning to combine the right tools and colors, this lesson will help you in the task of completing an entire line from start to finish.

  • Lesson 5.2 Starting Your Own Business

    In Lesson 5.2: Starting Your Own Business, you'll learn the basics of how to start your own small jewelry design business. We'll start by exploring the necessary research you should do to develop a business model and write a cohesive plan. From there, we explore the difference between sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation. We'll wrap up by discussing the wholesale option, outlining the steps required to have jewelry produced in quantity.

  • Lesson 5.3 Finding Your Inspiration

    In Lesson 5.3: Finding Your Inspiration, you'll learn techniques to use when "designer's block" strikes, to help you come up with interesting, creative jewelry designs. We'll go over a few creative strategies that can help you create new, unique designs, then build upon your existing talents to help you continue creating more new designs down the road.

Unit 6 Designing as a Professional

  • Lesson 6.1 Creating and Photographing Jewelry Displays

    In Lesson 6.1: Creating and Photographing Jewelry Displays, you'll learn how to display your jewelry in a way that will attract the attention of potential customers. From creating attractive displays for crafts fairs and trunk shows to creating a complete photography set, this lesson will teach you the best tips and tricks of the industry for showcasing your work to potential clients.

  • Lesson 6.2 Selling Your Work Online and at Craft Shows

    In Lesson 6.2: Selling Your Work Online and at Craft Shows, we'll talk about what it's like to sell your work on Etsy and other available online marketplaces. You'll learn how to host your own trunk show and the best methods for locating and participating in craft shows around your area.

  • Lesson 6.3 Ergonomics

    In Lesson 6.3: Ergonomics, you'll learn tips for creating a work environment that will help you avoid the health problems that can occur over time when performing repetitive tasks. From building a workstation to using your tools with the proper technique, this lesson is all about the steps you should take to minimize stress on your body.

  • Lesson 6.4 Maintaining Your Creativity

    In Lesson 6.4: Maintaining Your Creativity, you'll learn more techniques for finding inspiration and creating unique designs. We'll wrap up by discussing the best strategies for overcoming a designer's creative block as well as several advanced jewelry making techniques you might be interested in adding to your skill set down the road.

Reference Library

  • When you enroll in NYIAD's Jewelry Design Course you have the option to purchase a set of physical materials to go along with your online course.

    While we are committed to always providing the highest-quality online design courses available, we recognize that many of our students would also like to receive printed lessons that they can keep on their shelves and refer back to anytime they like.

    We have created a beautiful set of brand new physical materials, filled with all of the same amazing photographs and expertly prepared course content. They are available for purchase at a cost of $250, which is due upon enrollment.

    These materials are not required to complete the course. Without them you will still have access to everything you need online.