Smithing, sawing, filing, gold and silver

What does an apprenticeship as a goldsmith look like?

You are enthu­si­ast­ic about jew­ellery and design. You have noticed that you can work with con­cen­tra­tion and are tech­nic­ally fit. You have already done an intern­ship with a gold­smith and real­ised that this work appeals to you. Then you will find some inform­a­tion about the German appren­tice­ship pro­ced­ure here.

You can do a 3.5-year appren­tice­ship with a master gold­smith. There you will learn all the prac­tic­al and tech­nic­al skills you need for the job: how to work with dif­fer­ent metals, how to saw, file, solder, forge and much more.

In addi­tion you also have to go to a craft school, which you attend weekly or in blog classes. There you will learn about the neces­sary the­or­et­ic­al sub­jects such as metal­lurgy, gem­mo­logy, math­em­at­ics, gold­smith­ing tech­niques and quite a few more and deepen your hand­craft know­ledge over time.

These are examples from the first year practical training

The additional practical skills needed

Sub­jects such as hand draw­ing, 3D mod­el­ling pro­grammes, sculp­tur­al design, design draft­ing and art his­tory are also taught there. So it's a very com­pre­hens­ive pro­gramme. 


What about apprenticeships in a goldsmith's workshop?

It is good to apply for an appren­tice­ship very early on, as only very few gold­smith stu­di­os offer appren­tice­ships. The train­ing always starts in August.

Why are there so few apprenticeships?

The reas­ons are usu­ally very simple. Often the gold­smith work­shops are only run by the owner and are very lim­ited in space.  You have cer­tainly already seen this during your visits.  But you need your own work table and your own tools. Where to put an extra table and equip­ment if there is no space? You are also entitled to a train­ing salary of between 300 and 800 euros. This is simply too high for many small work­shop owners.  In addi­tion, the gold­smith often does not have the time to teach you the basics of gold­smith­ing and to accom­pany you in your advanced work. It takes quite some effort to explain and demon­strate the neces­sary steps. Well in this time the gold­smith cannot work on the her own pieces to sell.

What can craft schools offer you as an alternative?

In addi­tion to the unique system of train­ing with a Master Ger­many also has Craft schools where you can also gradu­ate as a gold­smith. This is a per­fect altern­at­ive if you cannot find a train­ing place in a goldsmith's studio. Here, too, train­ing usu­ally starts in August. The applic­a­tion dead­lines are as early as February/March. This is fol­lowed by an entrance exam­in­a­tion on site. In the work­shops of the schools you learn about the dif­fer­ent pro­cessing meth­ods with spe­cial machines and equip­ment.  You can use all this while work­ing on your train­ing task pieces and your first designed jew­ellery objects. The draw­ing bench for wires, laser weld­ing, the muffle fur­nace and the 3D print­er are all help­ful tools. These are 'tools' that are not prof­it­able for many gold­smiths as they might not need them very often or are too expens­ive in the acquis­i­tion. The Craft school does not offer you the pos­sib­il­ity to have con­tact with real cus­tom­ers and work­ing on spe­cif­ic orders and repairs which is also a part of your job as a gold­smith with your own studio.

General information about the craft schools.

There are 5 spe­cif­ic craft schools in Ger­many where they not only offer a gold­smith course but also other craft classes – e.g. to become a sil­ver­smith, metal­s­mith or glass­maker. At these 4 school in Hanau, Kauf­beuren-Neug­ablonz, Kais­er­slaut­ern and Schwäbisch Gmünd you spend your entire train­ing period of 3 to 3.5 years on site as all the the­or­et­ic­al sub­jects classes and the prac­tic­al train­ing is integ­rated into the full school pro­gramme.

At the gold­smith school in Pforzheim, the the­or­et­ic­al and design-ori­ented part is taught during the first 2 years. After that, you have to com­plete your remain­ing 1.5 years prac­tic­al train­ing in a goldsmith's work­shop.

During the train­ing period, there are vari­ous tests which you have to pass which than allows you to enter the next year. 4-6 months before the end of your appren­tice­ship you will start with your final gold­smith task: your self-designed and forged jew­ellery piece, which you will present to the mem­bers of the Gold­smith depart­ment of the Cham­ber of Crafts.

Just a glimpse of work task pieces and personal design ideas

What opportunities do you have after you graduate?

You can now work as a Gold­smith at the work­shop or jew­ellery com­pany where you did your appren­tice ship or you can apply for a new job some­where else. As you gain exper­i­ence and con­sol­id­ate your skills, your field of work will also change. 

As in all crafts pro­fes­sion in Ger­many, there is an offi­cial fur­ther train­ing pro­gram to achieve your degree as a master crafts­wo­man. During this course you deepen your skills and expert­ise and learn the basics of busi­ness man­age­ment. The qual­i­fic­a­tion also allows you later on to take appren­ticees and to be able to train them your­self accord­ing to the german gold­smith stand­ards.

This spe­cif­ic degree class  is offered by some Cham­bers of Skilled Crafts and voca­tion­al schools in a part-time or full-time format.

Some voca­tion­al schools also offer an addi­tion­al 2-year gem-setter train­ing. This is a highly spe­cial­ised job that involves, among other things, unique pro­cessing tech­niques and a spe­cif­ic know­ledge about gems and their prop­er­ties.

Fur­ther edu­ca­tion as a 'design­er in crafts' gives you the oppor­tun­ity to deepen your design skills at some aca­dem­ic classes offered by the Cham­bers of Crafts or spe­cial study pro­grammes at spe­cif­ic Craft col­leges.

As you can see the German system offers quite a vari­ety of addi­tion­al train­ing and spe­cif­ic classes. In other coun­tries you have to sign into a Col­lege pro­gram to achieve your Bachler of Art degree.

In Ger­many learn­ing about the craft tech­niques is a very import­ant part of the gold­smith edu­ca­tion and this is why you start as an appren­tice.

If you want to get more involved in the design pro­cess or give your work an artist­ic dir­ec­tion after you gold­smith degree, than some art col­leges and design uni­ver­sit­ies offer you this option. You can find suit­able uni­ver­sit­ies in Ger­many as well as in other European coun­tries.

Pro­fes­sion: Gold­smith


apply for a 3.5 years appren­tice­ship


at a Gold­smith work­shop or

a spe­cif­ic Craft school 


you need crafts­man­ship interest, fine motor skills, con­cen­tra­tion and design ideas

WIASOLA advice:

do an intern­ship with a gold­smith or attend a goldsmith's course - then you will notice wheth­er the pro­fes­sion meets your expect­a­tions

Craft Schools:

Have a Look:

A ring design made of silver sheets and plexi­glass.

This is a tailor-made sawing exer­cise and simple sol­der­ing from the 1st semester of the gold­smith train­ing in Hanau.


WIASOLA tip after gradu­ation:

Apply to vari­ous organ­iz­a­tions (schol­ar­ships) or local craft organ­iz­a­tions (com­pet­i­tions).


In Ger­many as well as in other coun­tries the trade organ­isa­tion will offer a unique pro­gram. This is only one example:,0,792.html

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