"It doesn’t matter what you’re working on,” John Sartin says. "You need good lighting, period.” Without the right combination of lighting, you’ll risk straining your eyes, neck and back while awkwardly hovering over your work—not to mention, you could lose valuable materials that will inevitably fall to the floor and roll into dark corners. To ensure a properly lit jeweler’s workshop, think about your lighting scheme in three distinct layers:
A good overhead room light is a basic necessity. Rio Grande's Jewelry Tech Team says you’ll discover how important ambient lighting is when (not if, but when) your polishing motor grabs a ring from your hands and throws it across the room, or a gem bounces off of your bench and onto the floor. If you do jewelry work from home in a dim space like a garage, make sure to add the same overhead lighting you’d find in any other room of your house.
Next up is jewelry bench lighting. Be careful not to use a regular desk lamp for this purpose—desk lamps usually have a base that takes up premium jewelry worktop space, and they’re prone to tipping over during vigorous jewelry work like forming, sawing or filing. Instead, the best task light for your jewelry workstation should have some combination of these features:
Depending on the task, you may find that you need more intense directional light or lighted magnification. Unlike overhead and bench lighting, focused lighting is limited to a small area and floods every crevice of your close-in work with light. If you find yourself craning your neck to get a better view of your piece, consider mounting a magnifying lamp to your bench.