By definition an artisan jewelry designer creates jewelry by hand and without the use of mass made components. That means it is created from the ground up by the artisan.
Although I do not disagree, in the strictest definition, I do feel there is room for leeway. For instance a silver/gold smith who sets gemstones into a hand crafted setting is still an artisan even though they are not the lapidary stone cutter.
A craft jewelry maker is by definition someone who uses all mass produced items and simply assembles them together. For instance if a person bought a pre-made ring with a bezel to set a stone into and glued a gem into it, it would be an assembled piece.
Again I don't disagree with the definition, however leeway is important here too. There are some people who rethink how to use the components instead of using them as they come which makes them more of a artist because they have a new vision of what these components can become.
As for me, I would have described myself as being a jewelry designer and a crafter when I began my career because although I tried to make most everything from scratch, I truly didn't have the know how at the time, only a vision of what I wanted to create. But now after many years of learning and experimentation, I would describe myself as a Handcrafted Jewelry Artisan because my jewelry is made by me in almost every aspect. I do not cut my own stones or make the chains I hang pendants on, but who knows what the future brings, I am learning to silver solder now after all.
So where do you draw the line between Crafter and Artisan? I suppose it depends on you. I feel an artist or artisan is anyone who can create something out of nothing and maybe out of many things that bring forth their unique vision, After all a mixed media artist uses tons of mass produced items to create something completely new and interesting. I think the key idea here is something unique and interesting. It's thinking outside the box. You can also be an artist or even a designer and not be an artisan.
I am a self taught jewelry artist and designer. My blog is the door to all the new things I learn, the stones I use and love, the pieces I created and the events I participate in as well as my thoughts along this journey. I hope you enjoy the ride with me.