I’ve been making jewellery for over 20 years now. I got started in the trade whilst I was still at college. Like most teenagers I was unsure what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and had considered many career paths. I was about half way through a Btec, in Business and Finance, and was beginning to think about trying to find employment. Whilst trying to think about the kind of work I wanted to do a family friend, who was a jeweller, offered to let me go to work with him for the day. I was unsure at first as I had never even thought about being a jeweller before and had absolutely no idea what the work would entail, I had also never thought of myself as a craft or art based person and had stopped doing those kind of subjects when I started my G.C.S.E’s.
When the day came I was nervous and unsure what to expect. When we arrived he led me into a fairly small workshop with a few benches and various pieces of equipment. He then sat down with some silver and proceeded to show me how to make a simple chain, I was intrigued and also very nervous when he handed me some silver, sat me down at a bench and told me to have a go.
So I sat there and did what I had been shown and to my surprise not only did I make a small silver chain but I also really enjoyed it and wanted to learn more.
He was more than happy to show me how to make a few simple rings and by the end of the day I'd made my first 4 rings.
Unfortunately as he worked for somebody else he was unable to offer me a job but as luck would have it he bumped into an old work colleague who mentioned he was looking for someone to take on as a trainee and the family friend was more than happy to recommend me for the job.
I initially started doing work experience on Saturdays whilst I was still at college but as soon as I finished my course I started working full time.
I spent 5 months working full time learning how to make various pieces of jewellery, how to carry out basic repairs and how to polish but due to financial difficulties my employer had to let me go.
I was unable to find anyone else who wanted to take on a trainee so I had to seek employment in other areas but during this time I kept making jewellery on my bench at home.
In the year 2000 I found myself unemployed again and decided that I really wanted to get back into the jewellery trade. So I started looking for jewellery making courses. It was then that I came across the School of Jewellery in Birmingham, part of the University of Central England.
After receiving a prospectus I applied to do a national diploma in precious metals and gemstones and 3 weeks later I moved almost 200 miles north to start the 2 year long course.
Whilst there I was taught many techniques and made a wide range of jewellery. I enjoyed the course very much and was happy to gain a merit grade. During my time at the School of Jewellery I also won a British Jewellers Association award for my jewellery, The Baxendale Award.
3 months after completing the N.D. I began my degree in Silversmithing, Goldsmithing and Jewellery design which I have just completed with a second class honours degree.
Since becoming self employed I have attended craft fairs and show across the south of England as well exhibiting in galleries and selling my work around the world.
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