Exploring 47 Years of Artistry with Master Jeweller Gary

gary at his bench

QUICK LINKS: 1. Early Beginnings: Transition from Watchmaking to Jewellery | 2. The Rise of Jeweller Apprenticeships in the 1980s | 3. The Art and Scope of Silversmithing: Beyond Mere Jewellery | 4. The Grit Behind the Glamour: Realities of Jewellery Making5. Masterpieces and Memories: Iconic Creations from the Bench | 6. The Love of the Craft: Personal Favourites and Professional Advice |

Let’s take a glimpse into the remarkable journey of Gary Martin, a master jeweller whose passion for precision and craftsmanship has shaped nearly five decades of bespoke creations. Gary’s bench is a treasure trove of secrets, each piece holding a unique story waiting to be told. What mysteries does his jewellery bench hold, and what adventures will he share?

Early Beginnings: Transition from Watchmaking to Jewellery

Gary’s journey into the world of jewellery-making began 47 years ago with a passion for precision. “I wanted to be a watchmaker,” he reminisces. “But when electronic watches flooded the market in the late 70s, traditional watchmakers became a dying breed.” So, at the tender age of 16, Gary bid farewell to his school days on a Friday, only to dive headfirst into a jeweller apprenticeship come Monday.

Close up wristwatch and brown leather belt on wood table

The Rise of Jeweller Apprenticeships in the 1980s

He remembers that first year at trade school, “We were the first ones to get a jeweller apprenticeship; back then, you just had on-the-job training.” Gary reminisces, “We only had 12 people in the class, a mix of family connections, like a son whose father was a jeweller, and half of them were new to the industry, like me. But the eighties saw the jeweller’s apprenticeships boom!”

Gary the jeweller

The Art and Scope of Silversmithing: Beyond Mere Jewellery

Gary shares some old-school insight with a nugget of jewellery knowledge: “You know, being a silversmith wasn’t about making jewellery back in the day,” he explains. “It covered everything from crafting silver plates and plaques to shaping urns, vases, and all sorts of fancy stuff.”

Jewellery maker working in workshop crafting homemade silver vase.

The Grit Behind the Glamour: Realities of Jewellery Making

You might assume that life as a jeweller is all glamour and glitter, but Gary knows better. “It’s a dirty job, quite literally.” But amidst the grit, the noise, the flames and blackened hands, there are moments of pure magic. Like when he turns a bar of metal into a bespoke ring mount, or when he puts the finishing touches on a masterpiece after weeks of work. And seeing the joy on his customers’ faces when they see his creations? That’s the real magic of it all.

jewellers torch on jewellery

Masterpieces and Memories: Iconic Creations from the Bench

As Gary works, he recalls the stories behind each piece he creates. He remembers a jaw-dropping $640,000 pink diamond ring that he crafted for a New York customer. “The client just wanted the diamond, and as soon as it reached its destination, they cut it from the ring,” he laughs. “But hey, who am I to judge? Diamonds are a jeweller’s best friend.”

The Love of the Craft: Personal Favourites and Professional Advice

One thing keeps Gary returning for more: the love for all things shiny. Gary loves to handcraft unusual and unique pendant and brooch designs and while he loves diamonds, he prefers the cool tones of Aquamarine. And as for emerald rings? Gary shakes his head with a knowing smile. “Stick to pendants and earrings if you love emeralds,” he advises. “They’re much safer that way, as emeralds are notorious for cracking or chipping when knocked about in a ring.”

gary working on jewellery

Gary reflects on their journey through the decades. “It’s been quite a ride,” says Gary with a warm smile, “There is always something different coming my way; that’s the beauty of custom-made jewellery; it’s not all the same cookie-cutter designs.” So, what are Gary’s final thoughts about the life of a Master Jeweller? “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

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