My Mission To Be A Designer Jeweller
At the age of 16, I made a firm decision to pursue a career as a jeweller. This passion stemmed from my experience in an art metal class during high school, where I discovered my love for working with my hands and unleashing my creativity. After completing my schooling, I embarked on a journey to secure an apprenticeship in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. Given the limited availability of advertised jeweller positions, I took it upon myself to approach jewellery stores personally, armed with resumes and dressed professionally.
The main street of Wagga Wagga, stretching 3 kilometres from end to end, housed all the jewellery stores at that time. My initial visits to each store came as a surprise to many, as it seemed no one had attempted such an approach before. While some individuals appreciated my efforts and acknowledged my desire to pursue an apprenticeship, unfortunately, there were no immediate opportunities available. As a young person who had mustered the courage to knock on all those doors, it was disheartening to encounter a few individuals who laughed in my face, treating my aspirations as a joke. Nonetheless, being 17 years old at the time, I held onto the belief that if I persisted, luck might eventually favour me.
During my search for an apprenticeship, internet usage was not prevalent, and my household didn't have a computer. Consequently, I relied on checking the newspaper daily to uncover any potential opportunities. Encouraged by my parents' advice to persevere, I continued my weekly visits to town, noting which shop owners treated me with kindness and respect.
For the next 7 months, every Friday, I would venture into each store where I had received a positive reception, inquiring about any chance to work in their workshop, even if only on Saturdays. Despite encountering a continuous stream of "no" responses, I resolved to take a break and stop pestering them. However, on that very day, at 5:30 PM, I received an unexpected phone call from Robert at Nicholsons Jewellers. He inquired about my well-being and clarified that his jeweller would be going on a two-week vacation. To my delight, he offered me a trial opportunity. That moment truly brightened my day and reinforced my belief that giving up was not an option.
During the two-week trial, the jeweller at Nicholsons Jewellers resigned, and I finally obtained my dream job. I dedicated several years to working at Nicholsons Jewellers. In 2001, I decided to transition into contracting work for various jewellery stores throughout the Riverina region. This change proved fulfilling as I relished the chance to design and craft pieces for a diverse clientele. Unfortunately, in 2004, the drought struck, causing a significant downturn in the luxury goods market, including jewellery. Since our area relied heavily on the success of farmers, the economic hardships they faced affected us all. That year proved particularly challenging as numerous jewellery stores owed me substantial sums of money but were unable to pay. Regrettably, I faced financial difficulties and struggled to recover my earnings through proper channels. Consequently, I made the decision to seek employment within a thriving company in the city.
Within three weeks, I had packed my belongings and secured a job as a jeweller at the renowned Cerrone Jewellers in Sydney. Although some may view this as a step backward, I saw it as an exciting opportunity to work for Australia's premier jewellery brand, offering unlimited avenues to refine my skills and create world-class jewellery. My time at Cerrone Jewellers was immensely gratifying, providing me with numerous opportunities to design and craft high-end pieces that smaller retailers could only dream of selling. Every day, I had the privilege of creating exquisite, one-of-a-kind pieces that filled me with immense pride.