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A Gem of a Job

December 2022

It started in Year 10. Jewellery making in Design and Technology opened Chris’ eyes to working with silver when he had the opportunity to create silver rings and pendants. Fossicking for gems on holidays near Emerald, western Queensland, cemented his commitment to jewellery making and for his Year 12 Design and Technology project Chris designed and manufactured a series of rings and pendants which highlighted the special gems he had found in the field.

“I really enjoy the challenges of jewellery manufacturing, the creativity of the process. Working on my Year 12 major project was inspiring and once school had finished I was fortunate enough to do some work experience at Epica Jewellers in Forsyth Street, which led to an apprenticeship in jewellery manufacturing.”

What have the last 1 ½ years looked like as a jewellery manufacturing apprentice?

I go to TAFE once a month to learn skills and techniques which supplement all the things I see day to day in the Epica workroom. At Epica I started doing some cleaning and polishing and doing some simple repairs. It has been exciting as my skills have developed I have been able to make some plain wedding bands.

What is TAFE like?

Enmore TAFE in Newtown, Sydney, is an Arts TAFE and has a massive workshop which is fantastic. All the TAFE teachers work in the industry which ensures all the learning is very relevant and there is always industry specific help available. The course teaches all the basics of jewellery manufacturing such as rolling out metal, setting stones and using equipment such as saw frames.

What excites you about jewellery?

To be honest it was a bit scary at first working with such valuable resources. Melting down gold is something that is now just part of a normal day at Epica. There is such scope for design and creation in jewellery manufacturing; there are so many different ways of doing things and it is just great to be able to learn from Jake and Caleb at Epica. They are so supportive and have a great deal of knowledge which they are keen to share.

What does the future hold?

I’m looking forward to growing my skills so that I can start creating some of my own designs, some more intricate rings and learn to set stones. I look back now on my major and can see all the improvements that I could make.

Is Jewellery Manufacturing the career for you?

Here are Chris’ tips if you are considering taking up a jewellery apprenticeship.

Are you . . .

· Good at problem solving

· A keen eye for detail

· Ability to work independently

· A creative streak

· Not afraid to get your fingers dirty

Jewellery Manufacturing may be the job for you!

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