MEET THE MAKERS: JEWELLERY POLISHER ALEX

Hello, Alex

Can you tell us your Nickname? Tubs (my son calls me that, so I don’t take offence.

What do you do? I polish fine jewellery

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Place of birth Istanbul
Age 78
The coffee order We have a machine in the workshop, so I make a long black with two sugars.

 

What do you eat for lunch Whatever my son brings me, usually all the things I don’t like. I ask for noodles, and he brings me sandwiches, which look like they're from a hospital canteen.

 

What is your craft and how did you get into this industry After primary school, my parents wanted me to become a jeweller and pushed me to learn the art of jewellery making. I trained for one summer and realised I didn’t like it. I then tried to be a gemstone setter and didn’t like that either. I did, however, love playing with machines, circuit boards and electricity and as soon as I saw the motor on the polishing machine, I wanted to know what this machine was and how it worked.

 

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How long have you been polishing jewellery I started in 1954, and I’m still polishing precious metals now in 2018 more than 45 years in Australia. I think I’m going to work in this job until I kick the bucket.

 

Do you think you have perfected your skill/craft over the years I’d like to think so, but you’re only as good as your last job. I always take my time with each piece of jewellery I polish to make sure it’s the best result I can get. I’m lucky I found something all those years ago that I enjoy doing every day.

 

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Any tips on how to keep going in a craft industry for as long as you have It’s hard nowadays as young people have so many distractions, with all this social media stuff, which I never did back in the day. Learning a trade was common when I was growing up and almost expected by your parents. I can only say if you want to be in a craft industry it has to be for the passion and love of it because it isn’t glamorous or generally well paid.

 

Best advice Get out of the jewellery business (laughing joke!) Work hard and stay humble!

 

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What significant changes do you see happening in the jewellery industry I think 3D printing is going to become very big and probably kill a lot of handmade jewellery making and polishing due to the cost and speed of having a piece of jewellery 3D printed.

 

Is customer service vital in your line of work Its very simple “The customer is always right.” Even when a customer might be in the wrong, I will still do what they ask me to do and say “no problem”. My favourite proverb is this, "Tie the donkey where his owner tells you to." i.e. respect people’s wishes and don’t get into unnecessary arguments.

 

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What has been your most challenging job over the years and why I polished a very special 18k yellow gold diamond tiara about 60 years ago. I can't say for who (top secret) I was very young at the time, and it was very intricate with over 3-carats worth of diamonds. It took me a whole week to finish, but I was very proud of the result.

 

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How do you relax after a day of polishing jewellery? I sit with my wife on our balcony looking out to the ocean with a bottle of white wine and plate of oysters. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 comment

Bee Smith Gilbert

Loved reading the August journal.

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