Nickname: Tubs (my son calls me that, so I don’t take offence)
What do you do: Jewellery polisher
Place of birth: Istanbul
Coffee order: I make my own coffee, milk with no sugar in the workshop.
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 have been purchased 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 really pushed me to learn the craft of jewellery making. I trained for one summer and realised I didn’t like it. I then trained 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.
How long have you been polishing jewellery: I started in 1954 and I’m still polishing precious metals now in 2018 more than 45 year in Australia. I think I’m going to work in this job until I kick the bucket, but honestly there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.
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 job to make sure it’s the best result I can get. I’m lucky I found something all those years ago that I really enjoy doing every day, so I put 100% effort in to every piece of jewellery I polish.
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 craft or skill set was very normal 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 easy.
Best advice: Get out of the jewellery business (laughing joke!) Work hard and stay humble!
What big 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 really important 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 just say “no problem”. My favourite proverb is tie the donkey where his owner tells you to i.e. respect people’s wishes and don’t get into unnecessary arguments.
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 the tiara was large and very intricate. It took me a whole week to finish but I was very proud of the result.
How do you relax after a hard day in the workshop: I sit with my wife on our balcony with a bottle of wine and plate of oysters watching the sunset.