Appreciating the unique skills of goldsmiths

Over the past forty years, I have had the honour to work with a team of gifted goldsmiths.
In the early years, I spent a few months on the bench learning how to pour a metal ingot
and form it into plate and wire. The magic that happens when gold is soldered fascinated
me and the sudden work hardening of the metal was a great frustration. But the thrill of
bringing gold to life under the polishing wheel made it all worth-while.

Working with the most precious metals on earth is an honour and a responsibility, But it
and exceptional skills and years of dedication.South African jewellery designers and goldsmith are of the best anywhere, but, sadly, their skills are not appreciated and are totally under-valued. Skilled goldsmiths have much greater worth in cities like London, Paris and New York, and if recognized by important auction houses, their earning potential is enormous.

The making of fine jewellery, either by hand or with cad-cam techniques, requires a series
of steps from which you cannot deviate or skip any. A good goldsmith needs great
discipline, much patience and above all, superior hand-eye coordination. And if a basic
knowledge of chemistry and maths is lacking, he or she will be incapable of identifying and
rectifying problems which are sure to appear during one or more of the production steps.

Apart from the required technical skills, the master goldsmith also needs a sense of
aesthetics, proportions and beauty. Because, the worth of any jewel depends not only on
the rarity of the metal and gems it is made of, but importantly, its beauty.
An item is beautiful, when it pleases the eye, intrigues the mind and speaks of meaning to
the soul. That comfortable, warm feeling that impels the eye to linger on a precious jewel,
happens when a talented goldsmith has used good design, craftmanship and meaning.
Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, but also in the hands of the goldsmith.

The emotional and enduring value of natural diamonds and precious metals are ever
increasing, both through their rarity and their presence in the most personal of memories.
It’s one thing to look at a beautiful finished piece and admire it. But to understand it, to
recognize the meaning of the design, to appreciate the hours and hours that went into it, to
honour the people who made it and how their exceptional craftmanship –

that is truly priceless.

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