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My Bench

Troy O’Brien of Troy O’Brien Jewellery next to his workspace.
Troy O’Brien of Troy O’Brien Jewellery next to his workspace.

My Bench: Troy O’Brien

Troy O’Brien enjoys creating a range of jewellery based on animals, creatures, and marine life.

Troy O'Brien

Works at: Troy O’Brien Jewellery, Sydney NSW

Age: 46

Years in trade: 31 years

Training: Apprenticeship through TAFE Ultimo; apprenticed at Distell International with Albert, Peter Grech, and his uncle Peter Quinn

First job: Distell International, 1990

Other qualifications: 31 years of on-the-bench training, laser welding, and member of the Gold and Silversmiths Guild of Australia


I don’t have one signature piece – many pieces I have made over the years have become favourites! I do enjoy creating a range of jewellery based on animals, creatures, and marine life, and that has become a ‘bespoke’ style for the store. I hope that every piece I create for my customers becomes a ‘signature’ piece for them and an heirloom of the future.

Favourite gemstone:

Tourmaline, because of the diverse range of colours! Tourmaline is a gemstone of such high quality and diversity, from the exceptionally rare Paraìba tourmaline to the uniquely beautiful bi-colour tourmalines.

Each gemstone holds its own unique beauty and rarity, which makes them highly valued by discerning collectors. I love sourcing tourmalines and genuinely get excited by their divine colour and beauty

Favourite metal:

Platinum – the only reason people don’t use it is usually because of the higher cost but, for me, this is far outweighed by the benefits of its high lustre and longevity.

It has a nice weighty feel, giving a true sense of luxury and quality that, for me, makes it second to none.

Favourite tool:

My laser. It makes all sorts of repairs, assembly of intricate parts, welding platinum, and repairing porosity easier and is a well-valued investment in my workshop.

Best new tool discovery:

My steamer. It’s not exactly a new tool, but I went without one for many years – and now I could not live without it!

Best part of job:

This is an obvious answer, but it is honestly my customers’ joy in seeing a piece of jewellery I have created just for them. It never gets old for me.

Worst part of job:

Dealing with manky earrings, licked rings, and gross watches!

Best tip from a jeweller:

My old boss and good friend Albert Grech always taught me to expect the unexpected.

Best tip to a jeweller:

Keep the stress behind the scenes! Be patient, smile, always work hard and keep honing your skills.

Biggest health concern on the bench:

Being aware of your posture and your eyes; always take breaks and stretch your back as well as your eyes. Be careful of what you are breathing in, too. We work with many chemicals, abrasives, and polish dust, so try to protect yourself from these as best as possible.

Love jewellery because:

It is different every day. The ability we have to turn raw materials into beautiful, loved pieces that become part of someone’s life memories is a wonderful feeling.





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