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My Bench

My Bench: Zoë Pook

Zoë Pook's best tip to a jeweller is to set boundaries with clients and learn when and how to say no.

Works at: Zoë Pook Jewellery, Sydney NSW

Age: 46 

Years in trade: 15

Training: Higher National Certificate in Silversmithing & Jewellery from university in London, plus learning the tricks of the trade from two London jewellers

First job: Ben Day Jewellery

Other qualifications: Expert at talking to myself when I work and thus confusing all my staff


Named after the Hindu goddess Kali, the destroyer of evil forces and liberator of souls, this ring is handcrafted in 18-carat Fairtrade white gold with Sri Lankan sapphire and Australian diamond.

Favourite gemstone:

Spinel, because it is hard, beautiful, comes in unusual colours, is underrated, not crazy expensive, and – for those gem nerds – singly refractive. My absolute favourite is grey spinel, I have way too many!

Favourite metal:

To work with, it’s yellow gold – so easy. To look at, rose gold – but what a pain in the a*se to work with!

Favourite tool:

Safety back needle file. I love the sharp edges, and it has an ergonomic feel. Failing that, a ‘whacker’ – a bent, old, drill bit that spreads the metal to cover porosity, create a nice texture and smooth out bumps.

Best new tool discovery:

Mini clamps by Tyler Brothers, Habras discs – I was skeptical at first but one of my jewellers put me onto them – Tappa Tools mini graphite ingots, or a laser welder.

Best part of job:

Tea break, and sitting at the bench chatting with everyone, weighing in on problems and finding solutions! I also quite like the peace and quiet of early evening in the studio, with the music on, working on a piece by myself.

Worst part of job:

Polishing, and managing clients’ expectations.

Best tip from a jeweller:

When stuck for design inspiration, make something you yourself would wear. Oh, and don’t under-quote!

Best tip to a jeweller:

Set boundaries with clients and learn when and how to say no.

Biggest health concern on the bench:

Dust and polishing compounds in your lungs. We have recently got some new fancy masks, which I now just need to remember to put on!

Love jewellery because:

It’s one of the oldest ways for us humans to adorn ourselves, to show our individuality or tribe, to be creative. It’s worn by everyone, old or young, from any culture.





Kunming Diamonds

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