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My Bench













My Bench: Matthew Alexander Crooks

JULY SPOTLIGHT:
Matthew Alexander Crooks works hard to keep hand-manufacturing skills alive.
MATTHEW ALEXANDER CROOKS


Works at: Matthew Alexander Jewellery

Age: 29

Years in trade: 9 years

Training: TAFE

First job: Peter Grodon Jeweller

Other qualifications: Certificate III in Business Management

SIGNATURE PIECE:
 
AMARYLLIS BROOCH
APPRENTICESHIP PIECE

This was the first piece I made and designed myself, which is why it still means a lot to me. It is named Amaryllis, which means “to sparkle” in Greek and refers to a flower in the lily family.

The design took about a month to make, as each petal was comprised of individual segments, which were fit together like a puzzle and soldered. For the centre cluster I upturned an amethyst and surrounded it with yellow gold and peridots to create the bud of the flower.

This design, at the time, really stretched my skills but it was really enjoyable and taught me a lot moving forward.

Favourite gemstone:

My favourite stone is an opal, as every piece is different, and it adds to the uniqueness of a custom design. There’s nothing better than seeing the fire in a high-quality opal!

Favourite metal:

Platinum is definitely my favourite metal because of its malleability, high melting point and ability to be easily fused. I also appreciate the durability, colour and added weight that it brings to a high-quality design.

Favourite tool:

Meiji EMZ-5 microscope. Who doesn’t love seeing intricate components under high magnification?

Best new tool discovery:

I do love my laser welder.

Best part of job:

The entire creation process from start to finish: meeting with customers, creating a unique design, hand- making a piece and seeing the customer’s reaction when they open the box. I feel privileged to be able to do so.

Worst part of job:

Waiting for a piece of jewellery in the pickle.

Best tip from a jeweller:

During my apprenticeship, my boss instilled a belief in me to trust in my expertise and strive to build my problem-solving ability. When making a piece, before my boss would answer a question, I was asked what I thought. This lesson is important for custom handmade designs, as you are constantly problem solving.

This one lesson has not only greatly shaped the way I run my business but is also one of the greatest life lessons I’ve learnt to date!

Best tip to a jeweller:

Work hard to keep hand-manufacturing skills alive. A willingness to work together and cherish these skills will go a long way to building the industry and culture within Australia. This can only benefit those passionate about the trade and its future.

Biggest health concern on the bench:

Protecting my vision would be number one – I need to be able to see the finer points of a piece. But anything I can do health and safety wise is important.

Love jewellery because:

It has a deep but varied meaning to so many people. A custom piece is a creative outlet for both the jeweller and the client. If made well it can be passed down through generations as a representation of the past and a historical artefact.

 

 

 











Pink Kimberley Australia
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