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My Bench

My Bench: Ryan Haddrell

Ryan Haddrell enjoys helping a customer create their dream jewellery piece.
Ryan Haddrell

Works at: Clayfield Jewellers, Brisbane, QLD

Age: 42

Years in trade: 25 years

Training: Four-year apprenticeship, and 21 years of learning every day.

First job: Hungry Jacks kitchen hand! My first job in the jewellery trade was as an apprentice training under Mal Gray at Richardson’s Jewellers, then Doug Morris Jewellers shortly after.

Other qualifications: Gem setter, CAD designer, laser operator, and karate black belt


This piece is a favourite of mine. It’s a platinum solitaire engagement ring set with a 1-carat oval-cut diamond and 20 smaller diamonds in the band. I really enjoy it because the setting gives the ring a great look – maximum sparkle with minimal metal.

It features a flow-up style band, micro-set shoulders and arrowhead claws. I used our laser welder for soldering to fuse the metal with no pitting or dragging from the joints. To create the micro-set shoulders, I used a twist drill, fissure burr, ball burr, hart burr and saw frame. It lives up to the name ‘Simple Sophistication’.

Favourite gemstone:

Parti sapphire because I love the beautiful combination of colours – greens, yellows, blues, etcetera, mixing together to create very unique looks.

Favourite metal:

18-carat yellow gold. It’s very easy and ‘friendly’ to use; it’s great for drawing wire and forging. Simple to solder. I also love the yellow colour of 18-carat gold.

Favourite tool:

Laser welder. It gives me abilities that I would have loved to have had in the first half of my career. I handle heat-sensitive stone with much more ease than in the days of soldering in a sand pit.

I can pinpoint solder 0.4mm spots in very awkward positions in seconds. I also do not use binding wire any more and can tack things together very quickly with no tongs or tweezers.

Best new tool discovery:

X-ray scanner. The days of acid testing are over and it’s awesome to get a fast and accurate breakdown of exactly what is in the metal I am working with.

Best part of job:

Being creative and getting to help people in our own way, such as helping a customer create their dream jewellery piece from an idea or old gemstones – that could mean the world to them. Or, on a more practical note, cutting a customer’s ring off to get back some blood flow!

Worst part of job:

Sitting down – a lot.

Best tip from a jeweller:

Measure twice, cut once.

Best tip to a jeweller:

Plan your work. Get all the numbers and information on paper before you start a complex project and never assume details, where possible.

Biggest health concern on the bench:

Eyes and lungs. There are lots of hot and sharp things that can go into your eyes, so wear eye protection please! For lungs, we must concern ourselves with mainly polish dust and plating fumes. It’s essential to wear a good quality mask.

Love jewellery because:

It’s art. The vast possibilities of what you can create when you try to master an art form is very fulfilling.





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Preview - 15/10/2020