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My Bench

My Bench: Rick Southwick

Rick Southwick has a fondness for green tourmalines.
Rick Southwick

Works at: Rick Southwick Bespoke Jewellery, Sydney NSW

Years in trade: 45 years

Training: Trained under Graham Whitehead in London and Rob Gardner in Sydney

First job: Lambert & Freed, Sydney NSW, 1978

Other qualifications: Blues guitar


There are three divergent design elements I have combined in this ring. Firstly, and the core of the design is Victorian scroll work; second, and less obvious, is a subtle Egyptian touch with my interpretation of the god Anubis in the shoulders; and thirdly – and even less obvious – is the Louis XV furniture leg. The reversed leg features prominently in another of my signature styles.

Favourite gemstone:

I do have a fondness for green tourmalines, especially complemented with diamonds as they bring the rich, earthy colour to the fore.

Favourite metal:

It has to be platinum, which is a formidable metal but once understood can be turned into sculptural works with sweeping sharp edges and a clean, bright, natural white colour.

Favourite tool:

Saw frame. I believe it to be a jeweller’s most important instrument and once mastered – I spent a full seven months training on it in London – allows for greater technical and creative depth.

Best new tool discovery:

The Osada Micromotor Drill. You have total control over speed variations, allowing delicate work that is difficult to achieve with confidence on a standard flexible shaft drill.

Best part of job:

Designing and creating jewellery. Full stop.

Worst part of job:

Creative block – it’s like walking through a desert!

Best tip from a jeweller:

I had two mentors – Graham Whitehead in London and Rob Gardner in Sydney – who both instilled in me that designing and creating jewellery is a holistic experience.

When applicable, allow a design to evolve while creating it. That freedom is liberating.

Best tip to a jeweller:

Find mentors who have the skills you want to learn, even if that means going halfway round the world and walking door-to-door to find them!

Biggest health concern on the bench:

Posture is a key to longevity. The bench is an extension of the jeweller, so it should be ergonomically set up for ease of use and fluidity.

Love jewellery because:

It has given me a career spanning the globe, learning Victorian jewellery-making skills in London and the intricacies of style and proportion in Sydney, and has led me to tapping into my own ‘creative well’.

I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.





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