Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ian's Keeping a Close Eye on a Dying Skill; in the Sixth of Our Day in the Life of Series, Looking at a Range of Jobs, Individuals and Organisations across the North East, Reporter Adam Luke Joined Bespoke Goldsmith Ian Vickers in His Workshop at Northern Goldsmiths in Newcastle

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ian's Keeping a Close Eye on a Dying Skill; in the Sixth of Our Day in the Life of Series, Looking at a Range of Jobs, Individuals and Organisations across the North East, Reporter Adam Luke Joined Bespoke Goldsmith Ian Vickers in His Workshop at Northern Goldsmiths in Newcastle

Article excerpt

BESPOKE goldsmiths are a rare breed these days.

There are only a dozen or so left in Newcastle and a shortage of well-trained talent coming through.

That means expertise like Ian Vickers' may soon become a thing of the past...but right now he is as busy as ever.

The 49-year-old, who lives in Cramlington, Northumberland, has worked at the iconic Northern Goldsmiths on the corner of Pilgrim Street and Blackett Street for 12 years. He fell into the career, having started as a North Tyneside College engineering student, but spotted a Chronicle job advert for a sixyear apprentice goldsmith spot in Gateshead.

He went onto work for businessman David Hall in South Gosforth for 16 years before making the move to his current employer.

He said: "My typical day starts at 8.30am when I get my workshop set up and my day is a mixture of consultations with existing and potential customers, and working on designs and manufacture of rings, earrings, necklaces, bangles and more.

"The timeframe is typically 10 to 12 weeks and there are follow-up meetings so I can show them moulds. It is all about being open and transparent so there are no surprises, especially on cost."

So what does Ian enjoy most about his job - other than handling diamonds worth tens of thousands of pounds on a daily basis? "I don't work for commission as money is not the important factor for me," he said. "What I love is meeting people and making jewels for them and when they are completed seeing their reactions.

"More often than not these creation are for emotional landmarks in people's lives and it is wonderful to be involved in that."

And the most frustrating element? I am so busy that it would be nice to have somebody to help.

"I have my secretary who is invaluable in keeping my diary but it would be great to have someone skilled to help me in the workshop. …

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