A day in the life of a Tunbridge Wells jewellery designer

A Tunbridge Wells stalwart for more than 25 years and home to Her Majesty The Queen's Crown Jeweller, behind the distinctive timber-framed building that is G Collins and Sons lies craftsmanship and skill of the highest order

A day in the life of a Tunbridge Wells jewellery designer

A Tunbridge Wells stalwart for more than 25 years and home to Her Majesty The Queen’s Crown Jeweller, behind the distinctive timber-framed building that is G Collins and Sons lies craftsmanship and skill of the highest order

Name: Phillip Luck

Job title: General manager and designer

Where: G Collins & Sons. I have worked for Harry Collins for 22 years and have been in the jewellery trade for about 40 years. Harry has been personal jeweller to Her Majesty The Queen since 2000 and was also appointed Crown Jeweller in 2007, making him responsible for the care of the Crown Jewels in The Tower of London.

What experience do you have?

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 I had always wanted to be involved in the jewellery trade and at the tender age of 17 I walked into a very smart family jewellers and asked for a job. There was no vacancy, but the owner obviously liked me and said I could start Monday. From that day on my life changed and I was introduced to the fascinating world of diamonds and gems.  Fortunately, I was given a fair amount of responsibility early on and was soon organising stones and settings for the workshop to make. I also got to do probate valuations, often in bank vaults, and this increased my knowledge rapidly. Just like G Collins, the shop carried modern design jewellery, fine antiques and particularly Art Noveau and Art Deco. My particular favourite is the Art Deco era because of the simple lines and the quality of workmanship, but I am also drawn to the fascinating and incredible jewellers of the Art Noveau period - some of the work borders on genius.

Describe your working day

As always, my main place is on the shop floor working with customers. I spend a lot of time designing jewellery, both for sale in the shop and as individual commissions. My specialisation, apart from certificated diamonds, is with coloured stones. I shouldn't have a favourite, but I think the sapphire is the most fascinating and beautiful gem and it comes in some interesting colours. For me, nothing is more perfect than turning a beautiful natural stone of the highest quality into a perfect piece of jewellery – when you pass that on to a customer it gives me a huge sense of achievement and I know how much joy it will give for many years to come.  Increasingly, people are interested in coloured gem stone rings. We keep our prices competitive without compromising on the quality of the stone or the setting and are blessed with a wide range to choose from. In the last few years it has been rather nice as Harry's now grown-up children have come into the business and are learning fast about the many aspects of the jewellery trade from us older members of staff. So we all spend a good part of the day talking about jewellery and teaching one another – in this job you never stop learning!

What makes G Collins special?

Having been here so long, I have the privilege of seeing the children of my long-term customers coming to us for their engagement rings and special gifts. It also shows that making something of great quality and of a simple classic style is the enduring hallmark of our work. I love Christmas time. It is our busiest time but the atmosphere is exciting and it is also when many people come to us for the first time.

What do you best like about your job?

I think more than anything it is the creativity of producing something special and totally unique. I always look at the designs afresh every day, so there is always something new and a little bit different every time. I am also very proud of the incredible service we give all our customers, regardless of how much they have to spend. This legacy is the key to our success over the past 25 years and this same attention to detail and care is something that all of us, young and old, are totally committed to.

Marks out of 10 for job satisfaction?

I'd have to give it 10 out of 10. I touch the most incredible stones and, working with some of the greatest craftsmen and women in my business, get to make them into beautiful things every day.

GET IN TOUCH

G Collins and Sons

76/78 High Street

Royal Tunbridge Wells

TN1 1YB

Tel: 01892 534018