Earlier this year I took on my first apprentice diamond setter, Shannon Knight, with the assistance of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) and sponsorship from the Cambridge Satchel Company.
It was with QEST assistance that I first learned micro pave diamond setting; a skill which has proven invaluable and has helped me to establish a successful business as a designer goldsmith.
QEST funding early in my career enabled me to spend several months in Antwerp with a master diamond setter learning this specialised technique; setting diamonds as small as 0.5mm in diameter under a microscope. Micro pave setting has now become a defining design feature of my own work and is also a service I offer to other jewellers here in London.
It’s wonderful to have this new opportunity from QEST which will allow me to pass on these skills to Shannon. There is currently a shortage of skilled diamond setters in the UK – partly as a result of skills not being passed on due to a lack of apprenticeship opportunities. I strongly believe in the ethos of having an apprentice and I hope Shannon will be the first of many. My long term goal is to provide a specialist setting service to the UK jewellery trade. Training skilled apprentices is central to this.
Shannon is one of several apprentices currently funded by QEST. They will all meet soon at the Royal Warrant Holders annual luncheon where QEST will present certificates to all of the apprentices.
In the short time she has been with me Shannon has made excellent progress. She will be trained in micro pave diamond setting, along with other styles of setting during the course of the apprenticeship. Keep an eye out for further diary updates to see some of the pieces she has been working on.