Lizzie learns to… make jewellery

Written by Lizzie Macaulay

It’s pretty rare in life to get the chance to try a completely new profession. I mean, I’ve had a bunch of different jobs over the course of my career, but this month I got to jump the queue – no training, no experience necessary…

Thanks to Maryborough’s Myatt Jewellers, I got to become a jeweller for the afternoon. Pretty flash, right?!

The best bit, dear reader, is that so could you.

Innovators at heart, Bec and Geoff Myatt have started offering a unique experience from the stylish studio above their shopfront. Members of the public can come and spend a few hours creating a piece of their very own.

We’re welcomed with such warmth and good humour that the tone is set for a cracking experience. Certainly, Geoff’s patience and natural charm sets you at ease, alongside his 20+ years’ experience in the trade.

Geoff shows us the small bar of silver that we’ll be creating a ring out of. It’s hard to correlate its current form with where it’ll end up, but Geoff assures me that with a bit of coaxing, this matte, square thing will end up as a shiny round thing by the time we’re done.

We start by passing the metal through what can only be described as the precious metal equivalent of a pasta maker. I’m concerned I’m going to be responsible for drawing Geoff’s fingers into the heavy rollers as he assists me, but he kindly assures me, “I know where my fingers are.” So I relax and concentrate.

Now our metal is flat, the next step is to heat it, make sure the ends are straight enough to make a join and bend into shape.

Once it’s a circle, we take it back over to the delicate torch to solder. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch the solder heat up and then vanish between the two ends to close in the ring completely.

The silver looks a little rough now that it’s been heated, so it’s time for some filing to clean it up.
Geoff demonstrates what looks like a fairly straightforward job, and somehow my hands simply don’t do what his do (perhaps it’s the 20+ fewer years of experience?)

Geoff very patiently demonstrates a few more times what I’m to do and as simple as he makes it look, I’m preoccupied by the fact that what I’m doing simply doesn’t look like what he’s doing.
Then it hits me… he’s left-handed!

Everything makes a bit more sense from then on as my confusion dissipates and I simply get on with the business of filing, sanding and polishing my creation.

I haven’t done anything like this since Design and Tech in high school (all those years ago). I liked it then, and I really like it now.

There’s something really special about being able to create something using skills you would think were only available to a select few.

Geoff and Bec have found a way to bring jewellery making to everyone… It’s simpler than you think and genuinely a lot of fun.

As I put the final polish on my beautiful creation, my hands blackened, my heart happy, I’m already thinking of what else I could make.

The good news is that this class isn’t their only offering, and I can come back for another round of creating with Geoff – and I’ll probably bring Mr Lizzie Learns along next time, as I know he’d love it, too.

While Geoff has clearly got nothing to worry about in the competition stakes – I’ll not be opening up my own jewellery business any time soon – he’s certainly got a fan.

What a wonderful concept. What a wonderful way for friends to bond, or couples to do something nice for each other, or for anyone to simply expand their life experiences and create something beautiful that has a story.

I can’t wait to show off my ring and tell people, “I made that.”