Saturday, 30 June 2012
SST - Early Ipressions
Saturday Story Time – Early Impressions
Staying over at Nana and Papas was always a treat. The basement of their South East Calgary bungalow was quite cold, but 4 blankets later I remember sleeping quite well fully entombed under the covers. That basement was full of wonderful mysteries like my Papa’s workshop. Saws, grinders, scathes, tumblers and the most interesting of rocks. My Papa was a rock-hound and hobby-lapidary. He played with gold a bit; forging the odd bezel out of wire-stock he bought at the local rock-shop. His favorite stone was tiger’s eye. He mostly made gold-filled cuff-links, bolo-ties and brooches from B.C. Jade, agate, coral, and anything else he could scrounge from his visits to Banff, Jasper or around the world.
He passed away from a brain tumor when I was only 12, but the artisanship and love of minerals would leave an indelible impression on both my cousin and me. Somehow out of all of the jobs I applied for while finishing up my arts degree at U of A, it was a small independent jewellery store who took notice and hired me. I instantly felt in my element, even though the jewellery was much more refined than that produced by my Papa. My parents and grandmother enjoyed shopping for jewellery, and I myself had a couple of chains, and pendants, gold grad ring and had received a very sleek gold plated Seiko watch for grad. I actually still have a 70s nugget-style star sapphire ring inherited from my Papa.
Maybe jewellery is a family business, or maybe you were a great customer. Whatever the early influence, you have to really love jewellery to do well in this business. There’s nothing more duplicitous than selling something you wouldn’t buy yourself.
As some of you already know, my cousin Ken who shared many an adventure in Papa’s basement is the sales and marketing manager for Korite, and the face of Ammolite on various home shopping channels.