Apprentice jeweler Rachael Prideaux at work in Yallingup, south western WA. She feels privileged to work in a trade with such human connection.
Rachael loves her job – even though her work reduces people to tears (in the nicest of ways).
Rachael is a third-year apprentice jeweller with John Miller Design in Yallingup, WA and she has the privilege of creating beautiful, customised jewellery that’s quite literally close to clients’ hearts.
“The human connection is a very nice part of the job,” she says.
“We make personal, customised, beautiful things that people love to wear and sometimes it does create a few happy tears.”
Rachael also considers it a privilege to be under the guidance of master jeweler John Miller who has 50 years in the trade. Working with John means she gets to learn traditional techniques, some of which are fading from the trade as mass production takes over.
She says most people are intrigued by the range of skills demanded of the trade and more than a little surprised at just how messy the job really can be.
“We make beautiful things that are personal and delicate but it’s a messy job,” she says.
“We are pressing, shaping, grinding, cutting, soldering, polishing – it’s a bit like car manufacturing just on a miniature scale with tiny tools.”
With the encouragement and support of her mentor, Rachael has created her own brand of jewellery – Belle on the Bay – which she looks forward to developing in the future.