If you’re not familiar with the term ‘professional pivot’ then the endeavours of skilled jeweller Gavin Marsh and his wife Lorraine over the past 12 months will tell you all you need to know.
When the pair returned to England in February 2020 to reunite with family, their job prospects were almost immediately banished by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing them to completely re-evaluate their plans.
Rather than dwell on their misfortune, they took it as a catalyst to fulfil their dream of working for themselves, and duly founded The Diamond Setter.
Gavin admits that while it felt like a leap into the unknown, they approached the challenge with total positivity from day one.
He says: “We dug deep and found courage, and said to ourselves, ‘the world will not sleep forever and jewellery is an anchor of memories and always present in occasions’.
“We want to be ready when the world starts to move again. We also experienced helping hands, kind words and just the cheer and encouragement from people and businesses around us. That gives you hope and keeps you going.”
The idea behind The Diamond Setter was to create an unintimidating jewellery shopping experience accessible to everyone, while promoting unique handmade jewellery, designed and made in England, focusing on skills, craftsmanship and dedication to each and every jewellery piece.
Ultimately, the Kent-based pair wanted to highlight local talent and craftsmanship, bound by their belief that jewellery manufacturers should use local talent rather than sending work overseas.
Gavin knows this better than anyone, having spent years honing his experience in Hatton Garden and working in roles that involved setting diamonds for high street brands such as H Samuel and Ernest Jones.
He continues: “Goldsmithing and stone-setting are skills that are passed on from one generation to another. If we don’t use local talent, who will?
“I certainly want my craft to be my legacy and promote sustainable production. When I started out, I was taken under the wing of goldsmiths and diamond setters in the company I worked for.
“I learnt the traditional methods of creating a piece of jewellery from raw materials and I combine those skills Iearnt through the years with the modern tools that are available to us now.
“The use of machines and computers is not unethical to craftsmanship. It aids the process but I believe traditional methods will always have a place in creating jewellery and it is important we pass that on for future generation.”
The Diamond Setter believes it can offer a valuable proposition to retailers in the UK.
It designs its own in-house range with small batches, enabling it to create jewellery sustainably and with care.
Goldsmithing and stone-setting are skills that are passed on from one generation to another. If we don’t use local talent, who will?”
Gavin describes handmade jewellery like this as a “thumbprint” because it is completely unique to its owner – and insists these qualities resonate with the increasing number of customers that now scrutinise the impact of their purchases.
The Marshes intend to launch more wedding and engagement pieces with a focus on diamonds and precious gemstones in 2021, and they are rapidly finding common ground with like-minded business.
“In autumn, we plan to launch a limited edition collection in collaboration with a business who also launched in 2020 – a celebration of light and love and surviving an arduous year,” Gavin concludes. ]
“We would also like to strengthen our online presence by showcasing variety of gemstones and featuring diamonds.”
After the challenges they have already overcome, anything is possible.
Want to know more about The Diamond Setter? Visit www.thediamondsetter.co.uk/faqs