Charly Haley, Published November 11 2012
It's My Job: Bench jeweler finds satisfaction amid diamonds
The 54-year-old bench jeweler has worked at Wimmer’s Diamonds since 1981, setting stones into jewelry and sizing rings. She works in a basement workshop below the 602 Main Ave. store.
What does your job entail?
My job basically here is repairing jewelry, and I set diamonds most of the time.
I don’t work so much with the customers as I do in the shop downstairs. We set up the rings, size the rings and solder them together. Any kind of repair on jewelry that you would want, we do that, too.
We’re a diamond store, so the majority of our rings are sold with a loose stone. The customer comes in and picks out a ring, and picks out a diamond to put in the ring, and I set it.
How did you get started in this job?
I’ve been doing this since 1979, since ’81 here. I like working with smaller things, with my hands, and it just seemed like a good fit for me. Walking through the mall years ago – I had a hostess cashier job and wondered, ‘What am I going to do with my life? I’m not going to do this’ – walking through the mall I saw a jewelry store with a sign in the window that said ‘expert watch and jewelry repair,’ and I walked in and asked them how the jeweler learned his trade, and they hired me to learn on the job. So, I worked there for a year and a few months, and then I came to Wimmer’s.
What do you enjoy about the job?
I like the feel that we’re an independent, not a chain store. It feels more like family, and it’s just more homey to me.
Working in the jewelry industry is basically a really happy job. The people you meet there are always in love and having excitement in their lives, or they’re coming in to buy a gift, or it’s anniversaries. It’s always an upbeat thing, and it’s just a nice business to be in, all in all.
What’s something people may find surprising about your job?
Oh, I don’t know, I’ve been around it for so long, everything is like second nature to me. But what I find surprising is when people do come in and they look at the jewelry, they see it completely differently than I do. I look at the structure and how it’s built and what it will take to maintain it through the years. But most of the time (to other people), jewelry is sentimental. It’s beautiful.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311