From the Bench to the Sea

In high school, I discovered my passion for metalsmithing, a craft that would shape my future in ways I never imagined. While most teenagers were flipping burgers or bagging groceries, I found myself in two very different worlds: working as an assistant bench jeweler and at a local fish market in Portland, Maine.

As an assistant bench jeweler, I delved into the intricate art of jewelry making. I had the great opportunity to learn how to work in gold and a boss that trusted me enough to work with such valuable materials. I loved getting to the store early to set up the display cases and blast "Bulletproof" by La Roux as I started my day.  The rest of the day would be filled with more "classy" music for our sophisticated clientele.  Each day brought new challenges and opportunities to hone my skills, preparing me for a future in the jewelry industry.  

Contrasting sharply with my work at the jewelry store was my job at the fish market. Here, I traded in my jeweler's tools and fancy outfits for a rain boots and a pair of rubber gloves. The days there were long and tiring, and the smell was less than pleasant, but it taught me the value of hard work and humility. I loved that everyone goes to the fish market.  You meet such a variety or people that it was rarely boring.  It was a stark contrast to the delicate artistry of jewelry making, but it taught me lessons that would stay with me for life.

Despite the differences between these two jobs, they both played a crucial role in my journey. The discipline and attention to detail I learned as an assistant bench jeweler laid the foundation for my career in jewelry making. Meanwhile, my time at the fish market taught me the value of hard work and perseverance, lessons that would serve me well in my entrepreneurial endeavors.

I'm incredibly grateful to my high school self for making the investment in metalsmithing supplies with the money I earned from these jobs. Without that initial investment, I wouldn't have been able to start my own jewelry business. It's a reminder that sometimes, the smallest decisions can lead to the most significant opportunities. And so, I continue to embrace life's contrasts, knowing that each experience, whether in the jewelry store or the fish market, has shaped me into the jeweler and person I am today.

Photo: My high school senior photo

No photo description available.