Trevor is one of the longest serving employees at Deakin & Francis, having worked for the brand for 35 years. After leaving school Trevor applied for a job as a ‘polisher’ and was surprised when on his first day he wasn’t asked to polish any shoes! The craft of polishing, known in the trade as finishing, is the process of taking a piece of jewellery from its rough handmade state, to a smooth shiny piece ready to be shown and sold to the customer.
‘At my first job I finished bracelets. Since then I have worked on a wide range of jewellery from cufflinks to a tiara set with diamonds.’
As one of the few British jewellers that still have a finishing department in house, Deakin & Francis use modern day technology and traditional tools to ensure each piece of jewellery leaving the workshops has been finished to the highest standard.
‘There are a few processes involved in finishing. Firstly I use a modern magnetic barrelling machine to clean in the places hard to reach by hand. I then use a grease mop to cover the piece of jewellery in grease as a prepping process, before using a traditional spinning rouge mop, to give the jewellery a glowing finish. Finally the jewellery is dipped into an ultrasonic solution before being passed on to quality control.’
The most challenging process for Trevor is the greasing. ‘If you don’t get it right, the final finish will be inadequate.’
The most enjoyable aspect for Trevor is seeing the finished piece. ‘It’s very rewarding to see a piece of jewellery after it has been finished. When it comes in to me it can often be dull and occasionally scratched, especially if it has been engraved. Once it has been through the stages of finishing the change is astonishing. I occasionally work on peoples wedding rings which they haven’t taken off since their wedding day. They’re very surprised when I give them their ring back, they often can’t believe that it isn’t a brand new ring!‘
As well as finishing Trevor also has an eye for detail and there’s a running joke in the office that quality control starts with Trevor! ‘I won’t finish a piece of jewellery if it’s imperfect. If I spot an issue it goes straight to quality control who will decide whether it can be repaired. Working for a big brand like Deakin & Francis means everything has to be to the highest standard so if it’s not perfect, it’s not getting through!’