While other kids were playing in their backyards or watching TV, I started to pursue my passion for jewellery in the basement of our family house. Even before the age of 10, I experimented with making jewellery out of materials I could easily obtain and shape without complicated tools. I worked with horseshoe nails that the local blacksmith gave me, as well as copper and silver-plated wires and other material that I found in the basement. One of my cousins then sold the items on the weekly flea market in Frankfurt, Germany. (See portfolio)
At age15, when it was customary in Switzerland to choose between going on to higher education or entering an apprenticeship, my parents whole-heartedly supported my decision to pursue my passion for jewellery. In 1975, I started a four-year apprenticeship as goldsmith with a well-known jeweller in Zuerich, Switzerland. Max Luescher had been successful in the jewellery business for 30 years and had trained goldsmith apprentices for 20 years.
Under Mr. Lueschers expert guidance I learned the skills of customer service, and, through lots of practice working on different projects, developed meticulous attention to detail and an appreciation for hand crafted, one-of-a-kind jewellery. In his workshop I also had the opportunity to cut precious stones, which I especially enjoyed.
I complemented my practical training in Mr. Lueschers studio with classes in a trade school where I learned about the chemical composition of various materials, gems and precious stones. At the Zuerich Art School, I sculpted various smaller objects to become skilled at working with different shapes and perspectives. I also practiced sketching finely detailed drawings of jewellery so that customers can clearly picture the piece of jewellery they want me to create. I also learned the trade of diamond and precious stone setting. This now allows me to create jewellery and to set the stones, therefore providing consistent craftsmanship.
After completing my apprenticeship, I started working in jewellery sales where I quickly realized that I wanted to know more about diamonds. With that goal in mind, I went to work for one of the world's biggest diamond dealers where we sold diamonds of all qualities and sizes. To this day, diamonds continue to intrigue me because of the sparkle they add to any jewellery. (See Diamonds & Stones)
Having worked for several years, my girlfriend and I decided to take time off to travel through North America. We flew to Seattle, bought a van and covered thousands of kilometres crossing the USA. We marveled at the different landscapes and enjoyed meeting many different people. It was during that trip that I first came to Canada, and upon returning to Switzerland, I decided to come to Vancouver to experience working in another country.
In 1981, I arrived in Canada with a temporary work visa and began working for Toni Cavelti Jewellers, one of the leading jewellery companies in Vancouver. I quickly decided that I liked Vancouver so much that I wanted to live here permanently. In 1984, I opened my own studio - Gerald The Swiss Goldsmith - in Kerrisdale (approximately 10 minutes from downtown Vancouver). I ran the jewellery store and studio by myself for 12 years, during which my blue Amazon parrot, Max, kept me company and entertained my customers. From time to time, other jewellers rented space in my studio to work on their own projects; this gave us an opportunity to learn from each other's experience and to discuss new ideas.
In 1996, I closed my store/studio but I continue to work under my business name Gerald The Swiss Goldsmith. For the last years, I have rent space in a friend's workshop, which has allowed me to reduce my overhead costs and to pass some of the savings on to my customers.
Without the responsibility of managing a store and studio, I now have more flexibility to enjoy my other passion: travel. During the last few years, I have visited Switzerland regularly to see my family, and I have been to other parts of Europe, Japan, Thailand, China, South America, and even Antarctica. Traveling allows me to meet other jewelers, to find interesting gems and precious stones, and to get inspired by the many diverse cultures.
I invite you to review the photos of some of the jewellery pieces I have created over the years. (portfolio) or the more recent work (Jewellery Samples ).To purchase any of these items or to discuss your ideas for custom-made jewellery, please contact me at 604-733-0243 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to speaking with you!
On recommendation of my girlfriend, I went to Gerald the Swiss Goldsmith to redesign my dated looking engagement ring. I could not be happier with the customer service, design and quality of the work Gerald performed for me. I can say without any hesitation that Gerald is seriously one of the best jewelers in Vancouver, I only have praise for him.The ring is absolutely beautifully handmade, I constantly get compliments.
I have been pleased to be one of Gerald's loyal customers for over 25 years. During this time, Gerald has designed and made dozens of jewellery items for me including exceptional rings, bracelets, necklaces, broaches, lapel pins and watches. Gerald is a fine craftsman who takes extreme pride in his work and provides the highest level of expert advice and customer service. You simply won't find better.
I was thinking to make the big move so I went to Gerald to have a ring designed and to get some help in buying a decent size diamond that fits my girlfriend's personality. This task seemed very daunting with colour, cuts and size of diamonds. Gerald was very patient and explained the four Cs to me and came up with an exciting creation.
My girl was so happy and her girlfriends just loved the ring he made.