pearl people

Will Grierson - Jeweller

Will Grierson - Jeweller
Tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised here in Western Australia. Whilst at school, becoming a Jeweller wasn’t something that crossed my mind so after graduating I started a degree in Sports Science. It wasn’t until I had a gap year that I discovered jewellery making. Since then I haven’t looked back!

I love being able to work with precious metals, pearls and other gemstones. All of them have different qualities that make them fun to work with. I also thoroughly enjoy working with people, being creative and getting to work with my hands.

Outside of jewellery, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

As a Jeweller at Willie Creek Pearls, what does your job entail?

I have a workshop set up in the Elizabeth Quay showroom, Perth. From there I work with clients to design and create wonderful pieces of jewellery. I like to start off with a meeting to get to know my clients and brainstorm all of their ideas. Then the design process begins, eventually leaving the client with a bespoke piece of jewellery.

I also set our beautiful Australian South Sea Cultured Pearls, repair our customer's much-loved pieces, ring resizing and adjustments, and hand-making limited edition pieces for the store.

Can you tell us about the process you go through to create a piece of Jewellery

For me, the whole process starts with the pearl. Its shape can dictate the type of piece (i.e. ring), whereas the colour of the pearl can influence what colour metals to use. Next, I brainstorm ideas in a sketchbook, rough scribbles at first, until I am set on an idea.

From there I collect the raw materials I will need and start the project. Firstly forming the metals using different manipulation methods that I have acquired throughout my career.

And finally adding in any precious gemstones, and of course, one (or more) of our world-famous Australian South Sea pearls.

What is my favourite thing about working with pearls?

My favourite thing about working with pearls is that each pearl has its own story. They are all different colours, sizes, shape, grades and lustres. Each with its own unique potential. Over the years of working with pearls, I have learnt to appreciate them in a whole new light and still get excited when I receive brand new pearls that we have nurtured, produced and harvested from our Pearl Farm in Broome. Last year, the pearls we harvested were the best pearls I've ever seen.

Do you have a favourite piece of pearl jewellery?

Depends on what day it is! It tends to be the piece I’ve just finished. That said, there are two particular designs that come to mind. One that I recently finished for a client that gave me a lot of creative design control over their Keshi pearl and diamond ring. My other favourite piece was a ring that I created for a jewellery competition at the start of my career using a large pearl and mixed metals (below).

What about your favourite pearl type?

I really love Keshi pearls and baroque pearls. They come in many different shapes and sizes which inspires unique designs. When handcrafting a piece of jewellery with these pearls, I get to challenge my creative side.

How did you become a jeweller and how long did it take?

It was during a gap year where I discovered my passion for jewellery. I enrolled at Central Tafe doing two silver jewellery short courses, after which I wanted to learn more. From there, I got an apprenticeship which took four years to complete. Throughout my apprenticeship, I was given the opportunity to work with and be mentored by some of the most respected and talented jewellers in Western Australia. After completing my apprenticeship, I continued my training with a small family business to refine my skills. It is a vast industry and there is always more to learn. Now I am working for Willie Creek Pearls and loving it!

What qualities do you think a jeweller needs to be successful?

I believe a jeweller needs to have,

  • Patience, there are many things that can go wrong and sometimes the materials don’t play nice.
  • Attention to detail, analyzing each piece with a critical eye to ensure the best results for the client.
  • Creativity, without it all pieces would look the same!   
  • Problem-solving skills, especially when a client brings a piece of jewellery in for repair. It isn’t always a straight forward fix and a Jeweller needs to think outside the box.
  • Passion, this is what drives Jewellers. There can be challenges you face as a Jeweller and the want and need to create something beautiful keeps us going!

What is the best part about your job?

I love meeting new people each and every day. The meetings I have with clients fuel my passion for jewellery, and the more I learn about the client, the more creative I can get with their designs. Getting to deliver the finished product to clients and seeing their reactions is hands down the best part of my job. 

What is the toughest part of your job?

When your job is mostly about making people happy, I wouldn’t say there are many parts of my job that are ‘tough’. As a Jeweller, we want to give each and every piece our full attention, and finding a balance of time spent on a piece can be challenging, especially during peak periods like Christmas.

What is the most surprising thing you have learnt about pearls?

I found the farming process most surprising! I never knew how much work our talented team in Broome put into each oyster to produce a pearl. I would highly recommend going to our Pearl Farm in Broome or our Elizabeth Quay showroom and finding out more from our knowledgeable staff.

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