In our latest column offering thinly disguised and mainly unwanted careers advice we found ourselves where the former wilds of East London were, some time ago it must be said, meeting with international gemstone dealer, Ricky Catwell of Gemstone Cabochon. Gemstone Cabochon is an online source for semi-precious cabochon gemstones, beloved by crafters everywhere which means in an Etsy Age, sales are sky high, doesn't it?... But first, some housekeeping...
Although located in Hackney, Ricky no longer maintains a high street store, preferring to move the merch over the internet, pretty much negating our opening question altogether, although of course we're using it here anyways...
Outsideleft: Is there good parking?
Ricky Catwell: Sure. Park yourself in front of you computer, and come on in.
O: How did you get into this line of business?
Ricky Catwell: I was traveling with friends through India in the 90s and I was dragged into a jewellery shop and I've never really left.
O: How long is your typical working day?
RC: Anywhere between 6-12 hours, 5-7 days a week, depending on family commitments.
O: Do you have a favorite aspect of your work?
RC: I love gemstones and crystals. Rough gems, cut and polished gems carved gems. I love them all. Handling them every day for work I consider to be a real privilege.
O: Does your job involve any international travel?
RC: Travel is another major plus. Every year I have to go on at least one buying trip. Usually to India, but also other destinations.
O: What's the best/go to piece of equipment you enjoy using?
RC: At the moment I would have to say my brother Adrian's camera. But in all honesty, that's not much good without him. Some of the images that he has taken of my gemstones over the past 2 years have been breathtaking.
O: Do you have a favorite gemstone, maybe one you kept, or one that got away or a favorite type of stone?
RC: I have so many favorites. Labradorite was the first iridescent gemstone that i ever saw. I found it hard to believe that it was a natural product from the earth. Lapis Lazuli is where the term "royal blue" comes from, as this stone is exactly that, with gold flecks caused by Iron Pyrite or fool's gold. A spectacular gemstone.
O: Who are your favorite type of clients?
RC: The ones who buy the more unusual gems. unusual in shape as well as type. True creatives, who want to make truly creative jewellery.
O: Can you anonymously relate any horror stories without going out of business or upsetting your paranoid client list?
RC: I have none. My customers are all fantastic.
O: What are you best known for professionally?
RC: Unusual gemstones such as Amazonite and Yellow Calcite. Cut into unusual shapes. Long thin batons, trapeziums or trapezoids as the Americans like to call them. Semi circles and long thin triangles.
O: Working from home it's such a trend. If you had to set up in my house, could you do it? What would the neighbors think?
RC: Sure no problem. Gemstones are small they don't take up too much room. As for your neighbours, they will find themselves bizarrely drawn to the new aura of your home. And you will find yourself now able to welcome that once "avoid at all costs" neighbour. Its a win win.
O: Why would you say "Everybody needs their own International Gemstone Dealer?"
RC: You never know when your going to need a gemstone. Once you realise that, you'll find that you need them all the time.
O: Knowing us and the outsideleft office as you do. Can you even give me any idea of the annual/monthly/daily/hourly cost of having our own Gemstone Dealer? We really think we could do with being a little more flamboyant over here?
RC: Gem dealers are priceless, just like the gems we are fortunate enough to deal in. Ethereal in quality and notoriously hard to pin down. Only those fortunate enough to have a computer, an internet connection and the right URL, www.gemstonecabochon.com will be able to partake in its bounty.
Ricky's Gemstone Cabochon site it open 24/7 and can be found at www.gemstonecabochon.com