If you’ve ever had an item of jewelry repaired at our Cambridge, Portsmouth, Portland, Newburyport, or Dover locations, you’ve likely benefited from the artistry and expertise of Alison, our lead bench jeweler. We sat down with her to learn more about her journey and how she got to where she is today.
All In The Family
Alison’s love of antique jewelry began when she inherited her grandmother’s rings. That connection between a beautiful, wearable object and the sentiment behind it is what inspires her to do her best work. When she hears the stories and familial ties behind the jewelry she’s repairing, her work becomes her passion.
The connection between family and jewelry continued for Alison when she went to college. Alison initially began her studies in Medieval History at Colby College, but after encouragement from her mother, switched her focus to jewelry design at the University of Minnesota, and immediately fell in love. It was there that she got the opportunity to take a hands on course in New Mexico learning Native American jewelry making techniques. “That cemented my love of southwestern jewelry,” says Alison.
Blazing Her Own Trail
As a woman in what had traditionally been a man’s field, Alison had to pave her own way. After her studies, she moved east and started working for a jewelry company as both a bench jeweler and salesperson. Her male counterparts took her on as an apprentice, helping her refine her natural talent. “I remember having these three guys standing behind me when I set my first diamond,” she recalls. “They were my coaches.” Through hard work and skill, Alison fought her way to becoming a full time bench jeweler.
Finding Her Niche
In 1984, she met Peter Henry, the founder of Market Square Jewelers, and began what would become a long working relationship. Peter would drop off work for Alison, and she would work at her bench at home, raising a family and practicing her craft. Although she enjoyed the focus of working alone, she prefers sharing the bench with her fellow jewelers, as she does now. “When you work alone, you don’t have someone to banter with,” she says. “It’s really wonderful to be able to collaborate…it’s how you were taught, your experience, and what you’ve done before that can make such a difference.”
Alison’s favorite part of her job is jewelry repair because “every day is different.” She especially loves the challenge of sizing patterned bands, exceeding her clients’ expectations by seamlessly blending her crafted pattern into the original. We are so grateful to have someone on our team as passionate as Alison. To learn more about the jewelry repair services we offer to our Cambridge, Portsmouth, Portland, Newburyport and Dover stores, click here.