ONE MAN GOLD BAND
Wayne Jeffers stands out from the pack when it comes to jewellery design and manufacture. He’s one of a rare breed of jewellers that doesn’t outsource anything. When you talk to Wayne you talk to the person that will actually make your piece. With his offbeat charm and refusal to upsell he is a breath of fresh air in the jewellery world. So, who is the man behind the counter of Mt Eden Jewellers at 428 Mt Eden Rd.?
How long have you been in the jewellery business?
I started in 1987 when I was 17. So that’s 33 years. I used to love doing art at high school. I loved art, anything to do with art I did – drawing, painting, ceramics, Pottery wood carving, bone carving. People would say draw me something, draw me Aladdin on a magic carpet, and I could visualise it in my mind and then just transfer that onto paper. Customers will be talking to me “I saw something, it looks like this” and they’ll be like “are you listening to me” and I’m like “yeah I am, I’m drawing it in my head while you’re describing it”.
At 17 I decided I didn’t want to go on to university and someone said – “you’d be a great jeweller”. All I could think of was that I didn’t want to be like Michael Hill. The person said, “nah it’s creative, you build things and construct things” and told me to take my art folios down to the jeweller in the city. They took one look and took me on straight away. Didn’t know what I wanted to do one day, the next day I was all signed up in an apprenticeship. I didn’t get confident until I was at least 10 years in.
How long have you been in the village?
I was at Howick Village Jewellers in 2000, and it was time for a change. So, I left there and worked at a few different jewellery shops including Partridges and Carats.
John Howell who originally owned Mt Eden Jewellers offered me a full-time position, but I’d already accepted the position at Partridges just 20 minutes before His call.
I had 6 weeks until I started at Partridges, so I worked at Mt Eden Jewellers for 6 weeks and enjoyed it a lot, so I kept working there on my days off and evenings. This lasted for 10 years. John the owner kept talking about retiring so when he finally made the decision in 2010, he offered to sell me the business. I took the plunge, re-mortgaged my house, went financially back to where it was 10 years before and bought the business. I took the chance, and I did it!
Can you tell me why your business is different to most other jewellers?
I do everything. The thing about me which sets me apart from probably most other jewellers in the whole of New Zealand is I’m a one-man band. There are other manufacturing jewellers but often you’re still talking to a retail person or it’s a hierarchy type thing. Customers talk to me directly and I’m the person who is actually going to sit down and make the piece of jewellery. When it’s done, I’m the one standing in front of you presenting you your finished piece of jewellery. I don’t try to upsell I just listen to the customer and help them. I’m a million percent straight up and honest too. I’m not after a quick sale. But want long term, lifetime customers
I also handmake all my jewellery using traditional methods, I don’t use CAD to create jewellery on a computer and then cast it … that’s not handmade jewellery to me.
People come back to me again because they know whatever I say is the truth, and that ends up a long-term customer, and I’ve got other jewellers that recommend people come see me with jobs that are too difficult for them.
Do you enjoy working by yourself?
It has its ups and downs. Initially, it was a hard learning curve because I’m not a businessman, but I’ve learnt. I like my independence. I can talk to customers and have a laugh without a boss standing over my shoulder.
By looking at the display cabinets in his shop you can appreciate that Wayne is truly an artisan that delivers exquisite art through the medium of jewellery.
For more check him out here: https://mtedenjewellers.co.nz/