Five minutes with: Lapidary Trainee Frankie

Posted on the 30th May 2014

Since joining the company as a lapidary trainee in February, Frankie Roberts has been learning the prestigious art of stone cutting. To find out more about what a lapidary traineeship entails, we prized Frankie away from our in-house workshop for a round of quick-fire questions: 1. How did you get the lapidary traineeship at Holts? Whilst studying at Holts Academy I saw an internship at Holts London advertised, I applied for the position and was subsequently offered the job. I was working for the company assisting the stock control and ecommerce teams when my mentor Rachel mentioned that I should start working downstairs in the lapidary for 2 days a week, because she knew I liked making jewellery. She was right - I assisted the lapidary team and I loved it (and it also turned out I was really good at it!). After that, I started doing the odd freelance job for Holts, training at the same time, and eventually I was offered my traineeship. 2. What is an average working day like for you? It’s a mixture of client jobs (the smaller ones that I am qualified to do) and developing my skills by cutting inexpensive stones. At the moment, I am practising cabochons. I’ll also run errands, I’ve started learning how to build lapidary machines and then of course, there’s making tea! 3. How long will you train for to become a qualified lapidary? An apprenticeship is five years but because I am on a traineeship it should be more like 3 – 4 years, depending on how quickly I pick up the skills. 4. What’s the most interesting job you have worked on to date [that you can tell us about]? The most interesting job I have undertaken for a client so far was faceting a square Onyx for a huge antique choker. 5. What has been your most difficult commission so far? Faceting again. It’s a completely different skill and there is so much to get your head round. Hopefully after a few years I will have honed the skill! 6. What’s your favourite part of the job? Grinding stuff down! My favourite part is using the grinders to get the shape of the stone. 7. What’s your least favourite part of the job? Polishing – it takes so long and I haven’t refined the skill just yet. 8. What’s your favourite gemstone? Opal, it’s so pretty, I love translucent stones that have a bit of sparkle.