Top Jeweller understands there are some things we will never part with, no matter how old or unusable. When it comes to sentimental jewellery, this family-owned business is your go-to for giving old pieces new life and purpose – which haven writer Anastasia White knows is the best gift of all.

It was without a doubt the most precious gift I’ve ever received. Encased in a small velvet box, a glistening sapphire and two small diamonds set into a silver ring.

“It was your grandmother’s,” my aunty explained when she gave it to me for my 21st birthday. “Her husband gave it to her after the birth of one of your uncles.”

The original sapphire had been lost, but the one that replaced it was a near-perfect match – a light, crystal clear blue gem that, by pure coincidence and unbeknownst to my aunt, happens to be my birthstone.

It’s funny how the universe works.

How a piece of jewellery, or even a single gemstone, can transcend generations and provide an emotional link to a family member who may have passed on – or, who you may have never even met.

So, it can heartbreaking when such an item loses its functionality. A ring that will no longer fit aging fingers or a lone diamond earring are often kept for their sentimentality alone, unable to phsyically be worn.

Jess Raeburn, manager at Top Jeweller in Tweed City Shopping Centre, says these pieces are her business’s speciality.

“People will come in with bags of unusable jewellery or dated pieces that are very sentimental, but just can’t be worn,” Jess says. “Because we can do anything from scratch, we have given new life to a lot of pieces that may have never been used again otherwise.”

It’s a family-run business on an international scale, sourcing metals and gems from all over the world and applying craftsmanship learned through generations in Sri Lanka. The designer, Sanjaya Dharmawardane, comes from a family of jewellers – his brother works in a high-end store on the Gold Coast, and their father had a jewellery manufacturing business in Sri Lanka. Hand-making the pieces, whilst somewhat of a lost art, allows Sanjaya to do more than what he could do with machinery.

“Our designer really works with the customer to achieve their perfect piece,” Jess says. “It’s hard because, as a kiosk, people don’t think we have the same capabilities as a big manufacturing company – but we absolutely do.”

The process itself is fairly simple. A customer will bring in their cherished item, or even an idea of what that might be, and Sanjaya will work with them to bring it to life – first, as a sketch, then, using the CAD computer design system, and finally into a real piece of jewellery.

“The CAD design system allows us to create a 3D image of what the piece will look like, from all angles,” Jess says. “We can see any areas that might not work or could be improved, before we even start to build the piece.”

While some of their work involves reusing what is provided by customers, Top Jeweller also keeps costs down by cutting out the ‘middle man’ by sourcing new materials straight from the traders. To create a piece, gold can be melted down, gems can be salvaged and reset, and rings can even be altered to grow with you.

“We’ve had a lot of rings turned into hinge rings to fit women with arthritis,” says Jess. “We’ve also done it the other way, where we had a girl come in to change her late grandmother’s hinged ring into a standard ring, so that she could actually wear it. She cried when we gave it back to her, because it felt the same but suddenly had this fantastic functionality that it didn’t have before.”

Visit www.topjeweller.com.au

Words // Anastasia White



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