Golden op­por­tu­nity

Master gold­smith Rob Bow­den finds ‘per­fect fit’ with Kreative De­sign

Cape Breton Post - - BUSINESS EXTRA - BY CHRIS SHAN­NON SYD­NEY RIVER cshan­non@cb­post.com

Rob Bow­den’s eyes swell up with pride when he speaks about how lucky a guy he re­ally is.

He’s been a gold­smith off and on for 34 years. His ca­reer, only in­ter­rupted by brief pe­ri­ods, has taken him across the coun­try to Yel­lowknife, Hal­i­fax and back to Cape Bre­ton. Orig­i­nally from Louisdale, Rich­mond Co., Bow­den has spent time as an ap­pren­tice me­chanic and took so­cial work in univer­sity in Regina, Sask., be­fore steer­ing a course back to his craft.

In April, he found him­self in a con­ver­sa­tion with Kim Boudreau, owner of Kreative De­sign, a cloth­ing and jew­elry bou­tique for women lo­cated in the Value Check Plaza in Syd­ney River. She wanted Bow­den to work for her.

“As soon as I walked in the store I saw this big space back here that was empty. I walked back up to the front of the store, I looked at Kim and said, ‘ Why don’t I just move my stuff in,’” he said.

Bow­den said he’s found a new level of hap­pi­ness by be­ing given the abil­ity to work in an en­vi­ron­ment where he’s able to chal­lenge him­self ev­ery day.

His favourite work is jew­elry restora­tion be­cause each piece has its own history be­hind it.

“I’ve never en­joyed this as much, well (ex­cept) when I first started you know …” Bow­den said be­fore paus­ing.

“I get up in the morn­ing and I’m just so happy to come here. Kim makes it so easy,” he con­tin­ued as tears welled up in his eyes.

He pre­vi­ously worked in re­tail at a jew­elry store for five years. The cor­po­rate side of the busi­ness left lit­tle room for orig­i­nal­ity.

Much of his time was spent re­siz­ing mass man­u­fac­tured rings and watches. He had enough.

Bow­den left his job and took a three-year hia­tus from the busi­ness be­fore try­ing to open his own shop.

He soon re­al­ized he wasn’t a busi­ness­man. He said the sight of num­bers on a spread­sheet was enough to make his “eyes bleed.”

Work as a gold­smith is com­pa­ra­ble to that of a black­smith, said Bow­den.

Though, the me­tal he works with tends to be more valu­able.

As the only forg­ing gold­smith in Cape Bre­ton, Boudreau said lo­cal jew­elry stores will of­ten re­fer cus­tomers to Kreative De­sign be­cause of Bow­den’s skills.

The only other op­tion these stores have is to send items like rings and watches away to be fixed or al­tered to places such as Toronto or even the U.S., she said.

That can be a lengthy and very ex­pen­sive process, Boudreau added.

“It’s the fact that some can have their jew­elry re­paired here as they shop or wait, at the very most, 24 or 48 hours,” she said.

And Bow­den’s proud to of­fer a life­time guar­an­tee on all items that pass across his work­bench.

He said he’s hop­ing his ca­reer lasts as long as his fa­ther, James, who re­tired at 75 and now lives in Hal­i­fax.

Many of his skills were picked up watch­ing his dad at work.

“I just love it. Some peo­ple af­ter work have to go home to de-stress. I don’t.

“This work re­laxes me. I get the mu­sic go­ing, and I have a lot of peo­ple bust me for singing my heart out back here – I can’t sing. Kim’s heard it a cou­ple of times,” he said, laugh­ing.

CHRIS SHAN­NON/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Master gold­smith Rob Bow­den works at restor­ing a diamond ring in his work­shop in the women’s cloth­ing bou­tique, Kreative De­sign, in Syd­ney River on Wed­nes­day. Bow­den be­gan of­fer­ing his ser­vices at Kreative De­sign back in April.

Boudreau

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