Jewels in the crown of diamond district
of his orders come from the local Jewish-owned Holts Group, which is shown briefly in the documentary. “People like speaking to me,” he explains. “They like that human interaction.”
It’s a throwback world — and also a male dominated one. The only woman trader featured in Diamond Geezers is 25-year-old Stutman, a bubbly blonde known as the “sweep fairy”. She stomps around in ankle boots and overalls, hoovering floors, wiping bins and cleaning sinks in the search for “gold dust”.
She also dons rubber gloves to sift for gold through packs of teeth purchased from dentists, a task that takes some getting used to, she giggles. Stutman, who has worked for her uncle’s company Presman Mastermelt for more than two years, travels across the country collecting thousands of pounds worth of gold that design studios and workshops perceive to be rubbish.
The work environment she inhabits is alien to most people of her age. She is one of the youngest people working in Hatton Garden and “the only girl on the road.
“Everything here has to be done face-to-face,” she says. “There’s that whole trust issue. People like to know who they’re dealing with.
“In a couple of weeks, I’ll be driving eight-and-ahalf hours to Penzance to pick up gold dust. I’ll drive, not have them send it to me. It’s just not how the trade works. That’s why I spend three nights a week out of London.
“It’s a tough industry. People work hard for small margins. But I love what I do. It’s rewarding to make something out of what people consider to be rubbish.”
The Birmingham University media studies graduate says that, to help her network, she has started golf lessons. “I’m probably the worst golfer in the world, but you have to put yourself out there or end up in the background.
“People underestimate me but I don’t mind that. I work hard and like to prove people wrong. But it would be nice if there were more young people.”
She bristles when fears are expressed over Hatton Garden’s future, yet concedes “it’s changing. A lot of people are having to close their workshops because rent is going up, or they are given notice. Everyone is trying to stay as close as possible, because if someone needs a polisher, all they need is to run across the road. Their whole world revolves around Hatton Garden.” Working in the industry has given Stutman a clearer idea of what she wants in an engagement ring. “I don’t look at jewellery in the same way anymore. I want someone to make it, not just get it from a retail shop.
“There’s a story behind a piece of jewellery. I don’t know many other industries that are like it. I never thought I would go into it in a million years but I don’t think I’ll ever leave. I’ll be here forever.”
Orthodox father-of-four Jonny Marks is another featured in the programme. The antiques dealer is filmed doing deals in the back of a cab.
Speaking before t r a nsmission, Leigh Stutman and Michael Lynton confess to being a little nervous about their portrayal.
“I thought it would just be something on a local channel — not ITV,” Lynton laughs. “Leigh and I are going to go and hide in a corner until this goes away.”
But the grandfather-of-two admits to more pressing worries. “My grandchildren live in Netanya and get scared when the sirens go off. We’re worried for them, for my two sons in Israel, for everyone. We just want it to end.”
He hopes Diamond Geezers will inspire “more Jewish boys and girls to come into the trade. In Jewish society it’s always about ‘my son the doctor, my son the lawyer’, but there are other things — a steady living. My pieces will live on forever.”
Leigh Stutman at the family business premises