Jew­els in the crown of di­a­mond district

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.