I went to see the Churchill movie Darkest Hour the other night and it made me think about my dad. The movie tells the story of Winston Churchill becoming Prime Minister in 1940 and having to mobilise private fleets to rescue all the stranded soldiers from Dunkirk in France across the English Chanel.
My dad was a boy of 15 and had left school and was learning Diamond setting in Hatton Gardens under the watchful eye of his father. It must have been so stressful living under the threat of Hitler attacking the British Isles.
Anyway my dad used to set the diamonds and scrape and clean all the metal to make the diamonds fit securely and beautifully. When he cleaned up he would sweep the floor for all the gold droppings and sell them back to the foundry for a few Shillings, good money for a 15 year old. He was an absolute perfectionist.
Many years later when he established a successful jewellery business in South Africa the diamond setters would shake when my dad came to collect his pieces. He would examine the setting with a 10x magnification loupe and make them redo the work until he was satisfied … I am grateful for all that he taught me!