These Hands belong to Santiago, our Bench Jeweller. Santiago is a passionate and talented jeweller and we feel very lucky to have him part of our team. Once a professional skateboarder in Argentina, Santiago and his wife, Eli, moved from Barcelona to Australia last year, and both became part of our NMJ family as a dynamic duo! Get to know Santiago below...
Who do these hands belong to?
Santiago, Bench Jeweller.
What is your role at Natalie Marie Jewellery and how long have you been on the team?
I've been here six months and my role at NMJ is to work with the Online Team as a bench jeweller making pieces for both online and bespoke clients.
When did you first come across Natalie Marie Jewellery?
I'd seen the brand a few times on Instagram, and when I came to Australia with my wife, Eli, from Barcelona, we arrived in Melbourne and I posted on a Jeweller's Facebook group looking for work without expecting anything, especially because at the beginning, our trip was supposed to last only 6 months! But apparently like everybody says, "you never know", and Natalie herself contact me and here we are!
Describe a typical day for you?
A typical day starts with a good breakfast before I head to NMJ to have a quick catch up with the team and see what pieces we have been assigned for the day. I’m thankful to have learned a lot of different techniques in the jewellery industry so I can take on different things, from an online piece, to tightening a stone, resize/repair and even a bespoke piece.
Most treasured piece of jewellery?
I think my most treasured piece it's the first ring I made for myself and a few years later it ended up being the first sample of my own brand. I’m still wearing it.
What is your favourite Natalie Marie piece?
Definitely the Square Signet. It’s a really classic shape and I love signets.
Other than creating jewellery, what are your other passions?
My other passion without a doubt has always been skateboarding! I have skated since I was 12 years old, the same age I was when I start my Goldsmith studies in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I skated professionally in Argentina for several years and it's something that is part of me and in a lot of ways it makes me who I am today. It is through skateboarding that I met my most important friends, got the chance to travel the world and experience moments and memories that I'll never forget.
Coffee or Tea? How do you take it?
Black coffee, no sugar.
Beach, city or mountains?
75% city, 25% beach.
What inspires you?
Cities inspire me, history inspires me, but I think you can find inspiration everywhere: skating the streets, an old encyclopedia, in a book, in a good movie.
If you could live anywhere else, apart from Sydney, where would it be?
I think it would be Rome since the first time I visited Rome with Eli, it reminded me somehow of my hometown Buenos Aires, but not aesthetically, more like the people. It also blows my mind, all the history you have walking the streets, and obviously the food!
If you were not working at NMJ, what would you be doing?
Probably working shoulder by shoulder with Eli in our personal project, a few years we started working on our jewellery project called SAR.
What are you currently reading?
The Invisible Cities by Ítalo Calvino.
Describe yourself in 5 words…
Determined, hardworking, resourceful, honest (sometimes a little too much) and observant.
What kind of challenges do you like to set yourself in life?
I think my main goal is to make a living from a personal project, work and learn to make a goal come true – as long as it’s always a challenge because otherwise it would be boring!
What advice would you give to anyone considering to be a jeweller?
Patience and determination, nobody is going to give you anything on a silver platter, if you don’t look for it! Ask, listen, watch and learn from everyone, not only teachers and enjoy the process!
What are you most grateful for?
All the people that teach me anything: my friends, my family and my wife for encouraging both of us to be on constant adventures.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Whatever you’re doing do, do it the best you can. Don’t live in the future or the past, and be true to yourself.
What is your least known talent?
I don’t forget a face, even if I’ve seen that person years ago! Sometimes is useful, but it would be better to remember all those names too haha.
What is on your wish list right now?
A trip to New York.
What is your favourite gemstone?
I love bloodstones and garnets.