That don't impress me much

It had just been a week at Alexandre Diamond Setting School, and the nerves were running high. We were all excited to be embarking on this journey but also frightened it could come to a halt if we didn't pass test week!

We were given a set of tasks to complete, and Alexandre would assess our viability to continue for the rest of the course. There was purposely minimal tuition throughout test week; Alexandre did demonstrations but only provided remarks and brutally honest feedback, no mucking about. It was a shock and a half; the classroom was silent during sessions, bar the knocking of the air-assisted gravers going to town.

There were six of us during test week, traveling in from all parts of the globe: Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark, USA, Belgium, and then there was me from little old Perth, Western Australia!

Essentially, there were three markers for submission: use the gravers provided and engrave a near-perfect Circle, Straight Line, and a Triangle... sounds easy, right? Under the pressure and stress, it was mentally and physically training for five days straight, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a blessed one-hour lunch in between.

During lunches, we would bond over our experiences and share any little tips or comments which we may have missed, but also prop each other up as we endured test week. Sometimes you got a win, and most of the time you felt pretty down; the angle wasn't right or your hand movements, finger placement, elbows, lighting, microscope settings all played a part, and you had to get everything just right.

It took longer than one would hope; after countless circles and circles thinking I've got this in the bag, I've done this before at Standout Stone Setting Academy, but it was so different. The gravers were a slightly different shape, and every time you broke the tip, only Alexandre could sharpen them for you! After I broke my tip for the 3rd time, he pulled me up on it, and the next few test plates were shockers! 'Don't you break that graver,' I kept telling myself. I was stuck on circles for days... it wasn't until Thursday morning I completed the circle to an acceptable standard.

I flew by straight lines and then was stumped at triangles; they were slightly better, but the corners were a nightmare! Thankfully, corners weren't the point of the exercise.

Unfortunately, not everyone made it through test week; if you were deemed not ready, it was pack your bags and nice knowing you. That was a real downer, not all of us going through, but we had the best time together. For me, the stress finally lifted at 4 p.m. on Friday; Alexandre was happy with what I had produced and told me to visit his son Maxim at the tool shop.

Maxim shook my hand and said, "Welcome to the team!"



Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.