Meet the youngest silversmith in our workshop, Johan. Born on the cusp of the new millennium, he’s part of a generation known for their openness.
A 20 year-old man not only open to new knowledge, but also actively seeks it. I can feel Johan’s joyous exploration in the art of smithing during our short conversations by phone.
Given how hard Indonesia has been hit by this global pandemic, Johan started the call by expressing his gratitude for his health and his job.
He told me a little about his life, before joining our team in early 2019. Johan studied automotive engineering in a vocational secondary school.
After graduating, he helped his parent’s business at home, a small welding workshop. Not long after, Joko, another curious soul and a long time friend who pours his heart into his work, asked him if he was interested in becoming a silversmith.
Apri, our master goldsmith, trained him on silversmithing 101. But the person who guided him through and through was his friend who invited him. Joko continued to help Johan during his first three months of apprenticeship.
Johan observed the way Joko crafts jewelry and learned from that. It’s beautiful to see how Apri passed on his knowledge to Joko all those years ago, and as Joko mastered the art himself, passed his skills on to Johan.
From the way Johan talked about Apri, I can sense his huge admiration towards Apri. “Pak Apri never gets tired of motivating me. Even when he’s super busy, Pak Apri would still find time to help me.” He said.
He told me that one of his favorite things about the workshop are the people. “Even though we work on each piece individually, we still help each other. The team is so humble and generous.” His big brothers nurtured him, and made a comfortable workspace for him to grow.
These are some of the people who makes sure you receive only the best quality jewelry. You've already met Apri and Joko, and now you're getting to know Johan better! Stick around and eventually you'll meet all the incredible metalsmiths that we work with.
Johan admitted it wasn’t an easy ride at the beginning. Like many of us, there were times when he felt like he should give up. One of the most frustrating moments for him is when the rings he made was returned to him, as it hadn’t passed quality control. I’m sure we’re all familiar with that feeling. But he’s a determined person, and he persisted. He learned from his mistake, and tried again. “I’m still here now. And I think I’m doing a lot better!” he said to me.
Silversmithing is fiddly work! The bezel setting is one that's gorgeous to look at, but requires meticulous work to make sure it grips the stone strongly.
For Johan, the most challenging yet exciting part of jewelry making is putting the stone into the band, especially with the open bezel setting. “It’s a longer process compared to other settings.” This open bezel setting requires you to form the metal around the stone snugly in strategic corners.
It doesn’t go completely around the stone like a traditional bezel. With different shapes and sizes, you need to be extra careful and precise, or the metal becomes uneven.
When I asked how he finally got the hang of it, he said “I would ask around, take my colleagues’ advice, and just keep making them.” A living proof of the Indonesian proverb ‘Bisa karena biasa’ meaning, when you frequently do things over, and over again, you’ll eventually be able to master it.
I asked him about his goals and dreams. “Of course I do! I want to have my own house, because I still live with my parents now. I’ve got some savings put aside. I don’t know when it will happen, but dreaming big pushes you to do more, right?” I could almost see his grin through the phone, and it felt infectious.
Johan has ambitions to make his way to working with gold. “It’s a must! I hope eventually I can work with gold. I have to learn all the craftsmanship in jewelry making.” After a short conversation about his dreams and all the things he wanted to achieve, he wrapped it up by saying, “let’s keep working hard and not give up, shall we?” and that put a smile on my face. Told you it was infectious.
Psst. If you happen to wear one of his works of art, he hopes you’ll treasure and look after it with great care.
Johan refuses to pick his favorite piece as he enjoyes all the process. He's currently working on our silver jewelry, while he learns the skills needed to become a goldsmith.
Check out our collection of silver jewelry, and bask in the love our silversmiths pour onto those special pieces.