“I’m going to need you to set EVERY mounting and finding we have for photography,!” said my boss Keith Fontenot, as he slapped down on the table every jewelry catalog we had at the time and spoke these dreaded words. Back in 1991 I had just started working at Stuller and this was my first assigned task. Back then, we didn’t have our product set and finished in print and we photographed the jewelry unset. You old timers like me, probably remember this! It took me over a year to complete that task and what a great opportunity I was given!
I arrived on the Stuller scene back in 1991 as the first production Stone Setter. Prior to that, I had been introduced to the art of jewelry making at West Jefferson High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. My art teacher Mr. Laurence Moody had offered a side course in jewelry making and I was instantly hooked, and knew this was what I wanted to do for my career. After guidance from Mr. Moody and working as an apprentice in town with some of his former students, I decided to attend Paris Junior College’s 2 year jewelry program and off I went to fully learn the craft of making beautiful jewelry. I had been in the industry 9 years before becoming Stuller’s first Stone Setter.
When my first project ended, we started building a stone setting department. I staffed and trained a small group of folks and we started setting product for our Stuller Collection catalog. Some of you will remember that. I’ll never forget an after-hours event, Matt Stuller was pitching an idea to me about offering customization services on our existing product. This was the beginning of our “Have it Your Way” program now known as our Stuller Studio services. We offered many customization choices from assembling, setting and sizing to engraving. This visionary idea changed the game for Stuller and I enjoyed the benefits by moving into management as the Director and growing the department to its glory. It was an honor to provide so many people a career path just like Mr. Moody did for me back in the high school days.
Recently, in 2010 I was asked to move into our new CAM Services as the director and build this new department and service to support our new software Counter Sketch and Matrix from Gemvision. Digital manufacturing was new for us and I was highly motivated to explore and learn CAD design and model building with 3D printing. We built our teams and worked very hard to provide the best possible service and quality to our customers, it was a tremendous challenge! I am happy to say that CAM Services has grown to be a successful business model and we improve our services every day.
As I learned this new technology I found myself dreaming and working on new concepts of making jewelry, challenging our traditional methods. This lead to an opportunity to change my career path once again! I moved into our R+D department now known as Stuller Labs to continue my work on new innovative ideas on how to manufacture and process jewelry the most efficient and profitable way. I am truly grateful for all the opportunity I have had working for the greatest jewelry company in the world and I can truly say “I love my job”! We live in a great time, with new technology coming at us a light speed, the future of jewelry making is going to change. I can’t wait to see what we come up with and what the future will bring.
*After this story was posted, Brett was promoted to director of our model department. And so his journey continues!
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