Ruben Narvaez Medlars Jewel Masters Jeweler
When he was 16-years old he was getting into
a lot of trouble. Fortunately, an older friend and mentor came to him
and offered him an opportunity to work at his jewelry shop and learn a
trade. So, Ruben became an apprentice and during that pivotal year, he
fell in love with the whole process of making jewelry. Working it,
shaping it, forming it into something beautiful. After a year, he asked
the owner if she could pay him something. Unfortunately, they were not
able to pay, so he had to leave and find some income. But, he knew
creating fine jewelry was his passion. He found an entry level
position as a jewelry finish polisher. He was fortunate to work
alongside some talented jewelers. Each day, he would watch what they
were doing, ask questions, and polish. He was patient because he knew
that the skills to become a jeweler take time and practice.
Breaking a gemstone is a jeweler’s greatest fear. In fact, Ruben didn’t start stone setting for about 10-years into his training. Then he got a job with a manufacturing company that did nothing but set synthetic cubic zirconia. And they set a lot of CZs. It was great to practice the key setting styles, because if a CZ broke, it wasn’t a family heirloom and was only a few dollars to replace. Once Ruben had his confidence, he found genuine stones easier to work with than CZ’s. Ruben says that he loves being at Medlars Jewel Masters. “It’s one of the best places I have ever worked at in terms of … well … pretty much everything. Great benefits, great co-workers, people to talk to and bounce ideas off of.” He loves the dynamics of the shop. It’s a great collaborative environment. And, it’s a dream of his to have his own jewelry line.
His advice to anyone wanting a custom jewelry piece designed? Consider what your lifestyle is. Do you work with your hands; do you take your jewelry off or continually wear it? That helps determine how to build something that will stand the test of time. And of course one little thing that we thought we would mention: He loves Dia de los Muertos and all of its art forms. Paintings, frames, ceramics, it doesn’t matter. If he sees something that he likes he can’t say no.