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Small is beautiful for city's skilled jewellery repair man


By Alasdair Fraser

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Bounceback - David Friend Jewellery Repairs, Market Brae, Inverness...David Friend...Picture: Callum Mackay..
Bounceback - David Friend Jewellery Repairs, Market Brae, Inverness...David Friend...Picture: Callum Mackay..

It was a rare city centre business that emerged completely unscathed after lockdown.

Just like many of the precious items he deals with daily, though, John Friend knows small can be beautiful.

Working alone, the 53 year-old uses age-old skills to repair and alter items of jewellery, with the bulk of trade coming from satisfied customers recommending his craftsmanship to others.

He has run City Goldsmith for more than three decades and has been based in a workshop at the top of Market Brae Steps for the last 22 years.

Mr Friend produces some commissioned pieces of jewellery to order, but most tasks involve resetting stones, re-tipping rings and other forms of repair and alteration.

“I obviously had to close to walk-in customers, but I had plenty of work from before lockdown to keep me busy,” he said. “I haven’t noticed any real difference to business through it all and, with some government help, I didn’t find it too much of a strain financially.”

Bounceback - David Friend Jewellery Repairs, Market Brae, Inverness...Picture: Callum Mackay..
Bounceback - David Friend Jewellery Repairs, Market Brae, Inverness...Picture: Callum Mackay..

Customers seem to value an old-fashioned but reliable service. He has regulars from as far afield as the south of England and the far north of Scotland.

“I think once you get a name and reputation, a lot of work comes through word of mouth,” he stressed. “I had a customer recently from London who came to me after a tip from someone they trust.

“People will travel to you if they know they will get a good quality of service. They know their valuable is not going to be sent through the post with a risk of it being lost. It stays here, I do the work and they come back to collect.”

Safety measures were simple to imposed on re-opening after four months.

“People come in individually and feel safe as nobody else can come wandering in.”

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