After more than five decades in the industry, goldsmith Jerry Hlady still gets excited about creating new pieces of jewellery, but it’s the people he meets that stay with him.
The owner of Sooke Jewellers recalls a client who brought in his father’s wedding ring, with the hopes of using it for his own. “It was paper thin, so I suggested we create a gold liner, so it was his father’s ring on the outside and the new gold on the inside,” Hlady says. “When he got it back, he stood there and started to cry, it just meant that much to him.
“I’m truly blessed to be doing this – this is how I look at it – how you’ve affected other people’s lives.”
A jeweller for more than 50 years, Hlady has had Jason Goldsmiths in Edmonton and Kelowna and a factory in Prince Rupert, while locals remember him for Jarret Quinn Jewellers in Victoria’s Mayfair Mall back in the 1980s.
But with the opportunity to return to the region, the growing community of Sooke beckoned, and today Hlady welcomes the community to his workshop and retail space on Otter Point Road.
With a full manufacturing and repair facility on-site, “when you take your jewellery to one of the bigger companies for repair, I’m one of the places the send it to,” Hlady says.
To the repair area, Hlady is expanding the retail area in the front of the store, showcasing some of his unique creations. Among his sought-after pieces are a series of Haida designs featuring eight different BC animals that are sold to jewellery stores throughout British Columbia, and a new line of bracelet beads reflecting the province and country. Meticulously crafted, sought-after designs include a sterling silver bead with an 18K gold maple leaf, and another showcasing the local region in silver and rose gold. Hlady also operates the Canadian Diamond Centre.
“I love the manufacturing, without question, and it just keeps growing,” Hlady says, describing himself as a goldsmith and idea writer, who finds inspiration while working. “That’s the exciting thing – there’s always something new to create.”
While retirement may have been a fleeting thought, “why would I do that when what I’m doing is what I love to do? I get to live my hobby,” Hlady asks. “I was given a gift, the opportunity to do what I’m doing and to quit would be a shame.
Visit Sooke Jewellers at 2113 Otter Point Rd., or call 250-589-6377.