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VCC's hidden gems: Q&A with Justice Barclay

Posted on February 7, 2017

News-gemmolgoy-Justice-292How did you end up studying jewellery and gemmology at VCC?

I was very interested in making and selling my own jewellery, so I enrolled in VCC’s Jewllery Art and Design program. From there, I decided to take gemmology in tandem. There’s a huge difference between natural and synthetic gemstones, and these things really important for a responsible jewellery maker and business owner to know.

How would you describe your experience at VCC?

It’s been positive for sure. I’ve learned so much and I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my ability to identify gemstones and what treatments have been done to them.

What is your schedule like?

Taking both the jewellery and gemmology programs at the same time is a lot, but it’s worth it. Jewellery courses run during the day, and our second-year gemmology courses run twice a week in the evenings. We usually also come in early or stay after class to work a little more. 

What are your career goals?

I would definitely like to be a jewellery designer and work for myself eventually, but most of the time I enjoy gemmology even more! Coming in, I didn’t even know gemmology was a field to work in. I’m planning on taking VCC’s MasterValuer appraisal program next. I would love to get into appraisal or even work in a lab. A lot of people in the jewellery trade are aging, so there are actually lots of jobs opening up for younger people.

How would you describe your own jewellery designs?

They’re very nature-inspired. I draw a lot of inspiration from plants and animals. I grew up in in Northern Ontario—in the bush. It was half an hour to the closest town, so I see a lot of beauty in rural life.

What motivates you?

I just want to be able to work in a field that I’m actually interested in. In gemmology, you can keep learning your whole life. It’s changing all the time with new treatments or even new mines that are found. And in jewellery, there are so many techniques, it could take a lifetime to even get really good at any of them, let alone be a master. 

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Want to discover VCC's hidden gems? Visit our jewellery design studios and gemmology labs at an upcoming information session.