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Dedicated jeweller Martin Wilde celebrates 30 years' trading in West Malling

Friday 12th July 2019

A DEDICATED jeweller, who once melted down his own wedding ring to ensure he had enough gold for a client’s order, is celebrating 30 years’ trading in West Malling.

Martin Wilde (61) started out with no tools, no money and no customers but, through sheer talent and hard graft, became a cornerstone of town life.

Making a name for himself by initially working from his mother’s Maidstone conservatory, he moved into Swan Street three decades ago.

He told Downs Mail: “I worked the first seven years, seven days a week, 14 hours a day just to get the business going.”

“When I opened I had no tools, no money and no customers.”

But by the close of business on his first day of trading, he had secured enough work for a fortnight and with careful juggling bought the specialist tools he needed.

Today his business, which still bears his name, involves his daughter Lian and his wife Marlene… the couple met at school at 14, married at 20, and have worked alongside each other since their honeymoon in Margate.

Martin said: “There were tough times. I made both our wedding rings, but one night I was working on a piece and ran out of gold, so I melted mine down to finish the job and I’ve never had a chance to replace it since.”

Martin opted for a career in the specialist jewellery business after insisting, at a young age, on a career in art, while his classmates wanted to play football or work in a factory. It was a determination that led him into design and goldsmithing.

He said: “I’m still in the workshop six days a week and when I go home I design. It’s a lovely business to be in, with generations coming back to buy important gifts, wedding rings and keepsakes for the whole family. It’s a happy place to work.”