Bernard had recently moved his contract casting business from the bustling Seybold Building in downtown Miami to the pristine woodlands of north central Florida where he could concentrate on developing his budding Nautical and SeaLife Jewelry Collection. "I was looking for the quiet life, but not dead quiet!" observed Bernard. "The Fine Jewelry Industry was ‘in irons,'" (a sailing slang for becalmed).
The family business, Reller, Inc., was faring no better in Miami, so Bernard reluctantly shuttered his studio and headed for England where he joined the Gypsy Jewelers known as the Great Frog, Ltd. run by two brothers and a sister from New Zealand and a brother and sister from America. Bernard's role was to help set-up a casting operation.
The Great Frog specialized in creating very finely crafted one-of-a-kind jewelry items in sterling silver for the tourist trade and also London's heavy metal music scene, but there was a need for greater production to accommodate the five London-area locations. It was a fast paced business that often went from custom design to finished product overnight to accommodate customers with "a plane to catch."
Reller Gold is now offering its Nautical Stainless Steel Cable Bracelet Collection with sterling trim for a whole new set of price points.
The stress of impossible deadlines would have been explosive had it not been for a very effective relief valve. "You see, the basement of the Frog's main store off Carnaby Street, their jewelry studio, doubled as a recording studio. The walls were lined with jewelers' benches, but the center of the room featured a permanent band stand - drum kit, amps, the works."
Most of the jewelers were also musicians and were allowed plenty of time to jam. A mixing board and reel-to-reel tape decks were housed in a tiny "clean room" behind a glass door. The atmosphere was infectious among all the staff.
The lesson of the Great Frog is that quality craftsmanship and interesting design will always find a market. Maintaining a positive atmosphere and good spirits in the working environment are the keys to success during times of adversity.
When the gold price finally returned to manageable levels, Reller returned to Florida, expanded his Nautical Collection to include stainless steel cable jewelry and treasure coins from Mel Fisher's famous Atocha Galleon discovery. Bernard eventually took over the family business, combining it with Collections by Bernard in a proper facility in the lively college town of Gainesville, home of his alma mater, the University of Florida.
Long an advocate of alternative metals, Bernard now offers both his Nautical Stainless Steel Cable Bracelet Collection with sterling trim for a whole new set of price points. The Cable Collection features an ultra-hard black titanium coating on stainless steel rigging cable with interesting clasps inspired by marine hardware. Of course, the Collection is still available with white or yellow 14 karat clasps and trim elements. It's also available with 14 karat cable.
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