The Goldsmith with No Fingers

For about 30 years, Annette Gabbedey Goldsmiths served their part in the jewelry industry. To this day, the founder of this company, Annette Gabbedey, 54, continues to serve her part in the jewelry industry as well as the disabled community — as a goldsmith with no fingers.

Starting in London’s Hatton Garden, Gabbedey began her career as a goldsmith. Now, she shows off her talent and promotes the work of other designers at her showroom in the artisan quarter of Frome, Somerset, called St. Catherines. In 2015, during her 25th year of being in the jewelry industry, Gabbedey was awarded as the "Bristol & Bath Business Women of the Year."

In an interview with the South West News Company, the 2015 Bristol& Bath Business Women of the Year, mentioned that her physical disability is obvious.

“So I’m a designer goldsmith, but… naturally people can see that visually there is a little bit of a difference about me. I don’t have fingers,” said Gabbedey, “which most people would expect a goldsmith to have. So that usually creates certain questions from people.”

Since being born with no fingers, Gabbedey continues to intertwine metals with diamonds, opals, and other stones to create jewelry. While doing so, she admits that she does not know how people create jewelry with fingers.

“Over the years, I have learned to adapt to tools. I don’t use anything special, no specially equipped tools,” said Gabbedey.

However, in some cases to help her adapt to tools when making jewelry and doing everyday tasks, Gabbedey uses a leather buckle-strap, originally made to hold kitchen utensils together. She explains that the leather buckle-strap allows her to hold onto tools without fingers and allows her other hand to be free to assist during the project. Gabbedey also uses a milling device, a device commonly used by engineers to hold objects in place when sawing/hammer, as another set of fingers to hold what she is working on in place,

“So you just find a different way to things, really,” said Gabbedey.

Gabbedey says that she loves being a jewelry designer, not only because it is her passion, but because it highlights the world of artists with disabilities. She understands that her condition is abnormal for some, so she hopes to bring awareness to them. 

“Children are fascinated [by Gabbedey’s hands without fingers] and they’ll ask. And actually, I don’t mind. They need to learn at a young age that this is quite normal.”

As for those who are in a similar position, Gabbedey advises them to continue doing what they love because passion should not be affected by any physically disabled traits that are only visible on the outside.

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