He’s a real gem
FOR Steve McAteer, his work as a jeweller and master craftsman is a "labour of love".
He started work with Gem Array Jewellers in Ballina as an apprentice.
Now, 25 years later, he is an award-winning designer and craftsman who has been described as a "perfectionist" and someone who is "incredibly talented".
"I just enjoy working with jewellery," Mr McAteer said.
"Sometimes I just get lost in the work - I'll look up and suddenly, it will be 5pm already."
Mr McAteer works on competition pieces between his retail jobs.
"Working on competition pieces is something that really makes me think outside the box.
"But it's good because it means I get to do something different and challenge myself."
Gem Array owner Connie Bidwell said they took Mr McAteer on as an apprentice and that he had just gone from strength to strength.
He has been a winner and a finalist in the Showcase International Jewellery Design Awards for a number of years, and he takes pride in the work he does for local customers.
Many of his intricate jewellery designs are not worn, but are instead admired and cherished.
"Steve is very dedicated to his craft," Mrs Bidwell said.
"He is very talented and he is always looking to better himself and his skills. Steve is always searching for different ways of doing things, and that means our business is always evolving."