It's with deep sadness that Ian and the team at TVG mourn the passing of one of the greats of NZ jewellery.
Gary Scott Chapman, a.k.a. 'The Silver Fox' passed away on the 14th September, at the age of 84. Until just 18 months ago, Gary was still crafting. He would arrive with his trademark smile and wise demeanour, still imparting his incredible skill and guidance to a whole new generation of craftspeople.
I was apprenticed to Gary in 1974, and it was he that shaped the talent and skills that enabled me to become the jeweller that I am today. When I established TVG in Kelburn in 1981, Gary left Clements & Holmes where we had both worked and joined me. A new era began.
Gary had immense skill and a natural talent. Over the next 40 years he crafted some amazing pieces for a wide range of clients, and there are numerous examples of his remarkable craftsmanship gracing the collection of clients in NZ and around the world that are still enjoyed by their owners today.
He was an amazing teacher, numerous apprentices have been tutored by him, and whom have gone on to become successes in their own right. He not only taught them how to craft, he taught them how to live.
Early in his career he taught himself to engrave, and later to set. Both skills that are normally taught separately, but Gary acquired that ability by his own skill and application. In crafting jewellery he was multi-talented, being able to craft anything that was placed before him.
When TVG moved into the city in 1997, Gary's hair had now turned a magnificent white, and his loyal following of clients would call in and ask what was the latest piece that 'The Silver Fox' had created? Newspaper advertisements would often feature one of his creations, simply signed off with that moniker.
Truly one of the greatest craftsman the country has seen.
We'll miss him terribly, but his legacy will live on in his wonderful family, and in the huge number of jewellers who now craft in the manner that he taught.
Thanks Gaz, it's been a privilege and an honour to have known you, to have had some of that remarkable talent rub off on me, and we'll never forget you.
- Ian & Christine, Colleen, Chris and the entire TVG team.