Mike Pneuma – A Jewellers’ story, by Metal Concentrators
Michael Pneuma started out in 1983, at the mere age of 19 as a trainee manufacturing and repairing Jewellery for a company. Michael then grew from there and started working for other companies as well.
This continued for four hard working years of working for three different companies specializing in 1) British 2) Arabic and 3)Italian. He was trained to specialize in Italian and Arabic classic and traditional Jewellery manufacturing. During the time of Michael’s apprenticeship, he had the great privilege of attending the Cartier Exhibition, this inspired and humble him to no longer compare his quality of Jewellery with those that are store bought, but rather to aspire to the quality of Cartier’s Master Goldsmiths.
Michael was fully qualified in 1987. He was taken with inspiration so much so that he started his own business. Michael often worked long 12-16 hour shifts from home in order to achieve his dream to be a master goldsmith.
In the early years of his business, he focused on mastering complex Jewellery pieces by using his clientele to elevate his skills. He use to choose the most difficult manufacturing process and intricate designs, repeating each piece to achieve the finest quality he could with each item and acquiring more skills. This method was not finically viable, however it allowed him to achieve a life long set of high quality skills by the time that he was 37 years of age.
In 1999, Mike Pneuma produced a collection which was exhibited in Osaka, Japan.
All pieces manufacture for the exhibition sold out within two days of the exhibition opening. Although the collection was small it granted him the confidence and knowledge that his design and manufacturing skills, as well as the metals that he used were desirable and this to the high, strict standards of Japan. Meaning that his work quality and skill sets were that of a high international standard. This boosted his confidence not only in himself but also that the best of South African Jewellery can definitely compete internationally.
In 2001, Michael had gone through the most unfortunate experience. He had lost everything he worked so hard for, due to unforeseen circumstances. However he views this as an end of a long cycle and the beginning of a promising new journey and that it has been.
Toward the end of 2001 Michael moved his business from his home, to an external premises at the Kyalami Business Park. Thus began the bright new journey, a new phase of Michael’s business which then became known as Pneuma Jewellers CC from the year 2002.
Pneuma Jewellers began offering services to the Mining Qualifications Authority for writing and the validation of learning pathways i.e. learnerships, skills programs, goldsmith qualification and diamond setting. This was developed for graduate development programs and learnships offered at various training providers.
This led Pneuma Jewellers to become a part of the Graduate Development Program as a training provider in 2005. Pneuma Jewellers CC, have trained over 60 goldsmiths to date and will have completed a mix over100 industry ready goldsmiths and diamond setters by the first quarter of 2017.
Pneuma Jewellers are currently the only company to conceptualize the Super Artisan. Recently in 2016, four fully trained individuals on the Super Artisan Program. The Super Artisan has completed full training in two or more trades i.e. goldsmiths and diamonds setting. Pneuma Jewellers is proud to state that 90% of their trainees are HDSA’s (Historically Disadvantaged South Africans) and that 90% – 95% of completed trainees obtaining permanent employment in the Jewellery manufacturing industry, with a high of 42% of graduates “Super-Achieving” as teachers/trainers, managers, employed deaf learners and sustainable SMMEs – with two exceptional black ladies having become the First HDSA Teacher at CuT and the first HDSA Trade test official.
Pneuma Jewellers would aspire to leave a legacy of excellence in the Jewellery manufacturing industry as a feeder of quality Goldsmiths and Diamond setters for the regeneration of mass production manufacturers and the highest quality goldsmiths for custom handmade Jewellery.