Youth and enthusiasm never fail to impress me and from the moment I met Nick Hensman my intuition said he was one to watch.

In the golden heart of Wellington sits the Village Goldsmith;  a beaming mecca for those in the market for jewellery with style and integrity.  It has long been part of my tours and guests revel in exploring their personal jewellery style as they try on exquisite pieces.

In 2008 a fresh face appeared at the jewellery bench. Nick Hensman from the Hawkes Bay, at 18, was the first apprentice to take his place amongst the Village Goldsmith’s heavyweight jewellers in some time.  His approach comes with both a technical and artistic pedigree. From childhood Nick tinkered with woodwork and metals, assisted by his engineering father. He then progressed on to fine works making knives and swords. Weta Workshop was on his list but his portfolio caught the eye of Ian Douglas, the overall designer and owner of Village Goldsmith. Ian Douglas knows talent when he sees it and Hensman joined the team as an apprentice shortly after.

It was an inspired choice.

In 2009 I commissioned Nick Hensman to make a pair of gold cufflinks as a birthday gift to my husband. I guess I wanted a little bit of Nick Hensman in the family at an early stage, and little did I know, his fame was about to grow.

Later in 2009 Nick Hensman and Chris Persen were both finalists in the fine jewellery section of the National Design Awards. In the entire country only four jewellers were selected as finalists, and both were from the Village Goldsmith. I always tell my clients they have the best of New Zealand jewellery at their fingertips!

It was an unforgettable win for Nick Hensman who was 19 at the time, with only a year of jewellery making under the belt.  When I asked him how his uber-cool boss Ian Douglas reacted to the win, he replies that he was ‘bloody stoked’. It was a champagne moment.

That win changed a few things. His pieces sell fast and he has his own stamp to mark the provenance of individual pieces. It has ensured a keen following.

There is something very warm about Nick, and it isn’t just because he can make a girl a diamond ring.

He is capable of turning his hands to most things. As a musician he plays in a local band called Tin Soldier; and like jewellery making, was self taught in the beginning.

He tells me his perfect day is one spent alone on a river fly fishing which he loves, or cycling in a road race.

The guy is fit, intelligent and oozes youthful spirit.

I jokingly put his obvious success down to having a Dutch heritage which I share with him, but there is something more to Nick which he reveals when I ask him what has been his biggest challenge.  His answer “It hasn’t happened yet”.

With Nick there is quite simply more creative fuel in the tank.