“IF THE boy finds something he enjoys doing, he won’t work a day in his life” is what Doug Newman’s father told his mother when their son revealed he wanted to be a jeweller.

Since 1979 Gold Arts Jewellers has been a long-standing fixture in The Lanes in Brighton and is celebrating its 36th anniversary this summer.

Now 78 years old, Gold Arts founder Mr Newman is still working in his beloved shop which has expanded with branches in Chichester, Eastbourne and Worthing.

Mr Newman was originally set to be a farmer and was prepared to go to college to learn the agricultural trade when a trip to a jeweller’s shop changed his mind.

Then, he started his career when he was just 15 and began an apprenticeship as a diamond setter and engraver.

“My father was an electrician and went to wire up a jeweller’s workshop and I went with him,” Mr Newman said. “Basically, I was booked into college, but when I saw the jeweller I knew that was what I wanted to do. I said to my dad on the way home ‘I don’t want to be a farmer any more’.

“When I got home, my mother and father had a heated debate. My mother had already got me all the boots and jumpers for the college.

“When my father was annoyed he used to call my Mother ‘Mabs’ because her name was Mable. He stood up and said ‘Mabs, if the boy finds something he enjoys doing, he won’t work a day in his life’ and that is something that has stuck with me ever since.”

The young Mr Newman started a six-year apprenticeship and, after a two-year tenure in the army working in the dental core, started his professional life as a jeweller at Tinsley and Co.

Moving from there, Mr Newman joined high street retailer Ernest Jones as a store manager before opening a manufacturing workshop for the chain.

But he said “it all got very political” so decided to start his own business and moved into The Lanes to open his first shop.

It was not all smooth sailing, though, and he recalls the area had a “dubious reputation” and he started out as the one of the only working jewellers in The Lanes.

He said: “I once bought a big necklace from one of the local dealers and found out he had made a huge profit on it – so I broke it up and had to make 10 pairs of earrings out of it.

“I had a very steep learning curve and lost a lot of money.

“It was just myself, one girl in the shop and an old apprentice of mine. I tied up with a sales type, but he did not know what he was doing.

“He forgot to do the VAT and then disappeared and, in the end, I lost about £30,000 and that was the first year I was in the business.

“I told the supplier what had happened and he said I could pay him back as long as I kept in contact. He could have sent me bankrupt, but I had built up a good reputation and I eventually paid him back.”

Throughout its lifespan, the jeweller's has also been the target of thieves and high-profile raids, but the business has survived and thrived with Mr Newman at the helm – with him never losing his love of the trade.

He has kept the business in the family with his son, Doug Junior, and daughter Kerry,

He said: “I am reasonably artistic and I love making things. When I was ten or 12, I built a lathe for myself out of scrap. You get that feeling when you make something from scratch, but the old fashioned craftsmen are rapidly being lost.

“When you make something and you start with a piece of raw material, you roll it out, bend it, making it from a design you thought of yourself.

“When you finish it, polish it and take it out of the ultra sonic, you get a kick out of it and think ‘that is me, that is three days of life'.

“For me it spurs me on to be bigger and better and design new things.”

Mr Newman added: “Continually you are fine-tuning it but I would not be doing it anymore if I did not still enjoy it.”

Along with jewellery, the other passion in Mr Newman’s life is motor racing and he races a Caterham 7 car – putting the lessons he has learned in his trade into his hobby.

“Where there is a will there is a way, I never give up,” he said. “A classic example is we did a relay race and had all sorts of problems and were up against a very fast BMW team.

“We were ten laps behind and I found one of the chaps who was supposed to be going out was not in the car.

“I said ‘what are you doing’ and he said there was no point but I told him ‘get yourself in that car’ and in the end the BMW had a problem and we came out ahead – never say never.”