Skip to content

Orillia goldsmith set to close up shop, ring in retirement

'Watching the look on a woman’s face when she finally comes in and picks up her ring that we’ve been designing and working on together is very rewarding,' says Fallows
Richard Fallows 5-20-22
Richard Fallows is retiring from Richard's Goldsmithing Jewellery Design & Repair next month.

Richard Fallows is calling it a career after 54 years of being a goldsmith.

Fallows, 72, started his goldsmithing career when he was just 17 years old. He jokes that he was the "coffee boy" for a Toronto shop on Church Street but eventually worked his way up to making chains and cutting gems.

Eventually, Fallows found himself working at the then famous Birks in Toronto in the 1970s before heading out east to continue his career in New Brunswick.

“Jewellery is probably one of the most complicated trades there is,” Fallows said. “There is just so much to learn.”

Fallows moved to Orillia in 2000 with his pregnant wife who wanted to be back home for the birth of her daughter. That’s when he opened Richard's Goldsmithing Jewellery Design & Repair, which is located today at 51 Colborne St. E.

“It was probably one of the better moves I ever made,” he said. “Orillia opened up its arms pretty good to me and served as a good place to do business.”

Richard's Goldsmithing Jewellery Design & Repair was the only game in town for customers looking for a real goldsmith. Anyone else who could be considered competition was just a retailer, he explained.

“That helped me a lot coming into a strange place,” he said. “For me, it was all about service. If you aren’t giving incredible service people are never going to remember you or come back.”

Goldsmithing was a rewarding profession, Fallows says, noting every day he left the shop feeling accomplished.

“Everybody needs a creative outlet,” he said. “To me, jewellery is wearing art. It’s not just a ring that you come in and buy; it is art.”

Fallows loved creating original pieces for his customers, which is what he will miss the most in retirement.

“Watching the look on a woman’s face when she finally comes in and picks up her ring that we’ve been designing and working on together is very rewarding,” he said.

Fallows says it’s hard to give up the business, but his hands are getting sore, and the profession interferes with his real passion in life — music.

“I want to play guitar at local restaurants and do dinner jazz,” he explained. “I’m looking for those escapes now.”

It saddens Fallows to think about what will happen to his customers once he’s gone. He says there aren’t many people taking up the trade these days.

“It’s a lost art now,” he said. “Most businesses will be a lost art in my mind because of online sales. Nobody is doing anything except for selling.”

Fallows has sold his building and will be officially closing shop on June 30. He is unsure as to the future of the building.

“I want to thank everyone from my heart,” he said. “Because of you, my daughter made it to university, she’s doing her Masters (degree) now, and I could afford all of that because of my business.”

Fallows says it’s been a wonderful experience getting to know people in the Orillia community, but now it’s time to spend more time with his wife of 27 years, Andrea.

“We are going to do a lot of travelling and day trips,” he said. “We will be doing lots of exercising, going to the gym every day, and trying to keep healthy.”