I am an artist, costume maker and re-enactor. I went to Sandroyd School , then Bedales School. After that I went to Putney School of Art, Wimbledon School of Art and graduated from Kingston University.
I have been going to Science Fiction conventions since 1987 and have been a Medieval Re-enactor since 1992.
I have previously been a member of the Far Isles Medieval Society, the Sealed Knot and the Medieval Siege Society.
I am currently a member of the Paladins of Chivalry.
I have been entering costume in competition since 1987 and was made a Master Costumer at the 2005 Worldcon in Glasgow by winning the Best In Class award as a Journeyman.
I have been exhibiting and selling artwork at Science Fiction conventions since 1987 and also exhibit at local art shows.
I do not often indulge in rants, but I need to get this one off my
I will not buy from Gemmeus again. I certainly won't employ Nicky
Wade of Gemmeus to make a custom order.
I advise all my friends to avoid using her.
If you like what she has made all may be fine- BUT IF YOU
It so happened that, soon after Teddy and I decided to get
married, we were at a re-enactors' market and I saw a ring I quite liked on
Gemmeus' s stall. It was a medieval votive ring set with a Sapphire, with a
payer in Latin incised round the outside.
I had decided to buy it when one of our friends saw me there and
ask if it was THE ring.
This led on to a conversation with Nicky about how much it would
cost if it was a fully gold ring, rather than plated and to Teddy looking
through her books to see if he could find a ring he liked.
He settled on an Anglo-Saxon ring with a braided band, set with a
stone in the middle of the band. He
likes it because the stone was in the middle of the band and did not protrude to
either side of the band, and the rest of the decoration was fairly flat to the
surface of the ring so there was little to catch on anything (a source of
annoyance with rings in the past)
After further discussion, we ordered the rings.
My ring was ready first and I discovered that Nicky had (without
consulting me) changed the stone to iolite (another blue stone). She said that
Sapphire just looked black in the setting.
Now, I had really wanted a sapphire (as it's the stone worn by
bishops) but decided that I was content with the change when she told me that
iolite is also known as Water Sapphire
The trouble started when Teddy's ring arrived.
The stone setting protruded to either side of the band, other
details were in different proportions to the original ring - the raised edges
of the band was absent, the other decoration stood proud of the surface instead
of being flat on it, so it didn’t look at all like the original it was based on
and Teddy didn't like it.
I should mention that I had paid for Teddy's ring and he had paid
Now, the normal procedure in these circumstances is to ring the
supplier, agree to return the goods to be altered, or to return the goods and
to be fully reimbursed.
When, Teddy rang Nicky, however, she reacted by bursting into
tears and complained that she couldn't afford to buy more gold right now, then
hang-up the phone down on him, and not pick up when he called her back.
She called back some time later claiming her ‘phone had run out of
charge. By now, Teddy (who was getting
nowhere) passed the phone to me and I attempted to calm her down and reason
with her. She found fault with every suggestion of how she might alter the ring
and, having apparently dismissed this as an option, made no offer of
I decided to try to be nice to her (more fool me) and said when we
returned the ring she need not pay us back immediately, but could sell it on
our behalf and pay me the proceeds when it sold. She, very reluctantly, agreed, telling me that
it might take a little time for the ring to sell. I think most people would
agree that I was being quite generous in this arrangement.
She clearly did not care at all that the ring in question was meant
to be Teddy's wedding ring and, hence, something he was planning to wear for
the rest of his life.
Most reasonable people would agree that you have to feel right
about and be happy and content with that particular piece of jewelry.
Still, I sent the ring back to her and she acknowledged receipt.
From that time on, I often saw her stall at markets. I do not recall a single time that I saw the
ring displayed. Generally that was some
excuse as to why it wasn't there, including a time when she said she had a
buyer. She was always short with me when
I asked about it and , after some time, I just looked and noted and didn't
speak to her.
Then, in July, I decided I'd had enough. It was at least two years later and she had,
apparently, made little effort to sell the ring. I felt that if she had both the ring and my
money then she was effectively using me like some sort of loan for her
I emailed her via her website asking for the ring back and, a
little later she responded saying she would send it in two weeks.
A month later I had not received the ring, so I emailed again
asking if she had sent the ring and, if so, when. I did this both replying to her reply and via her
website. I received no reply to either
of these enquiries.
Finally, I rang her, asking if she was having trouble with
e-mail, and she told me that her email was working and that she had
replied (which I think meant that she considered her first reply sufficient). She said she been busy with shows and that she
would send the ring.
Eventually, we came back one evening to find a message on the
answerphone to say that the ring had been sent by courier and would either
arrive on Saturday or on Monday 2 October.
A courier delivered a package on Saturday.
BUT when we opened it - IT WAS NOT THE SAME RING!
It was a gold Anglo-Saxon a ring in the same style, set with the
right stone, but the stone and it’s setting were smaller (not protruding either
side of the band), and the ring itself was a smaller size. It wouldn’t fit Teddy at all.
I have lost two and a half stone in weight since the wedding and
my wedding ring is now quite loose on my finger. Teddy has big finger joints
and his ring was at least as big as mine, if not slightly bigger. The ring we originally received, for all its
faults, was at least the right size.
I can JUST fit the replacement ring on the second finger of my
right hand, but it's tight and very difficult to get off again.
Second, as this isn't the same ring, she must have sold the first
one and NOT SENT ME THE MONEY as she had agreed.
I think she was hoping that I'd forgotten about it, or had written
it off, or that she could just go on saying 'No' if I asked if she'd sold the
ring. That way she could keep the proceeds from selling it twice.
When I asked for it back, she realised that, either she'd have to
admit she'd sold it and send me the money, or she'd have to make a replacement
and assume I'd not know the difference.
All in all, I would have preferred to have the money back, but
clearly, it was cheaper for her to make another ring. This suggests that she
got a significant price for the first ring.
This theory is borne out by the two month gap between her first
saying she'd send the ring back and my receipt of the new ring.
Anyway, I am now going to either have to try to sell this new
ring, or try to get it stretched larger so I can get some use form it by
wearing it myself.
As a consequence of this sorry saga, we will never do business
with her again.
Customer service is a closed book to her and she has such contempt
for her customers that she does not think she has to consult them about changes
to their orders, or that she had to make any alterations reasonably requested
Nor does she think she should have to give peoples their money
back if they return goods she has changed the specs for, or failed to make like
the source picture, or if there is any other fault with the piece.
She also seems to think that they won't remember what
a particular ring looks like and thus can substitute a similar
ring with impunity.
Finally, I know for a fact that I'm not the only person she has
treated like this.