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Now I'll be dealing with gems of a different kind

IN HIS former life, Steve Mansfield dealt in diamonds and gemstones from exotic locations around the world.

IN HIS former life, Steve Mansfield dealt in diamonds and gemstones from exotic locations around the world.

But he gave it all up to enrich people's lives in an entirely different way - as a vicar in Wirral.

Reverend Mansfield, who takes over at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Heswall in March, worked as a gems dealer in the heart of London's West End before quitting to train as a minister.

His previous job involved buying and selling coloured stones and diamonds, which were then sold to manufacturers and individual craftsmen who would turn them into items of jewellery.

Mr Mansfield, who was born and brought up in Wirral, began as an apprentice in retail jewellery with the Pyke's family business in Birkenhead, before he began his training in gemstones.

He lived in London for more than four years to work in the wholesale business, dealing with gem traders from as far afield as South America, Sri Lanka and the Far East.

But the 42-year-old father-of-three says his previous experience had given him valuable insight into his present calling.

"I feel I have exchanged precious stones for gems of another kind because I can now take more time with people. It's now usual for clergy to have worked in some other business and I worked as a gem dealer for eight years before training as a minister," he said.

"I originally went into the gem stones business because I had an artistic flair and was interested in design work."

As well as Soho, which was the original centre for the jewellery trade, Mr Mansfield spent much of his time in Hatton Garden, in the present City of London, to where the trade moved in the 16th century.

Mr Mansfield admitted that it had been a radical move to give up his work in London to move to Durham to train for the ministry, but he had always had a strong faith.

"It was while working as a gemmologist that my calling to the Anglican Church was strengthened and I was also involved in church activities," he said.

"I enjoyed dealing in gems and I saw some of the world's finest, which are only collectable to very rich individuals.

"They ranged in value from cheap stones costing pennies to those costing tens of thousands of pounds.

"It was good training for my present calling because it gave me a business head."


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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