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This New Hampshire Jeweler Tattooed Jewelers’ Tools on His Head

His commitment to the profession is second to none.

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This New Hampshire Jeweler Tattooed Jewelers’ Tools on His Head

Greg Mossman works with his wife, Emily Smith-Mossman, and his father-in-law, Brian Smith, who founded North Country Fair Jewelers in North Conway, NH, in 1969. A former chef who also studied graphic art, Greg collects tattoos and rebuilds vintage bicycles when he’s not crafting and repairing jewelry. He’s lived and worked in Miami, Delaware and Philadelphia, but fell in love with the mountains of New Hampshire and the small town of North Conway while on vacation. “It was just beautiful. My heart drove me up here.”

Online Extra: Q&A with Greg Mossman

What’s it like working with your wife?

My wife and I work next to each other literally elbow to elbow. It’s been an awesome ride. We balance each other out. If she has a piece that she’s struggling with I’ll complete it or give her pointers. She taught me a few basics. I kept learning and reading books and watching Youtube videos. I soak it up every day. When we work next to each other some things she is strong with and some things I am strong with, and we are able to collaborate with each other.

How did you and Emily meet?

I was hanging out in an art studio locally in town. We saw each other in passing and I asked my friends `who is that?’ I guess she said the same thing. She showed up at one of the restaurants I was working at and she asked if I wanted to hang out. After the third week, I said, `You know what? You want to get married?’ She looked at me and she said “yes.” We called the justice of the peace, she said fill out this form and pay $50. And we just kind of eloped and didn’t really tell anyone. It was hysterical.

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Does Emily share your love of tattoos?

“We have matching tattoo pieces on our arms because we call each other the ‘missing puzzle piece’ — and the puzzle pieces connect to one another when we hold our arms together. That pretty much sums up how we feel about one another.

What did you study formally?

I went to school in Miami for graphic arts and graduated and didn’t do much with my art background. My mother was an architect, I was surrounded by art. I dabbled with painting and worked with chain mail as a meditative thing I would do at home, making gloves and hats.

Who are your customers?

We’ve built a lot of local clientele and people come back and back. They know the family history. Everyone knows who we are and knows my father-in-law. People come in and talk about the old days. Now we’ve accumulated a lot of jobs from other areas of the state.

What is your typical day at work like?

We deal with customers on a daily basis. We have the girls who work in front of the store and if they have question about building a piece, they’ll call me and my wife to come out. We’re constantly going in and out of our workshop. We’re a busy store. Foot traffic at the store is incredible. We receive between four and 10 jobs a day, either sizing, or retipping or restoring. We do a lot of appraisals for estates. My father-in-law stepped away from bench. He does the appraisals.

Where did you get your jewelry-themed tattoo?

A friend of mine has a shop down in Massachusetts. We both collect bicycles, antique bicycles, old school Schwinns. He’s been a tattoo artist for over 30 years. The idea for the tattoo came from a metalsmiths society forum on Instagram and I asked my artist friend to make it one of a kind. He said yes, I traded some bicycle parts and I got my art piece.

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When you say you collect bicycles, what do you mean?

I’ll find old bicycles and parts, I restore them and put them back to how they were originally, and I just line them up. I have about 200 bikes. I am blessed with my house because there’s a front room that was used as an antique store years ago and we turned that into my bicycle showroom. I used to do a lot of bicycle building years ago when I was 18, 19. I would ride them and learn how to make everything work. One of my first jobs I had was working at Toys R Us as a bike builder. From that day I just dabbled here and there. It was my main transportation in Philadelphia and Delaware. I did some mountain bike racing for a while. And I got addicted to finding turn of the (20th) century bicycles. It keeps me out of trouble. I just like to tinker all the time, that’s what I love to do.

Are you active in the community?

My wife founded the Revolving Closet for teens in need. We have a bin out front of the jewelry store where people drop off donations, clothing, shoes, and accessories for teens. We have a space set up like a boutique and everything is free. Teens can grab a bag and take the clothes they need. I’m a board member for the Kevin Peare Memorial Skate Park and we’re in the midst of getting a skate park built in North Conway.

Are your kids interested in jewelry?

I have a 15-year-old daughter and I have a son who is 18 years old. I taught my daughter a few things. She learned how to solder and she created a couple of rings she wears and a couple for her friends. She wants to get into it, but she also does a lot of painting.

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