Brought up on a farm in Taranaki, Raymond Stokes has had a lifelong interest in making things, and a particular interest in jewellery.
After a few years working on farms, Raymond went to work in Wellington at the Ford Motor Company, where he was an Assembler, Welder and then Foreman over a period of 34 years.
During this time he became interested in Lapidary (polishing stones) and in 1964 joined the New Zealand Mineral Club. He taught himself to polish stones and to work with silver. After sharing his skills with a great many people, he is now a life member of the club.
When Ford closed the plant in Seaview, Petone in 1988, Raymond took the chance to turn to his hobby full-time. He now lives in Tairua on Paku Hill overlooking the sea and Slipper Island. His hobby has become a small business and he continues to make beautiful greenstone and silver jewellery. He always welcomes visitors to talk rocks and silverwork and loves visiting other peoples’ workshops.