A PONTYPOOL jeweller is representing Wales in a TV show looking for Britain's top jeweller.

Lee Appleby, 50, was only taught the basics in repairing jewellery when he first joined the industry, but over the past 15 years has honed his skills to now compete against seven other top jewellers on the BBC2 show All That Glitters.

Mr Appleby launched his business Jewellerlee last year, having already been making custom jewellery himself, and he also teaches once a week at the Adult Education Centre in Croesyceiliog.

“My background is in stained glass,” he said. “In 2002 I went self-employed.

“I started making stained-glass jewellery for my wife, then I began adding metals – like silver and gold – in with it.

“A few years later, I went to work in a local jewellers, where I was repairing broken or old jewellery. It grew from that.

“I’ve always been making custom work on my own.

Lee Appleby. Picture: wickedpix.com

Lee Appleby. Picture: wickedpix.com

“People think that it is elitist and expensive – with all the precious gems – but it really doesn’t have to be. Sea glass is becoming really popular now, so I’ve had people asking me about that. You can find materials for that by combing the beach.

“I do a lot of remodelling where people have old or broken bits of jewellery which have maybe been passed down to them but don’t suit them or their style, and I’m able to update them into something new, but still with that sentimental edge to it.

“And that’s the beauty of hand-making things rather than making things by machine. Jewellery is a very personal thing. It’s got that emotion to it.

“When I started, I was shown how to repair basics, but I just had to learn from there.”

A ring made by Lee Appleby. Picture: Jewellerlee

A ring made by Lee Appleby. Picture: Jewellerlee

Mr Appleby applied for the show after seeing a casting call on Facebook and being encouraged to sign up by his wife, Maria.

“I told my wife and said look at this and we laughed,” he said.

“She then said: ‘Go on and do it’. So I did, and a few weeks later I got a phone call.”

A necklace made by Lee Appleby. Picture: Jewellerlee

A necklace made by Lee Appleby. Picture: Jewellerlee

Mr Appleby made it through the selection process to the final eight – where he is the only Welsh representative.

“To go and represent your country us such an honour,” he said.

“The reaction has been great. The support we have all had – the other contestants too – we have all had messages of support from other jewellers as well.

“I would like to thank all the local people for their overwhelming support and good wishes - the response has been amazing.”

You can follow Mr Appleby's progress on All That Glitters every Tuesday at 8pm on BBC2. All previous episodes are available on BBC iPlayer.