Paul Dracakis has been awarded an OAM
Jeweller Paul Dracakis awarded OAM
Paul Dracakis, founder of Sydney jewellery retailer Dracakis, has been
awarded an Order of Australia medallion for his services to business and
the Manly-Warringah community.
Dracakis was notified he had received the Queen’s Birthday honour by mail, but didn’t believe it at first.
“I received a letter and I read it one time, I read it a second time, I gave it to my wife and she didn’t say a word,” he told Jeweller. “You start thinking what bastard is playing games with you, who is having you on? Then I saw the coat of arms at the top of the letter. I realised it was official.”
Dracakis said once he was sure it was legitimate, he was overwhelmed with pride.
“When you start where I started, and get recognition by your fellow citizens it’s a big, big thing,” he said. “I’m humbled for receiving it. I will treasure it for the rest of my life, I won’t give it away.”
Dracakis joked that friends were already eyeing the prize off, but he wasn’t afraid to exploit his new found status.
“One of my friends said to me, ‘I’m going to sleep with it’. I said ‘you be careful how you talk to me, you are a peasant to me now’,” Dracakis joked.
He hopes that his award will strengthen the perception of the jewellery industry as a whole.
“I think the jewellery businesses in the last few years hasn’t had the best name and I think maybe this will work in its favour,” he said. “It will work for the benefit of all jewellers. I like to think that people will see one jeweller got it so there must be a lot of jewellers who are honourable people.”
Migrating from Greece in 1958 as a 17-year-old, Dracakis initially had a tough time adapting to Australia, slaving at several tedious jobs.
“Everybody starts at the bottom, I was crying every night and I wanted to go back [to Greece],” he said. “Then I woke up and said by crying you achieve nothing, and from then on it was just hard work, saving money and mixing with the right people.”
Starting his own jewellery store was Dracakis’ dream for a long while, but it took reading a little piece of trivia to really motivate him to pursue his ambition in earnest.
“I was reading one day that there are two things people can’t destroy, diamonds and gold,” he explained. "I always had a love and always had a dream [to work with jewellery], perhaps there are different times in your life where you push yourself to do something different, and when I read that, I thought I must do it because before I was talking about it and finally it must be turned into action.”
After three decades of success, both in Mosman and Brookvale, Dracakis is not so hands-on involved in his boutiques anymore, with his three sons taking the reigns.
“It cost me a lot of money to send my kids to jewellery school, but I’m very proud because there is no one more educated than my kids in the jewellery industry,” he said. “They work hard everyday like all good Australians.”
Dracakis has also been a fixture in the Manly-Warringah community, involved with council affairs, many sports teams and events, and even helping out with local banking. In the coming months he will be presented with the medallion at New South Wales’ Government House.
Dracakis named 2012 champion jewellery store
Posted June 26, 2012