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Monthly Overview

Soapbox: The voices of Australia's jewellery industry

Each month Jeweller's Soapbox presents the various voices of Australia's diverse jewellery industry. From young gemmologists to bench veterans, explore the multi-faceted challenges and observations of others in the trade. 
Let’s not lose the mystique of custom made jewellery

Alfie Gryg

Business: Allgem Jewellers
Position: Master jeweller
Location: Perth, WA
Years in the industry: 38 years

The industry sure has changed a lot over the years. Like many others my age, I started out in the business with my father, cutting gemstones and making jewellery by hand. Read more »



Time to rediscover the 'magic' of art and design

Tony Williams

Business: TW Gold
Position: Master goldsmith
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Years in the industry: 50

After I had a book written about me, it gave me an opportunity to reflect on all the changes that have taken place over the course of my career. Read more »



Remodel and recycle to survive and thrive

Ian Sharp

Business: Ian Sharp Jewellery
Position: Founder/Director
Location: South Yarra, VIC
Years in the industry: 42

You know things have changed in the jewellery industry when your profit on a diamond is only 10 per cent, or you keep losing customers to ‘better deals’ on the internet.  Read more »



We've forgotten the customer

Bruce Rosewarne

Business: Bruce R Rosewarne, FGAA
Position: Owner/Director
Location: Mooloolaba, QLD
Years in the industry: 55 years

I’ve been through five recessions since I started my jewellery apprenticeship in 1963. There was a lot of pressure on jewellers during recessions; Read more »



Coloured gemstones are underrated

Charles Lawson

Business: Lawson Gems
Position: Owner/Director
Location: Brisbane
Years in the industry: 12

In Australia, coloured gemstones often play second fiddle to diamonds, and outside the big three – ruby, sapphire and emerald – the knowledge of the general population is lacking. Read more »



A fair go for gold

Zoe Pook

Business: Zoe Pook
Position: Owner
Location: Wahroonga, NSW
Years in the industry: 12

During my early days as a jeweller, troubling images of filthy mines with poor working conditions prompted me to research alternative gold sources. This led me to become Australia’s first licensed supplier of Fairtrade Certified Gold, Read more »



Miscommunication is out of control

Masis Agopyan

Business: Erebouni
Position: Owner
Location: Sydney
Years in the industry: 25

As a gemmologist who works in the jewellery industry, I’ve heard many terms used to describe gemstones. Some are correct and some are not. Read more »



Margin Call

Hayley Birtles-Eades

Business: Love Lockets
Position: Marketing and brand manager
Location: Brisbane
Years in the industry: 5

I’ve been in the retail industry my entire working life, both as a retailer and most recently as a supplier, and I’ve never seen the market as difficult as it is right now. Read more »



Rising stars need support

Brigitte Collins

Business: WorldSkills Australia
Position: General manager, technical delegate
Location: Sydney, NSW
Years in the industry: 20

WorldSkills Australia is dedicated to the promotion and the building of a skills culture that celebrates excellence. Read more »



Turning fear into power

Bryan de Caires

Business: Australian Security Industry Association Limited (ASIAL)
Position: CEO
Location: Sydney, NSW
Years in the industry: 17 years and 6 months

The recent spate of attacks on jewellery stores and other retailers in Melbourne has understandably generated fear among some business operators; Read more »



Insuring a better future

Chris Hood

Business: Metal Urges Fine Jewellery
Position: Owner
Location: Hobart, Tasmania
Years in the industry: 23

How my customers insure their jewellery has been on my mind for several years now. It’s also a popular topic of conversation in my store. Read more »



We're heading back to the bench

Tim Haab

Business: Haab Designer Jewellers
Position: Co-owner
Location: Launceston, Tasmania
Years in the industry: 33

We have just returned from our buying group conference where bespoke manufacturing was one of the main subjects of discussion. Read more »



Getting a grip on gemstone care

Doug Menadue

Business: Bespoke Gems
Position: Managing director
Location: Sydney, NSW
Years in the industry: 9

I offer lapidary services and, over the past several years, I have noticed a rise in gemstones coming in from jewellers to be repaired and repolished. Read more »



Future-proofing the diamond sector

Noah Gattea

Business: Gattea Jewellers
Position: Owner
Location: Sydney, NSW
Years in the industry: 13

The other day I was thinking about why the wine industry is kicking the diamond industry’s butt in terms of a value proposition, and I came up with my answer pretty quickly. Read more »



Accept change or flounder

Michael Tran

Business: Disney Couture
Position: Managing director
Location: Sydney
Years in the industry: 17

My career in this industry started 17 years ago as the co-owner of independent jewellery store Galleri Jewellers in Westfield Hornsby and Westfield Parramatta, Sydney. Read more »



Tale of cabbages, bread and jewellery

Brent Weatherall

Business: Brent Weatherall Jeweller
Position: Director
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Years in the industry: 37

Would you like to know what cabbage, fruit, bread and flowers have in common with jewellery? Nothing! Read more »



It's a world of metal madness

James Tyler

Business: James Tyler Jewellery
Position: Director
Location: Brisbane, QLD
Years in the industry: 30

At 47, I don’t class myself as old. Certainly I’m old to my 12 and 13-year old boys because I’m not up-to-date with current YouTube celebrity videos or memes. Read more »



Sapphire grading rules

Sash Gammampila

Business: Deliqa Gems
Position: Director, gemmologist
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Years in the industry: 4

There is so much misunderstanding amongst the industry about coloured gemstone grading. The frustrations and misunderstandings are especially high for sapphire Read more »



Fight back this Christmas

Krzysztof Jakubaszek

Business: AJ Watch Repairs
Position: National brand manager and watch maker
Location: Canberra, ACT
Years in the industry: 20

The festive season is approaching and while jewellers may be tempted to lower prices to combat against those evil online competitors, I say, “Stop right there!” Read more »



Aussie through and through

John Miller

Business: John Miller Design
Position: Director
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Years in the industry: 43

I began making silver jewellery about 43 years ago. Silver won me over from day one on a buffing machine. I still remember thinking, “Wow, I love this stuff!” Read more »



No time for stick-in-the-muds

Graeme Eckert

Business: Allen Jewellers
Position: Co-owner
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Years in the industry: 39

I made a big decision in late August while attending the Sydney jewellery fair. You see, our store sells more men’s watches than women’s watches but the issue is that we definitely have more women entering the store than men. Read more »



Never lose your 'true' self

Jo Tory

Business: Najo
Position: Founder and managing director
Location: Sydney, NSW
Years in the industry: 30

Six years ago, I wrote a Soapbox column for Jeweller about the changes I had seen over 25 years in the jewellery industry. Read more »



Claw back sales with customer tracking

Judy Cameron

Business: Cameron’s Fine Jewellers
Position: Co-owner
Location: Swan Hill, VIC
Years in the industry: 19

I had an ‘A-ha!’ moment earlier this year. I was at a Nationwide buying group conference and the speaker was talking about the five fundamentals of sales – the first one was ‘customer tracking’. Read more »



Does customer loyalty even exist?

Catherine Pevy-Trewartha

Business: My Jewellery Shop
Position: Owner
Location: Nobby Beach, Queensland
Years in the industry: 39

Many jewellery retailers feel challenged to maintain consumer loyalty to the point where some are completely giving up. Read more »



We need to go big or go home

Brendan Cunningham

Business: Cunningham Jewellers
Position: Owner, manager
Location: Coffs Harbour, NSW
Years in the industry: Born into it but officially 12

I’m a second-generation jeweller. I’m not technically qualified but rather am a family jeweller who has ‘learned on the job’ and who has earned the title of jeweller via satisfied customers. Read more »



Setting the mark once and for all

Tim Peel

Business: Silvermist Studio
Position: Managing director
Location: Healesville, VIC
Years in the industry: 26

We have a problem. It’s not a new problem; it’s a long-held quandary that our industry has been grappling for years. Read more »



Everyone forgets the price

Robin Sobel

Business: Protea Diamonds
Position: Managing director
Location: Sydney
Years in the industry: 30

There’s no denying there are numerous concerns surrounding the jewellery industry right now but I firmly believe that one outshines all others Read more »



Why I only use recycled metals

Tanya Coelho

Business: Zefyr Jewels
Position: Designer and founder
Location: Sydney
Years in the industry: 15

Unethical mining practices around the world are plaguing the jewellery industry but that’s the last thing consumers – and retailers – think about when shopping for a sparkler for the wife or a pair of earrings for mum’s birthday. Read more »



Stop feeding the thieves

Tony Peters

Business: Exquisite Jewellers
Position: Managing director
Location: Canberra, ACT
Years in the industry: 14

Security is always top of mind for people in jewellery, yet it seems as though incidents of theft are at an all-time high. Read more »



Saturday, 22 September, 2018 09:19am
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