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Oldest Jewellers in Australia

Irene Deutsch, CEO of Fairfax & Roberts Jewellers
Irene Deutsch, CEO of Fairfax & Roberts Jewellers

Now & Then: Fairfax & Roberts

Jeweller takes a closer look at the history of Fairfax & Roberts Jewellers with Irene Deutsch, CEO as it turns 162 this year.

FOUNDED BY Richard Lamb & Alfred Fairfax
LOCATION Sydney, New South Wales




Fairfax & Roberts is proud to be Australia’s oldest established jeweller. Our incredible story began in 1826 when Richard Lamb set up a business on Sydney’s main street as an optician and jeweller. He was later joined by Alfred Fairfax, of the Fairfax newspaper dynasty, and in 1858 together they established Fairfax & Roberts as Sydney’s first emporium for fine silver and watchmaking.

One of Fairfax & Roberts’ early achievements, in 1873, was the design and production of the iconic tower clock that still marks time at Sydney’s Central Station. By 1886, the company was designing and creating the finest luxury jewellery, watches and objects d’art for Australia’s wealthiest families.

They combined gemstones of the highest quality with precious metals to create one-of-a-kind pieces that have been tightly held for generations by the families who commissioned them.

A century-and-a-half later, Fairfax & Roberts still trades in precious jewels as well as specialising in private commissions. We maintain our own workshop where pieces are exclusively designed and carved and set by hand.

Most recently, the COVID-19 global pandemic presented a never-before-seen challenge for all businesses. We had to diversify, be agile and think creatively – and to ultimately accelerate many of our long-term projects.

We successfully launched an online boutique allowing our customers to shop our collection of ready-to-wear jewellery, including our extensive range of international brands, at their convenience. We also took this time to renovate our flagship showroom and launch a new homewares brand, No.19, which has received overwhelmingly positive feedback..

It was important to us that during these uncertain times, we continued to provide exceptional service and create a new and inviting space for our customers to visit once these times had passed. 

Our success throughout our history is measured in the tears of joy our customers shed when presented with a bespoke, heartfelt gift or when we hear of a Fairfax & Roberts engagement ring being passed from one generation to the next.

The most beautiful part about our jewellery, is that it carries our client’s life story far beyond limitations of distance. Indeed, tradition is a value that we proudly promote. Our brand is based on a tradition of quality, excellence, design innovation and exquisite craftsmanship.

I enjoy it when customers come into the store and have stories to tell about their parents or grandparents having had an heirloom piece of jewellery made by us, and when I mention to people that I am CEO of Fairfax & Roberts, I see the amount of wonderful brand recognition that evokes.

The most rewarding part is knowing that we continue to create history every day, by making beautiful pieces of jewellery to mark some of the most special occasions in people’s lives. I do feel a sense of responsibility to continue the brand, and the traditions and the high level of quality our clients expect.

However, I also find it incredibly exciting to be part of something with such great history!

This desire to create luxury jewellery that is meaningful, now and in the future, flows throughout everything we do. It informs our standard and keeps pushing us to consistently please our customers with jewellery that inspires and delights – with its designs, its workmanship and our ongoing relationship.

At the heart of the Fairfax & Roberts brand – and what makes our pieces so desirable – is the unique quality of our design. Creating beautiful jewellery is a task that the artisans of Fairfax & Roberts take seriously, continuously creating new collections to showcase our stunning showroom.

We have set our quality standards exceptionally high and we stay true to this with every piece that leaves our workshop. Our classic sense of design is complemented by contemporary vision that seamlessly blends with timeless style.

My partner and I love Fairfax & Roberts for so many reasons. We are committed to honouring its rich history and want to continue to make this a place where happiness is created. As a newly-appointed CEO, I would obviously like to put my own stamp on the business – with a nod to tradition.

Our customers should expect to see our name out there more often, and some new jewellery collections in the new year. We want to make Fairfax & Roberts a destination, where people know they will always find something special and interesting.

We want to be the best at what we do and continually delight our customers – hopefully for many years to come!





Left: 1873 Fairfax & Roberts Central Station Clocktower.

Left: Fairfax & Roberts team in May 1896.
Left: Fairfax & Roberts bespoke watch purchase in 1900.

LeftLamb & Fairfax George Street in the 19th Century.
Left: Sketches from the 19th Century Fairfax & Roberts Archive.

Left: Sydney Central Business District 19th Century.
Left: Family outside of Fairfax & Roberts store in 1940s.





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Irene Deutsch

Irene Deutsch took over as CEO of Fairfax & Roberts in March 2020. She joined the business following a long career in corporate finance, having held senior roles at Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Bank, and ANZ with a focus on high-performance sales teams and operational excellence.

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