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November 2019

The JAA Australasian Jewellery Awards celebrate and recognise design, innovation, craftsmanship and marketability in the jewellery industry. They are the ultimate industry awards that reward creativity, skill and technique and this year we proudly celebrate the 25th instalment. These prestigious Awards are the longest-running local design and manufacture awards in Australia.

Not only do the Awards give manufacturing jewellers a unique creative outlet to showcase their skills and talents on a professional and respected platform. It also allows industry participants an opportunity to reflect and evaluate themselves against others, as a result the Awards promote and foster the growth and talent in the industry.

Thank you to our generous sponsors, who without their support our Awards program would not have happened - Australian Jewellers Supplies (AJS), Chemgold, Ellendale Diamonds, Leading Edge Jewellers Group, Quantum, Total Lifestyle Credit (TLC), Showcase Jewellers, NAJO and Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC). We call on entrants and the wider industry to support such companies who back programs aimed at supporting the essence of our industry, manufacturing.

On a local level, the Awards provides individuals the chance to exhibit their exceptional skill sets and design prowess to not only the industry but to consumers, through the JAA’s promotion of the Awards on social media to over 6500+ followers, through the Awards e-publication and for the first time this year via the Winners’ Video Presentation. On an international level, it gives an immeasurable opportunity for category winners to enter the International Jewellery Design Excellence awards in Hong Kong, competing across 27 countries and regions and showcased to nearly 52,00 buyers at the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show. Over the past 4 Awards programs, we’ve seen three Australian Award entrants awarded in Hong Kong – Emily Snadden, Martyn Brown and Martin Linning, and Roberto Mattei.

Facilitating the judging day at my office, allowed me to have a thorough look at the wonderful and exceptional pieces we received this year. I was extremely impressed with the calibre of not only the manufacturing skills but the innovation that continues to evolve in jewellery design. One of the notable trends in this year’s Awards was layered metals. This not only allowed the designers another element to push the design envelop but also demonstrate their skills in executing a challenging technical element.

In 2017, I had the pleasure of being on the judging panel and I can definitely attest that it is not an easy task to judge such diverse pieces. So, I certainly understood the challenges this this year’s panel were faced when the 52 entries came across the table. Myself, the JAA Board and staff sincerely thank the judges - Alistair Kelsey (2017 JAA Jeweller of the Year), Darren May (WorldSkills International Expert for Jewellery) and renowned award winning jeweller, Matthew Ely - for their time and expertise in narrowing the field down to 15 finalists, 4 winners and 1 Jeweller of the Year.

Who will take home the coveted Jeweller of the Year title in 2019?  Stay tuned for the Winners’ Video Presentation to be announced the end of November. Full details at jaa.com.au/awards.

Jo Tory
JAA President

October 2019

Last month on September 2, the JAA Board met in Sydney for their quarterly meeting. Prior to the meeting a nomination for the vacant co-opted position, for Emily Crews, was received. I am pleased to report the nomination was accepted by the Board.

The co-opted position has been vacant since 1 January 2019, and Emily’s appointment will be held until the end of the year. As the co-opted position is a position that can only be appointed for a calendar year, should Emily wish, she can be re-nominated in 2020.

Emily comes onto the JAA Board with a strong background in the music industry, having worked in a variety of roles for Universal Music Group for over 10 years and is currently employed as Head of Synchronisation with Warner Music Australia. Emily has also previously held a Senior Customer Service Representative role within the jewellery industry for over two and half years.

Earlier in 2019, Emily was appointed as an inaugural participant of the ARIA Observership program. The program aims to provide a professional development experience for rising talent to learn more about the fundamental principles and functions of boards, decision making processes and corporate governance. Additionally, she is currently completing a Master of Business Administration with the University of Technology, Sydney.

The JAA Board and I are pleased to welcome Emily to the Board. Appointing a director from outside the jewellery industry, brings the opportunity to increase inclusiveness, diversity and target particular experience or skill sets. I, particularly, look forward to working with Emily and have already witnessed her enthusiasm to help the JAA forward in the right direction.

On a more sombre note, on the same date the Board accepted the resignation of the National Industry Advisory Council (NIAC) Buying Group Director, George Proszkowiec. After serving seven years on the JAA Board, George sighted personal reasons for his immediate departure.

George has long been associated with the jewellery industry, with his parents opening Terrace Jewellery in 1967. George began working full time in the business in 1973, later completing a jewellery apprenticeship and becoming a gemmologist and a registered valuer with the NCJV.

Furthermore, George has been involved with the JAA in several capacities over the course of his 22+ years of membership with the JAA. George has long been associated with the JAA through the NSW/ACT State Branch Committee, NIAC Showcase Jewellers Buying Group Councillor and a JAA Board Director since 2012, including holding the Vice President position since late 2016. He has also held the position of Showcase Jewellers Chairman for the past seven years.

JAA Board Directors and I would like to acknowledge the outstanding contribution made to the Association by George and thank him for his service. George has been an integral part of the important advances we have made as an association over the past few years and his valuable, considered contributions will be missed. We wish him well for the future.

The Board also includes Karen Lindley, Cameron Marks and Ronnie Bauer. I encourage all industry participants to engage with the JAA Board - share your thoughts and comments on the ways the JAA can be involved with shaping the future of this wonderful industry,

The JAA Annual General Meeting will be held in late November and I encourage all eligible JAA members to vote, either by attendance or proxy form.

Jo Tory


September 2019

In 30 years of running a jewellery business, the only constant during that time has been change itself.  Not only have fashions changed but so have distribution channels, supply sources, marketing methods, technology and the amount of competition we face.  The challenge is always to embrace change, even when daunting and uncomfortable.

As fashions change we are constantly forced to question the difference between our taste and that of our customers and ensure we have a relevant offering.  This doesn’t mean you need to compromise your brand aesthetic but you may need to tweak it to maintain demand. Technology has made it easier to provide detailed analysis of sales, which helps us determine what is and what’s not working.

The greatest change many of us are still grappling with is the online market and the breadth of local and global competition it has created. 

We all know that many jewellery consumers research online before going into store to purchase, so it goes without saying that an online presence is crucial and the evaluation of its content is critical.  First impressions are key so the user must have an engaging experience from the start. Of course the images of the jewellery must be great, including alternate images, and preferably on body shots, but most importantly detailed product knowledge is important. Information on material, finishing, sizing, stones should all be included.

Another significant change for the jewellery industry has been the growth of fashion-fine-jewellery brands that appeal to fashion conscious millennial and Gen Z consumers with disposable income and a desire to buy from ‘authentic’ brands who have an interesting story, an ethical approach and an on-trend aesthetic.  Younger consumers want luxury and are prepared to pay for it.

While the internet has for many of us changed the way we sell our product, it has also changed how we market it.  Funds directed in years gone by to things such as magazine advertising and trade fairs are now channelled to, for example, optimising SEO statistics, improving websites and creating content.  And as technology changes, we need to ensure our businesses have access to the kinds of skills needed to utilise that technology.  Social media mastery is critical, not optional.  It is necessary to create a conversation with consumers that incorporates brand identity, consumer aspiration, trust and responsibility.  No longer are we just selling a product, we’re now selling a story, an experience, a lifestyle and in some cases ourselves.


Jo Tory


August 2019

Taking a step back to look at our industry as a whole reveals how much we contribute to the economy and the lives of everyday Australians, whether it be through taxes, wages paid to staff, or the emotional connections that jewellery forges between individuals.

The Australian jewellery industry generates billions of dollars in revenue per year and employs thousands of people. Much of this is the combined contribution of small businesses that contribute to local economies and are the breeding ground for innovation and entrepreneurship.

However, as many of us know far too well, retail and manufacturing has been doing it tough. Weakening global and local economies, fierce overseas competition, falling consumer confidence and poor wage growth has contributed to the challenging environment we currently face. In spite of this negativity, I believe these obstacles can be overcome when the business community works together to find solutions that are unreachable when standing alone.

Together we can make a difference and improve the lives and businesses of our members. Our goals are common. We want to: create better opportunities for member companies to grow their business, support reasonable regulation and legislation that help member businesses operate better, protect the interests of our businesses, our staff, and our customers, and promote a more transparent legal, regulatory, and business environment so that we can a complete on a fair playing field.

Membership to the JAA is how you can make a difference. Throughout the year we host events that give you access to networking opportunities, data and insights, and opportunity to build your skills and personal brand. Membership also provides you access to tools and services to grow your business, timely industry news, and input into future projects and strategic priorities. Our strength is in numbers and the passion of those who want to enact change on issues of shared importance and concern.

The world is rapidly changing and there has never been a better time to belong to a community of jewellers and jewellery industry businesses dedicated to making our industry a sustainable and thriving place.

Simply go to jaa.com.au/join to read more about our membership categories and to put through an application. If there is anything you would like to bring up with me that is stopping you from joining please email me at president@jaa.com.au

Jo Tory

July 2019

We often hear creativity spoken about in opposition to the commercial as if they are incompatible concepts.  We are told to be creative, but not at the expense of marketability, and characterise overtly commercial products and services as ‘dull’, ‘uninspired’ or ‘inauthentic’. While I think it will always be a balancing act to find harmony between the two, especially in a jewellery business were design is king and overheads are high, I think it’s time to re-examine the myths we hold about creativity when running a profitable business.

Myth – Creativity rejects the commercial

Creativity, which traditionally was seen as within the domains of the arts, humanities and advertising has become a central topic of focus in many areas including education, business management, psychology, software development and science. Many job postings requirement creativity as a key professional skill and huge multinational now have now added Chief Creative Officer (CCO) to their coveted c-suite executive positions. Why? The answer is quite simple. Businesses achieve success when they have sustained competitive advantage. Creativity is defined as the process of conceiving unusual, novel or statistically infrequent solutions to problems. If creativity can be turned into innovative products and services which cannot be easily replicated or exceeded, the business will achieve a superior long-term position over competitors.

Myth – Creativity is inherent

We are often caught up thinking that we are born with certain talents or skills which are cannot be sufficiently taught. Someone is either an inherently creative person or they are not. Challenge this by adopting a growth mindset where you don’t see skills as fixed but tools which can be incrementally developed through hard-work, learning, and determination.

Myth – Creativity is just for design/looks

Some of the most important creative developments in your business will not be the creation of a new and novel jewellery design. It will be in an entirely new business model, a new application of a material or process which improves efficiency, moving into a new category, offering an original product/service mix or moving into a new market.  Will there be subscription based jewellery businesses? Jewellers who produce luxury homewares, stationery and eyewear? Augmented reality for online jewellery purchases? Will someone adopt a technique from another industry which revolutionised how jewellery wears?

Creativity is the first step of innovation. Innovation is a requirement for business to stay relevant in the digital age. Challenge yourself to adopt creativity as a mindset, rather than as a task.

Kelley, D. & Kelley, T. T)2013) Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. New York: Brown Business.

Dweck, C. (2008) Mindset :the new psychology of success. New York : Ballantine Books,

Also visit the Creativity Topic flair of the Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/topic/creativity


June 2019

By now many of you would have noticed a change to the Associations online presence. In late April, the JAA staff launched the new and improved JAA website which has been in the works for some time now. The new look site is backed by specialist membership-based organizational software which is cheaper and more efficient to run than the last platform. In addition to the new look, members can now enjoy easier login capabilities, self administer their membership details, pay invoices and set up payment plans online, access new and improved content and more. If you are a JAA member who is yet to use the site, I invite you to take a look around and give us your feedback. Improvements and tweaks are done daily by the JAA team and are happy to assist with any questions of issue you have. Enjoy!

Not long after the website was unveiled, the JAA Board met for the second time for 2019. Much of this meeting involved in-depth discussions about the meaning and purpose of trade associations and what we can learn from others to assist with us innovating our strategy and business model. The not-for-profit landscape is vast. There are over 600,000 registered NFP’s in Australia, 60 000 of those registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC). In this large mix, it is sometimes easy to forget the wider impact trade associations have beyond their membership base or wider industry on the democratic process and wider economic climate. I hope to have further strategy and communications plans released and actioned soon. Stay tuned!

Just as businesses are being disrupted global forces such as digital economy, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), globalisation, sector consolidation and more so is the association sector. To ensure association sustainability to growth we need to go back to the roots of what we are in the business of- ‘associating’! As I do in every Presidents Message, I ask for anyone in the industry to reach out to me and share your concerns, desires or thoughts on what we should be doing next. In the next couple of weeks, we will be reaching out on a wider scale to all industry members on what they want the future of the Australian jewellery industry to look like and how we can get there. You can send me an email at president@jaa.com.au.

Do take a look around the new website and let us know what else you would like to see online. I hope to deliver further refreshed initiatives to you in the future.

Jo Tory


May 2019

A few weeks ago, the JAA staff and I convened for a strategic planning session in the JAA’s Barangaroo offices. These planning sessions involve intense brainstorming, projecting, questioning and reviewing in order to develop the best pathway forward for the Association. One of the salient points which continued to be raised is the value of relationship. Harmony and communication between customers, suppliers, partners, staff and stakeholders are foundations upon which ideas can flourish through collaborative effort and fostering. It requires attention, care and good judgement. This is the approach that the JAA is taking, either formally or informally, in its path towards the future.

Many of you would have heard that the 2019 JAA Australasian Jewellery Awards have been announced and preparations are now in full swing. 2019 is a particularly important year for the Awards as they are celebrating the 25th year of their inception. The Awards were established in the late 1960s by then President Roy Worfold and have continued to be a respected and prestigious competition for jewellery design and manufacturing. It is a wonderful platform for jewellers to show to the wider community their creativity, skill and aesthetic.  The entrants’ works will be publicised broadly via social media and on our website.  I had the pleasure of being part of the judging panel for the 2017 Awards and was most impressed by the variety, originality and inventiveness of the entrants. I now look forward to assisting in the delivery of a fantastic program later this year. For more information guidelines, dates and entry requirements visit jaa.com.au/awards or head over to the our social media pages.

I am also pleased to announce a new partnership established to ease the burden of energy bills for our members. Australian Business Energy is free not-for-profit energy comparison and switching service available nationwide and it takes little time to do. We have forged this partnership due to the benefits already achieved by the program so far. Currently, Australian Business Energy has saved 8 out of 10 business an average estimated saving of $1,800 not including savings to residential power bills. For more information on Australian Business Energy you can head over to australianbusinessenergy.com.au or contact our staff at info@jaa.com.au.

The JAA is working towards many more collaborations with various stakeholders such as Australian Business Energy to assist our members with business costs, efficiency and value-added programs that that will only enhance their business operations.

I would very much like to hear from members and the wider industry for suggestions and comments regarding what types of benefits and initiatives are desirable from your membership of the Association. This is all part of our strategic planning and your thoughts are most welcome. I always enjoy hearing the ideas and opinions of anybody who wishes to have a say. The advancement of the local jewellery industry is always top of mind for me and I have high hopes for a bright future.

Please feel free to email me at info@ jaa.com.au.


Jo Tory

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