Chair Current Occupation: Managing Director, Leading Edge Jewellers – Buying Group
Joshua brings more than 15 years of retail experience to his role as General Manger of Leading Edge Jewellers and has spent the last 9 years within the jewellery industry. His introduction into Jewellery came in 2001 when he started working with Michael Hill Jewellers a year after completing his formal education with Honours degrees in Marine Biology and Statistics. Josh started working with Leading Edge jewellers in 2006 as Operations Manager for the group and a year later was promoted to General Manager. Now, Josh finds a balance between member support and supplier support and gets his greatest satisfaction from seeing his members increasing profits through utilising the services offered by Leading Edge Group. He is extremely passionate about the industry and is committed to maintaining a strong JAA.
Karen Lindley, NSW/ACT Councillor
Current Occupation: Owner, Diamonds by Design
Karen Lindley is a qualified gemmologist and registered Valuer with nearly 40 years’ experience in the gem industry and has been a member of the JAA since 1985. Her extensive career began as an opal dealer where she became Australia’s first female qualified gemmologist with a large wholesale opal business. Previously she has served terms on the AGIA, OANG, JAA Boards. Non-industry Boards include the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, Bravehearts and The Small Business Development Board (NSW Government) where she was reappointed by the Minister for Small Business for nine consecutive years. Karen’s business skill set and ability to strategise combined with her experience have ensured her boutique, Diamonds by Design in the Dymocks Building has been resilient to market forces since 1982. She has a passion for a fair go for micro/small business particularly within the gem industry and is supportive of ensuring the Australian jewellery manufacturing industry will continue and prosper again - paving the way for the next generation of apprentices to work in a leading edge growth industry.
Brett, Bolton, QLD Councillor
Current Occupation: Director, Bolton Gems
Brett Bolton is the Managing Director of a third generation family business trading as Bolton Gems. Bolton Gems are cutters and wholesalers of precious and semi-precious gems and a stunning collection of finished jewellery. Brett began his career and interest in the industry at 17, working as a repair technician at a chain jewellery store and quickly progressed to become Area Manager in this field. In 1995, Brett joined the family business working in internal sales and as a Sales Representative. This role equipped Brett with a wealth of information and experience and in 2007 he took the reins from his father. Bolton Gems introduced branded products to the business in the year 2000, and transitioned the business from a diamond merchant to a diamond and marketing merchant. Brett very much believes that selling diamonds is a lot more than trading a commodity. This enthusiasm led to the launch of the incredibly successful brand, Australian Chocolate Diamonds, where Brett began purchasing diamond rough and worked with his cutting factory to produce scintillating brown diamonds- a treasure produced to exceptional standards that were unseen before this time. Today Brett and his wife Dee manage the office in Brisbane with 18 staff that work towards the same goal that has remained consistent throughout the generations of owners- to provide outstanding service and produce a superior product that is guaranteed to be as described.
Michael Oboler, VIC/TAS Councillor
Current Occupation: Director, Oblo Jewellery Pty Ltd
Michael grew up in a jewellery oriented environment. He is the third generation of a family of manufacturing jewellers. In South Africa, his industry experience includes; Chairman of Cape Town Manufacturing Jewellers Association for 9 years. He served on the Cape Town Chamber of Industry as the jewellery industry representative. He was Chairman of the South African Manufacturing Jewellers for 4 years. He served on the board of the Jewellery Council of South Africa and was vice chairman and chairman of the organisation before migrating to Australia. In Australia he served on the Victorian branch committee for many years. He was President of the JAA and also served as financial director. He was the recipient of JAA life membership award in 2007 in recognition of service to the industry.
Jane Williams, SA/NT Councillor
Current Occupation: Owner, JW Jewellery
Jane is a private jeweller and consultant specialising in design and manufacture, with an emphasis on working with clients to design the heirloom pieces they will pass down to the next generation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Certificates of Jewellery and Diamond Grading. She also brings with her years of sales and merchandising experience in the jewellery industry, in roles including Client Services Manager SA/NT for Peter W. Beck Pty Ltd and sales and marketing consultant to Grant Austin Display Packaging. A member of the JAA since 2009, Jane is passionate about working to assist and empower local jewellers.
Peter Keep, WA Councillor
Current Occupation: Director, Jewellery Creations by Peter Keep
Peter was trained at the School of Jewellery & Silversmithing in Birmingham UK and has never forgotten the amazing experience that high quality training gave him. After 30 years of running a successful jewellery design and manufacturing business in England and Australia, he was offered the position of Jewellery Trade Lecturer at Central Institute of Technology in Perth in 2006. Extending his passion for teaching jewellery manufacturing and actively trying to find a resolution for decreasing apprentice numbers in WA, Peter established Jewellery Training Solutions (JTS). The projects taught encompass essential skills and knowledge to help students and jewellers advance and learn new skills. Peter states JTS is not a substitute for institutional training or the apprenticeship.
George Proszkowiec, Buying Group Councillor
Current Occupation: Owner, Terrace Showcase Jewellers and President of Showcase Jewellers (JIMACO Ltd)
George has been involved with the jewellery industry, both in Australia and overseas, for more than 35 years. George and his wife, Elizabeth acquired their first retail jewellery store in 1997 and opened their second store in 2000. Both stores are located approximately two hours’ drive north of Sydney. George's parents purchased the original store in 1967 and George started his retail career while still at school. George was fortunate enough to receive some early jewellery training from his uncle, Henry Henc, and in 1974 he spent a year working on the bench with a Master Jeweller in Poland. In 1985, he completed a gemmology course and qualified as a registered valuer. George joined Showcase Jewellers buying group in 1988 and become a Showcase Jewellers director in 1997. George to this day is still a director of Showcase Jewellers, as well as a director of NCJV NSW branch and a committee member of JAA NSW/ACT Branch. George brings a wealth of experience to the JAA Board including financial, managerial, marketing and corporate and enjoys supporting our great industry.
John Rose, Watch Sector Councillor
Current Occupation: General Manager, West End Collections
John founded West End Collection in 2002 and it is now an industry leader in watch distribution throughout Australia and New Zealand. West End Collection has successfully launched major international brands such as Daniel Wellington, Christian Paul, Olivia Burton, Disney, ASICS, Puma, Ingersoll Automatics, STORM London and Ed Hardy to name a few. As General Manager, John is responsible for all wholesale and retail operations of the company throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. John’s ongoing focus at West End Collection is to diversify both vertical and horizontal integration of the company's business mix.
Mark McAskill, Manufacturing Sector Councillor
Current Occupation: Director, Mark McAskill Jewellery
Mark has been involved in the Jewellery Industry for over 30 years. He started out as an apprentice Jeweller and commenced Mark McAskill Jewellery from his parent’s garden shed in 1989. Marks business slowly grew in the coming years, and is now currently one of the largest wholesale manufacturing jewellers in Australia, employing a team of around 40. Mark’s state of the art factory is based in Adelaide and supplies quality Diamond and Coloured Stone Jewellery to retail jewellers throughout Australia and New Zealand. Mark is a qualified jeweller, gemmologist and registered jewellery valuer.
Selwyn Brandt, Supplier Councillor
Current Occupation: Managing Director, Brandt Marketing Pty Ltd
Elected to the JAA Board in 2003, Selwyn served as a committee member of the NSW branch for more than sixteen years and is currently President. He was educated in South Africa and following studies in commerce and marketing, established a jewellery supply business. He has more than thirty years of industry experience and upon migrating to Australia in 1987, began working as a manager for House of Jewellery. Purchasing the business in 1996 has been a career highlight, as well as earning a seat on the JAA Board. In 2014, House of Jewellery merged with Australian Jewellers Supplies. He has always believed he should give something back to the industry that has provided him with a living and in doing this; he hopes to create positive change.
John Jacobson, Pearl Sector Councillor
Current Occupation: Director, Pearl Traders Pty Ltd
Jonathan Jacobson has been involved in various areas of the Australian jewellery trade for the past 30 years, of which the last 18 years has been primarily wholesaling South Sea and Tahitian Pearls. He has been a partner of Pearl Traders Pty Ltd with Steve Heszberger since 2006. He has extensive domestic and international experience, having worked with some of the major Australian Pearl farms; and Pearl farms and auctions overseas. He has also been wholesaling south sea pearls domestically, as well as to many of the major overseas markets. He has also coached various classes of the NSW Valuers Council for the Pearl module.
Tony Smallwood, Opal Sector Councillor
Current Occupation: Director, Advanced Gemmological Services Pty Ltd
With over thirty years’ experience in the jewellery industry, Tony brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the NIAC. Tony has a background in Materials Science and demonstrating his passion for opal completed a Master’s Degree with a thesis focused on chemical and physical characterisation of Australian precious opal. Tony also holds interest in metal alloys and jewellery manufacturing procedures. Tony works as a contractor gemmologist and lecturers on synthetic and treated gemstones of all types. He is a member of the GAA and a register valuer with the NCJV.
Brett Low, Young Jewellers Group Councillor
Current Occupation: Managing Director, Deer Honey Jewellery and co-founder Young Jewellers Group
Whilst running a successful small business Brett commenced a mature-aged apprenticeship in Cert 3 Jewellery Manufacture in 2004. Upon completion, he has worked in a variety of small to large businesses/workshops in a hand-make, manufacturing, retail and production setting. In 2011, with a partner, Brett founded the Young Jewellers Group & Jewellers Collective to open an international network for Jewellers across industries, markets and disciplines to have a forum to communicate and share ideas. In 2013, with his skills and networks evolving, Brett started his own business and jewellery label- Deer Honey Jewellery. In its first year, the business has achieved great success. On a personal level, Brett is very passionate about the jewellery industry, and about there continuing to be a viable market for manufacturing and retail jewellers in Australia, as well as attracting talented and creative people to the industry as a career path. Brett would value the opportunity to be considered and selected as a Board Member for the JAA and/or continuing to be a member of the National Industry Advisory Council, as he believes his skills, experience, outlook and ideas would contribute to the direction of the Association and the industry itself.
Frank Salera, Retail Councillor
Current Occupation: Joint Managing Director, Salera's Jewellers
Frank started in the jewellery business as a student working part time in his father’s 2 stores in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray. He holds degrees in Economics and Law from Monash University and was admitted as a lawyer in 1984. He joined the family business in 1985 and managed the newly opened Swanston Street store. He now acts as Joint Managing Director for the family owned group of 22 stores. Frank has been involved in all aspects of the jewellery business and now specialises in premium jewellery purchases, human resources and leasing. He has attended meetings of the JAA Retail Council and JAA meetings of Major Australian Jewellers since 2001. Frank feels that he can share some of his 30 years of experience in assisting other jewellery retailers, particularly in the areas of leasing and human resources.
Matthew Morin, GAA Councillor
Current Occupation: Gemmologist Altmann & Cherny and Federal President, Gemmological Association of Australia
Matthew is the current President of the Gemmological Association of Australia (GAA).
Bill Sechos, Diamond Sector Councillor
Current Occupation: Director, Gem Studies Laboratory (GSL)
With over twenty five years experience, Bill holds a science degree from the University of Sydney and received the Australian Prize for his achievements whilst completing the GAA Diploma of Gemmology. He has served as the GAA president and is actively involved with their training programmes as senior lecturer and chairman of the GAA Board of Studies and Examinations.
Lucas Blacker, GSGA Councillor
Current Occupation: Director, Lucas Blacker and The Gold & Silversmiths Guild of Australia representative
Lucas has been designing and making his unique style of jewellery since the late 70’s. Lucas established his first business in 1985 with fellow jeweller Gary Thyregod. In 1986 Lucas and Gary were awarded the Grand Prix Award in the Australian Jewellery Design Awards. Over the last 30 years, Lucas has acquired various jewellery skills and knowledge through his time travelling and working in Britain, Europe and Australia. He has been approached by different corporate identities to design products including the Cancer Council, designing lapel pins for Daffodil Day and Pink Ribbon Day. Lucas is a fellow of the Gold and Silversmiths Guild of Australia, the only professional jewellery organisation in Australia with a traditional and comprehensive system of marketing precious metal items. Each member or Fellow has their own maker’s stamp and can use the Guild hallmark on their jewellery.