Industry Forum: Chris Sherwin, Gold and Silversmiths Guild of Australia

Industry forum, 2023

What differences are you seeing in today’s industry vs three or even five years ago?

The online business of social media and shopping over the internet has changed most industries and jewellery is no exception. The general public look online for ideas, prices, local jewellers and competitive deals. Jewellery shoppers still tend to try on and buy in person when the purchase is of significant value. Social media has also increased the competitive space for marketing.

What are the biggest issues or challenges the industry should be tackling next year?

If the Australian jewellery industry still wants to have a significant hand making component to production then skills training for entrants to our profession should be of the highest priority next year and into the future. New skills like CAD are on the rise, which is fine, but traditional skills are being lost.

What are the GSGA’s current goals?

The GSGA’s goals and aims are similar to those it has held for 35 years, that is to encourage Australian hand makers of jewellery to identify their work with a Makers Mark as Australian made (the Guild Kangaroo mark) and encourage all Australian jewellers to use the ‘Australian Standards’ of marking work. (For example, 925 silver in an oval surround, 750 gold with the double circle surround and platinum 950 in a diamond shape, etc). Importing jewellery or stamping with marks such as 10K or 18ct leads to confusion by the public and is simply out of date.

What are you looking forward to in 2023?

In Melbourne we are looking forward to a late summer and we are all looking forward to an improvement in the economy after the disruption of the pandemic. 

As a leader in your business, what is the single most important value you want to pass to your members?

I would like to thank my members for having the vision in marking their work correctly and following Australian Standards. By doing this they support themselves and the industry in a positive light to the public. They identify themselves as being proud Australian manufacturers of precious metal. Guild members will not be forgotten over time as their marks are held in perpetuity on silver Touchplates. Being clearly identifiable is a sign of integrity and our members can be proud of this fact.

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