Early in the inception of my jewellery industry career, I had the life-changing opportunity to work with Nicola Cerrone, proud Italo-Australian, multiple award-winning, fine jewellery designer, artisan, master jeweller, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, exporter and long-standing JAA member. Nic’s extensive experience, talent and accolades, both locally and internationally, precede him.
The passion ignited in me, whilst being part of the Cerrone team, drove me to further pursue my career, within the Australian jewellery industry. Nic not only encouraged and supported my education in all things jewellery, he also invested in my studies of Jewellery Design and Technology, at Enmore School of Design, during my period of employment.
Cerrone’s dedication and on-going contribution to the Australian jewellery industry has ensured the Australian jewellery industry’s relevance, both locally and internationally – his keen eye-for-detail, loyalty, pride and fierce passion a credit to Nic, his daughters who work alongside him, and his industrious team, many of whom have been in his employment for 30+ years, over the nearly 50 years since his humble beginnings from his Leichhardt head office.
Today, Nicola Cerrone not only creates world-class jewellery donned by the likes of Barbara Streisand and Celine Dion, he also provides employment for a total of 50 Australians, including 20 master jewellers, artisans and setters. Nic encourages the new generation to pursue a career in jewellery manufacturing, currently employing six apprentice jewellers.
I was thrilled to receive a phone call from Nic in late August, inviting me to attend his Leichhardt head office on Monday 22 August, 2022. The Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, alongside Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training, was visiting Cerrone, a constituent within Albanese’s own electorate.
The Prime Minister acknowledged Cerrone’s extraordinary world-class manufacturing, giving Cerrone well-deserved recognition for his exportation of natural assets and Australian commodities, and of course, creating jobs – building skill-base and adding value to both the Australian jewellery industry and over-all Australian trade abroad.
From my personal perspective, Nicola Cerrone will always be the Godfather of the Australian jewellery industry. I frequently liken my time with Nic as being like working for Santa Claus, his workshop a-buzz with elves, making dreams come true. I am incredibly grateful for the knowledge, experience and the doors that opened for me, from my time with Nic.
Frequently connecting to discuss the Australian jewellery industry, Nic and I chat about a myriad of topics – from operating post-pandemic, to reminiscing about days gone by. The constant message in my every conversation shared with Nicola Cerrone is the importance of relevance, progression, growth, development, and unity of the Australian jewellery industry. The significance of ‘added value’, in every sense of the term, across all aspects of the industry we have both dedicated our lives to.
To my disappointment, while Prime Minister Albanese was visiting Cerrone Head Office, the JAA received communication from TAFE NSW advising that the government would be withdrawing funds for non-apprentice enrolments in both full-time and part-time capacity of Certificate III Jewellery Manufacturing, MEM30605.
This is disadvantageous and detrimental to TAFE NSW, the only industry-recognised training provider of the Certificate III in NSW, and to the jewellery industry at large. The majority of learners in this qualification sector are, unfortunately, not employed as apprentices.
On behalf of the industry, supporting TAFE’s request for an extension of the transition period and request for further funding, the Jewellers Association of Australia is currently lobbying the government.
The JAA will further advise on the outcome, in due course.