A Talk With Krysta Ryan – Nina’s Jewellery

Founded by Bill Withers in 1965, Nina’s Jewellery began our journey as ‘Djaaru Gems’ in Kununurra, WA—we were their first jewellery retailer.

Written by Jewellery World

Can you share with us the story behind Nina’s Jewellery and its establishment as an Australian retailer?

Founded by Bill Withers in 1965, Nina’s Jewellery began our journey as ‘Djaaru Gems’ in Kununurra, WA—we were their first jewellery retailer. This was pre-Argyle—the northern Kimberley was the wild new frontier. 

We then grew into diamond specialists, taking on the name Nina’s Jewellery after the aunt of our founder, a great lover of fine jewellery. The genesis of our position as coloured diamond specialists came from two places—firstly as the first to purchase stones from the Argyle diamond mine (just next door!) and secondly from our chief executive officer.

Coloured diamonds are a great love of our chief executive officer, Steve Turner. He used to have an Argyle and coloured diamond wholesale range in the 80s, which Nina’s stocked prior to Steve buying the business. It is the foundation of our legacy as natural-coloured diamond specialists and the origin of our passion for natural-coloured diamonds. 

How has Nina’s Jewellery maintained its longevity and relevance in the Australian market over the years?

Technology is something that we have always fought to remain at the cutting edge of. We were fully digitally integrated, allowing various team members to work from Melbourne, England, India, and even a yacht in the Mediterranean, years before COVID. We were also one of the first to launch a boutique jewellery website in Australia and explore options like ‘design your own’ features and integrate tools like Counter Sketch and 3D printing into our daily processes. 

Secondly, we support the communities that house us. We sponsor local sports teams, charity balls, fundraising events, and Women in Business programs—we believe in being active within our community. As the community evolves and changes, inevitably, so do we.

Finally, by embracing international trends. Australia is a melting pot of different cultures, tastes and origins. By keeping a close eye on what is happening overseas, we can bring our Australian customers the latest trends, interpreted for Australian tastes. 

Images supplied by Nina’s Jewellery

What sets Nina’s Jewellery apart from other retailers in Australia, particularly in terms of its history and heritage?

In 1984 we were honoured to purchase and set the first diamonds from the now famous Argyle Mine. It was the start of a relationship that continues to this day, years after its closure. 

As one of the first Argyle Pink Diamond Select Ateliers in the world, we pride ourselves on having recognised this extraordinary product for what it was—and the incredible place it holds in Australia’s geological history. 

Secondly is flexibility. Many of our staff have specialised workplace arrangements. We have digital systems that allow team members to work from where they are, allowing us to keep our best people even when their family life or passions take them to other places. We are open to flexible arrangements and supporting our teams in modern and innovative ways—we have just introduced a subsidised mental health program for example.

How does Nina’s Jewellery incorporate Australian culture or traditions into its designs and collections?

Our designs have taken huge inspiration from Australian flora and fauna over the years, both literally, and more symbolically.  Some of our most loved pieces we’ve carried for decades, and include boab, kangaroo and gecko motifs.  

We also use Australian raw materials wherever possible. South Sea Pearls, local gold, Australian diamonds—Australians are proud of their products, and the best way to honour this is to use them. 

Can you discuss any notable milestones or significant moments in Nina’s Jewellery’s history?

Owning invoice #001 from Argyle is a big one—we are so proud to have been the first to recognise and purchase these astounding Australian treasures.

Establishing our Australian manufacturing facility in 2003—able to support up to 12 jewellers, right here in Dunsborough is key to our continued domestic success.

Other key moments would include the launch of our 1.7 million dollar Crescendo exhibition just this year—a collection of 10 pieces made in our Dunsborough workshop by our master jewellers, comprising more than 400 Argyle pink diamonds. It’s a testament to what the whole team is capable of.  

And finally, the launch of our wholesale range in July this year we think will be amongst our biggest moments to date. 

How does Nina’s Jewellery balance honouring its longstanding heritage with staying innovative and adaptable in today’s market?

Australians treasure their heritage—they value Australian business and Australian products. We honour this by using Australian diamonds and materials—and combining them with other materials of a similar quality. 

Quality is something that never goes out of style, so for us, staying relevant, and true to our brand is all about exploring trends and influences whilst continuing to maintain the highest possible quality amidst a market that is prone to more disposable competitors.

Innovation has always been at the core of what we do. Our highly customised website was among the first in the local market to explore options like ‘design your own’ features, V360 camera technology and auction features, whilst our workshop in Dunsborough, WA is fully equipped with cutting-edge technology and techniques. 

Images supplied by Nina’s Jewellery

What role does customer loyalty play in Nina’s Jewellery’s success, considering its longstanding history in Australia?

Having been around for over 60 years, some of our customers have been with us for almost as long. And you don’t keep customers unless you are doing something right. We strive to add value to every customer interaction. We explore what international brands are doing and what domestic brands are offering in order to give our Australian customers the best possible experience. 

Australian customers have an expectation of high-quality service alongside premium Australian products, and we strive to provide that. 

How does Nina’s Jewellery navigate challenges such as changing consumer preferences or market trends while maintaining its identity as an Australian retailer?

By keeping one thing consistent—quality. Australian goods are synonymous with quality. By keeping the quality and standards of production, marketing, communication and service high, everything else can change, but by maintaining a certain level of quality, we deliver on the world’s expectations of Australian retailers. Customers will always prefer quality. That is something we believe will never change. 

Can you share any insights into the evolution of Nina’s Jewellery’s business strategies over the years, particularly in response to shifts in the Australian retail landscape?

We have always strived to deliver quality, but our renewed focus on authenticity and transparency has come about from a changing digital landscape, and an inherent distrust amongst digital customers.

It’s not enough to offer nine to five business hours and pretty displays, in order to sell successfully in a digital environment, you need to use different techniques to sell in person. You need to build trust with authentic imagery, with easy ways to contact and navigate the online environments. You need to be present when it’s convenient for the customer, and you need to find user-friendly ways to deliver a lot of technical information. 

Our sales staff have evolved to use a combination of all methods and sell just as often over the phone, email or live chat as they do in person. 

Looking towards the future, what does Nina’s Jewellery envision for itself as an Australian retailer with a rich history, and how does it plan to continue thriving in the marketplace?

Our plan is to never stop moving. The world, the market, the customer—they never stop, so neither can we. 

Our next big step is the launch of our wholesale division—an endeavour designed to bring natural-coloured diamonds to a much broader audience and make them accessible to many more Australians. This includes a range called Wander—a collection featuring some of our most loved Australiana-inspired pieces over the years designed for those looking to commemorate their Australian adventure with diamonds—you could say we are literally setting people’s stories in stone! 

We know that as long as we don’t lose sight of what is universally valued—quality, Australian origins and good service, we set ourselves up for success.

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