Richard Ashman – Industry Forum 2024

Richard Ashman, General Manager of Palloys gives his insights into the successes and challenges of 2023 with hopes and dreams for the 2024 year.

Written by Jewellery World

Richard Ashman
General Manager, Palloys

How does Palloys integrate sustainable practices into its manufacturing processes, and what initiatives are in place to reduce the environmental impact of jewellery production?

In a world where conscious consumerism is gaining momentum, the jewellery industry is undergoing a transformative shift towards sustainability. Leading the charge in this revolution is Palloys commitment to the use of sustainably mined Australian gold and silver in jewellery production.

Palloys’ refining services are completed through our sister company, ABC Refinery—Australia’s largest LBMA and SGE precious metal refining facility. ABC Refinery sets the benchmark for sustainability, refining by employing the first Acidless Separation System (ALS) in the southern hemisphere and the sole Australian refiner employing ALS in its production.

This cutting-edge refining process utilises heat and air pressure to separate precious metals from other materials, notably eliminating the use of acids in the process. The environmental advantages over conventional refining methods are substantial.

Palloys has been accredited by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) since February 2019. Palloys is proud to be the first and only Australian jewellery and fabricated metals manufacturer and wholesaler to be certified by the RJC. Moreover, Palloys is recognised by the RJC as the only Australian jewellery and fabricated metals manufacturer to guarantee 100 percent Australian gold in the products it supplies.

This claim by Palloys is recognised and substantiated on its RJC Certificate, meaning Palloys can attest to using 100 percent Australian gold. Several ESG commitments were made by Palloys during the audit of their manufacturing and refining processes. This ensures that when partnering with Palloys, you and your customers only receive the most ethically sourced and sustainably refined 100 percent Australian gold every time.

The RJC’s audited certification of Palloys 100 percent Australian gold claim confirms this exclusive guarantee will continue well into the future, guaranteeing the world’s most sustainable and ethical gold is being passed on by Palloys’ to our valued clients in all its jewellery and manufacturing services.

Palloys constantly explores how technology can reduce its environmental footprint. The Palloys Fiber Laser is one such example of this commitment. This laser technology is a game changer in minimising metal waste, and many clients are exploring it as an alternative to traditional manufacturing models for specific designs.

How does Palloys stay attuned to the latest design trends and consumer preferences, and how does this awareness influence the services and products offered by the company?

It is paramount that Palloys is ahead of the trend curve. Palloys has always been at the forefront of international jewellery design and keeps itself updated on trends by attending leading global jewellery design fairs, like HKTDC, JCK and Vicenzaoro. The Palloys team also travels extensively to explore retail models in major cities and how jewellery is interpreted on the world stage. Palloys constantly interprets these trends assuring that its products, down to findings and chains, reflect these trends so that its valued clients can be market-leading.

Palloys has one of the largest CAD and CAM departments in the southern hemisphere, many of the specialists in this department being highly recognised designers and pride themselves on keeping up to date with current and international trends. The Palloys’ team is also highly engaged with its retail customers ensuring it delivers what the consumer desires. Our customer service team are on the ground constantly, visiting our clients’ boutiques and hearing first-hand what the Australian customer expects. 

The Jewellery Education Hub at Palloys is a valuable resource. Can you provide insights into the types of courses and learning opportunities available, and how these contribute to the professional development of individuals in the jewellery industry?

The tutorials at palloys.com were initiated as a vehicle to educate our clients on Palloys’ innovation and technological developments. We wanted this educational portal to resonate and provide benefits, regardless of whether you were starting out or own many years of experience.

These tutorials support anything from choosing the best metal to creating your CAD file. We recognise that by educating clients on Palloys’ innovations and technologies, we are illustrating how Palloys can create efficiencies for your business. This portal is constantly evolving, and we will soon be uploading content on our Palloys Connect program and Palloys Laser Cut web interface.

In an era of digital transformation, how has Palloys embraced technology to streamline its processes and provide more efficient services to clients, from design to production and beyond?

Palloys is always looking to technology to make our clients’ lives easier. We understand the complexities of running a retail jewellery business. Our website is open 24/7 so you can process orders whenever is most convenient. We also offer express shipping across Australia and allow click-n-collect at all our state offices.

Recently launched Palloys Connect service allows our customers to submit a bespoke computer-aided design (CAD) brief directly to our system. This simple, online process allows customers to send their CAM jobs directly to our CAM team reducing processing sign-off times. Palloys Connect also gives live pricing, therefore allowing Palloys clients to know precisely how much a design will cost in.

The Palloys Fiber Laser web interface allows you to upload and verify files in 3D, adjust scale, select alloy and place orders directly. Palloys technology delivers more cost-effective, faster, and more accurate processes for our valued customers. 

Palloys offers refining services as part of its comprehensive offerings. Can you elaborate on the refining process and share how jewellers can leverage this service for both environmental and economic benefits?

Recycling is always embraced in the jewellery industry. As Palloys is part of the Pallion Group and has its own refining capability, no metal is wasted at Palloys. Metal is re-refined using ABC Refinery’s sustainable, acidless separation technology.

Because the world’s most sustainable refiner is refining their metal, the customer benefits greatly. As Australia’s leading and most technologically advanced independent refiner, also supplying precious metal internationally, ABC Refinery ensures Palloys clients their refined outturn has captured every gram of available precious metals.

Can you share a particularly challenging or unique project in 2023 that Palloys successfully executed, demonstrating the company’s adaptability and problem-solving Capabilities?

For Palloys, 2023 was very much a year of innovation, something we are very much looking to continue in 2024. We pushed the boundaries of design and production. 2023 saw Palloys develop and successfully manufacture purple gold, a global first. This project engaged the entire Palloys team from metallurgists to fabricated metal specialists through to casting technicians, CAD designers and jewellers. The result and engagement have been astonishing with our clients being intrigued as to how this precious metal has been created and many now exploring how they can integrate this ground-breaking metal into their designs.

In 2023, Palloys mastered innovation in chain manufacture and articulation, producing a franco chain 100 percent in situ. The print file is a single solid print, the cast is a single solid cast from that print, and the chain is therefore cast articulated, only needing to be cut free from the tree. This technology represents a watershed moment and communicates that it is often humans placing limitations on technology.

Palloys was also invited to custom design and handcraft gold elements to adorn a bespoke pair of Nike sneakers. This collaboration with shoe designer, Chase Shiel and Glenfiddich Australia was to mark the launch of Glenfiddich’s latest addition to its Grand Series, the Grand Yozakura—a much-desired Japanese whisky. 

Palloys used CAD to design these bespoke elements, casting them in 24kt 100 percent Australian gold and finishing them by hand. It was the first time internationally fine gold had been cast and crafted to match a shoe profile—it was a project not without its challenges!

Looking to the future, what emerging trends or advancements in the jewellery industry do you foresee, and how is Palloys positioning itself to embrace and capitalise on these changes in the coming years?

The consumer has become much more conscious in recent years and is rightly concerned about their impact on the environment. This movement has seen a shift towards bespoke design and manufacture where ethical materials are front of mind.

For many years, the market focused on diamond or gemstone provenance, now the end-consumer is also concerned with the provenance of their precious metal. Palloys has always been focused on the ethics of its precious metals and is even currently exploring the use of ABC Refinery’s provenance app, Provcheck for the jewellery market.

Palloys is committed to the use of 100 percent Australian gold in its end-to-end fabrication and manufacturing processes, as well as ethical and responsible sourcing and business practices. This focus aligns with growing consumer awareness and demand for ethically produced goods and supports global efforts to promote environmentally friendly and socially responsible production methods. Palloys commitment to environmental stewardship also supports social and ethical considerations throughout the wider jewellery market and supply chain. 

In addition, personalisation appears to be the key to jewellery’s future. Palloys is seeing a move towards mass customisation with the end consumer desiring an individual feature or personalisation to make an item uniquely theirs. Palloys fabricated metals are also seeing a desire for non-traditional and bonded metals, and Palloys production ‘stone-in-place’ casting to reduce increasing setting costs. The challenge for jewellery is how to accommodate the growing demand for personalisation whilst also driving the most competitive price.

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