JAA President’s message

2021 is a year for celebration! Jo Tory48th JAA President Firstly, it is the year of the JAA Jewellery Awards, which will always bring excitement…

2021 is a year for celebration!

Jo Tory
48th JAA President

Firstly, it is the year of the JAA Jewellery Awards, which will always bring excitement to the industry.

It is also the JAA’s 90th birthday, and I think that really needs to be celebrated! We certainly have plans to mark this ninety-year milestone with festivities, so stay tuned for our announcements!

The JAA was founded in July, 1931, during the Great Depression, when unemployment was close to 32 percent, and it has weathered significant worldwide events and industry fluctuations in its ninety-year history.

Post WWII saw European immigration bring new designs, outlook and skills to the decorative arts and jewellery industry. With the post war boom, jewellery manufacturing and retail flourished.

Manufacturing has seen enormous changes over the years. The development of sophisticated and innovative software programs and advanced machinery has slashed labour costs however, the need for traditional skills and hand manufacturing will never die. One has only to look at the skill levels of the JAA Award entries and the interest in high level jewellery making to recognise that.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century there has been a plethora of synthetic and laboratory-grown gemstones entering the market and consequently the need for an increased knowledge to keep up with an ever-changing industry. We have seen our industry threatened by cheaper, mass produced imports. Nevertheless, the Australian jewellery industry has flourished because the consumer recognises quality over quantity.

In the 1960/70s the jewellery store was augmented by the art gallery, and those that worked “on the bench” were seen as artisans. This trend gave jewellers a forum, outside the commercial space,to exhibit designs that pushed design parameters. Similar galleries overseas held exhibitions of jewellery by Australian artisans. Australian Jewellery was receiving the international recognition it deserved.

The introduction of the internet has changed the way the world operates. It has brought challenges, opportunities and growth to our industry in unexpected ways. Not only is there a broader marketplace in which to compete, but designers and everchanging trends are quickly accessed. The fact that consumers can be educated when it comes to jewellery and gemstones explains the growth of online sales in the fine jewellery sector.

Whilst some industry members still experience the impacts of Covid, our industry currently contributes $4 billion to the Australian economy. The relevance of our Association continues.

I am constantly asked why we should be members? The JAA brand is trusted throughout Australia and the world. We work for you and the consumer to give our industry the trust and confidence that is achieved through strength in numbers.

We look forward to witnessing future trend sand changes, supporting our members and this great industry, for years to come!