Gary Kokozian, the founder of Kokozian Jewellery Manufacturing, passed away this month after a 10-year struggle with multiple myeloma.
Born in Amman, Jordan in 1947, Gary had “an innate love of jewellery making”. His father wanted him to join the family business as a butcher but Gary insisted that he wanted to be a jeweller and therefore started work at a family friend’s jewellery factory when he was 16.
A couple of years later he was drafted into the Jordanian army but was spared duty in the frontline as his jewellery making talent was recognised and he was instead employed to make pins, acclamation badges and adornments for the generals. After returning from the army, Gary continued to work in the Jordanian jewellery industry until he migrated to Australia in 1978, where he worked for a Sydney jewellery manufacturer before opening his own jewellery retail store in Ashfield.
While successfully running the store, Gary began making curb bracelets, curb chains, gate bracelets and padlocks in a “little workshop” behind it until the demand grew so much that he sold the store in 1988 and established Kokozian Jewellery Manufacturing in larger premises in Chippendale.
In more recent years, Gary moved the factory to Wetherill Park as his illness made the daily commute to the city more difficult before eventually moving the factory to the Philippines in 2011.
Gary’s son, Michael, who has been involved in the running of the business for 20 years and is now the managing director, said Gary “saw many years of success and hardship” as his business became known for its high-quality product.
“My father had a true love and natural flair for the art of manufacturing jewellery,” he said.
“I intend to continue his legacy of high quality jewellery manufacturing.”