Precision Jewellery is celebrating 40 years of success manufacturing die-struck and machined findings and settings.
A jeweller looking for someone to manufacture machine-made die-struck settings changed the destiny of John and Jim Ketas 40 years ago.
The two brothers were running a successful business in Sydney’s West Ryde making tools and specialised machinery for a large number of manufacturers including BHP, STC, AWA and Sunbeam but were looking for a new business opportunity.
“It was a tough business,” recalls John.
“We were constantly developing new equipment for others but we felt that we were not being adequately rewarded for our effort. We both felt that we would be better off producing our own line of products, but we didn’t really know what we should produce.”
The answer to the brothers’ dilemma appeared in the shape of a friend who was a jeweller.
“He kept arriving at our workshop with a setting saying that if we could make it he could sell hundreds of them,” says John.
“We were not convinced. However after meetings with several jewellers we realised there was a need for this product – it was worth the risk of tooling up.”
A year later Precision Jewellery officially opened for trading.
John says the demand for the company’s findings was immediate.
“We were producing findings to the same standard as that produced by hand,” he recalls.
“Our production method uses machinery to imitate a jeweller hand making jewellery.
“The whole procedure is labour intensive but the quality of the workmanship and materials shows in the end products.
“We don’t cast our pieces. Everything is die-stuck or machined.
“While a jeweller will sit at his bench with a hammer and die-plate the metal we complete the same process with a press. While a jeweller will use saws to cut claws we have machines that will cut them in the same way.”
John stresses that Precision’s production methods can even achieve superior results for some products that “jewellers struggle with”.
“For example a jeweller making an earring stud would have to make the top section and then solder a wire on the bottom to complete it while we can make it from just one piece of metal in most cases.”
“This means that our piece is stronger.”
“Most jewellers recognise that buying our findings saves hours of time which can be put to better use away from the bench and on the shop floor selling their jewellery.”
Today John and his wife Mary are the directors of the company (Jim retired 10 years ago), while their son Leon, who is also a tool maker and joined the business in 2001, is the factory manager.
Leon, who did a variety of jobs before deciding his future lay in the family business, says Precision now stocks over 400 models.
“This translates to over 10,000 choices in different sizes and materials for jewellers to select from for immediate delivery,” says Leon
However, he readily admits the business is no longer producing at its “peak levels” of the 1970s and 1980s.
“The world has become a smaller place since then and like most local manufacturing jewellers we have struggled to compete with cheaper imports.
“Our methods are labour intensive and cost more to produce than castings and cheap imports. We compete on quality.”
John says Precision Jewellery has grown and changed significantly in the last 40 years, but its commitment to quality has remained the same.
“It has always been Precision Jewellery’s policy to research and develop new products and this will continue into the future.”
For more information contact Precision Jewellery, phone (02) 9681 2000 or visit http://www.precisionjewellery.com.au/