Jewellers' Network

The Jewellers’ Story

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>> View “In conversation with David Forman”
>> View “In conversation with Ernie Blom”
>> View “In conversation with Vijay Shah”
>> View “In conversation with Michael Pneuma”
>> View “In conversation with Alice Weil”

The acquisition of Metal Concentrators by our family company brought all of us into a new world of jewellery, manufacturing as well as refining.

For me personally, having spent many years in the chemical industry, it has been an enlightening exposure to an entirely different industry and I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet the variety of people and personalities that make up this important sector of the South African economy. What struck me after a few months was the difficult position the industry finds itself in with respect to legislation, the problems of falling within the ambit of the Mining Charter, financing of VAT and the loss of market share to foreign competitors.

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These factors, amongst a number of others, have led to some negativity within the industry resulting in a lack of investment and a consequent decline in the numbers of retailers and manufacturers.

My wife Charlotte, son Grant and I spent many hours in discussion and were led to the thought of attempting to highlight the difficulties which our jewellers face on a day to day basis. This resulted in The Jewellers’ Story. To date we have published 5 Caricatures in the SAJN and a number of Bridal magazines (the 5th one is a little bit of fun for Jewellex highlighting some of our staff – see if you can guess who they are!).

These are attempting to highlight some of the significant issues in the industry and presenting the compelling case to the public that purchasing South African manufactured goods has a number of benefits for the jewellery purchaser as well as developing the industry to be more inclusive of all the talented people in our country. Interestingly, a number of magazines declined to publish the caricatures because they were regarded as too controversial!

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The Facebook page we created for The Jewellers’ Story has had thousands of hits and has hopefully widened the eyes of the buying public to the situation of the South African jeweller as well as emphasising the fact that they design and manufacture products that can compete with the best in the world.

The second phase of the project involves the collection and publishing of the life stories of a number of our jewellers. From what I have seen to date, our jewellers have fascinating stories to tell; stories which demonstrate their resilience and the extraordinary ways in which they have coped with the changing dynamics of the South African industry. There is indeed a lot to learn from their stories.

I am often asked the question why the Metal Concentrators brand is nor splashed all over the various adverts. There is one main reason about which I feel quite strongly. Our business success is largely due to our suppliers and customers and I believe that we have some obligation to “payback” in a manner which is focussed on their benefit and not ours. The Jewellers’ Story like all journeys will go through a few phases before reaching a destination. The people we touch along the way are welcome to send us ideas and thoughts as to how we can continue the story and reinforce this initiative to assist our industry to survive and indeed prosper.

~Neville Crosse ~