The British Jewellers’ Association (BJA) and the National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) are planning to form a single trade body by the end of 2015, it has been announced.
Scant details about the merger were revealed by outgoing BJA chairman Gary Williams at the association’s Annual General Meeting in London, and a pre-agreed ‘memorandum of understanding’ was signed by both parties in front of an audience of BJA members.
But whilst the announcement is not dissimilar to a statement released at IJL last September, in which it was revealed that a ‘working group’ had been set up between the two bodies, this is the first time that a formal indication has been made of a merger with a proposed timeframe.
Opening the meeting with an impassioned plea for greater industry collaboration, BJA CEO Simon Rainer said: “Here is the vision– a united industry pulling in the same direction, speaking with the same voice and creating even greater consumer confidence in the purchase of jewellery.”
A joint statement said that the BJA and NAG have “held discussions for the last 15 months”, and that the new MOU sets out a programme of work to prepare for the formation of the new national jewellery trade association. Subject to the final approval of both the existing associations, this will be formed in early 2015, the statement added.
Managing director of F Hinds, and vice chairman of the NAG, Andrew Hinds, was in attendance and was invited to the stage by Williams to explain the plans from his organisation’s perspective. He said that whilst there used to be a “clear dividing line” between the two bodies in terms of their functions, the “differences between us are becoming increasingly blurred”.
He also pointed out that the two bodies are now chasing “the same types of members” and said it was counter-intuitive to allow the situation to “turn into a turf war”.
The AGM, held at the Museum of London, was attended by around 100 BJA members and guests who afterwards were invited to view the treasures of the Cheapside Hoard which is currently being exhibited.