The members of the NAG and the BJA have voted unanimously in favour of unifying the two trade associations at a London meeting.
The meeting, which took place at Goldsmith’s Hall near St. Paul’s Cathedral, comprised an AGM for the National Association of Goldsmiths and an EGM for the British Jewellers Association.
In a joint statement, the associations said: “a clear membership mandate has now been given for the formation of The National Association of Jewellers (NAJ)”.
Members of both associations cast their votes in support of unifying to create “one coherent and authoritative voice for both retailers and their customers”.
The NAJ will represent over 2,000 businesses and it is hope it will strengthen the provision of education, training and lobbying government with a clear vision on raising standards.
Senior figures expressed hopes the NAJ will be recognised by consumers as a mark of excellence, focusing on increasing consumer confidence in the purchase of jewellery and creating a robust Code of Practice that all members will be expected to abide by.
Andrew Hinds, NAG chairman, said: “I am delighted that we have received the endorsement of our members to complete the merger and I am excited about the future that both of our associations now have as part of a stronger body which speaks for the whole industry.
“I am confident that our members will see the benefits that we have promised and that even more will follow. We want to work with everyone involved in the wider jewellery trade to ensure that we build on our long and successful history to provide a future in which all types of businesses can both survive and thrive.”
Gary Wroe, BJA chairman, added: “With the unification of both associations, I am incredibly positive about the association’s potential. Combining the knowledge and expertise from both associations, I am confident that the NAJ will have an invaluable influence on the jewellery industry, improving brand identity, ensuring the maximum consumer confidence and ultimately creating an association that our members can be proud of.”
Kate Owen, president of the British Allied Trades Federation (BATF) added: “The future looks very positive with the 250 years of combined history and experience of the two associations underpinned by the federation’s commitment to facilitate this historic moment for the future of the jewellery industry.”
The undertaking of the legal, commercial and administrative processes will now be put into place and further information on the NAJ will be given as soon as it becomes available.
Speaking to Jewellery Focus, NAG chief executive Michael Rawlinson would not be drawn on what form the new management structure will take, saying only that this was the next factor to be addressed as part of the process.
It is thought the new association will be fully operational by January 1, 2016.