Almost two years ago I wrote sceptically about the initial murmurings of a merger between the two major jewellery trade associations.
Not out of any sense of doubt that a merger was possible, but because I was new to the industry and I asked dozens of people for their thoughts. Overwhelmingly the consensus was: ‘We’ve been here before and it never comes to fruition’. Well, now I – and all my informants, for that matter – must eat our words.
Bruising though it is for any magazine editor to have his predictions come back to haunt him, I take some solace in the fact that as a journalist and industry commentator, it is sometimes my job to be sceptical rather than right.
Under the formidable leadership of such figures as Andrew Hinds and Michael Rawlinson of the NAG, and Simon Rainer and Gary Wroe of the BJA, the wheels are now in motion for a full unification of the two main jewellery trade associations.
I was in attendance at the formal vote in London’s Goldsmith’s Hall, and it was clear from speaking to people there and indeed watching the voting process, that there is very little dissent on either side of the fence. Where concerns have been raised, there seems to be a level of transparency from the leading figures about the unification process, about how they intend to tackle certain obstacles.
The new National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) should be up and running by 1st January 2016, which will arguably mark a pivotal moment for the industry. Just as companies such as De Beers seek to cement consumer confidence with initiatives like Forevermark, it is hoped that the NAJ emblem will come to signify the ultimate accreditation for any link in the British jewellery supply chain. And that confidence, as I have argued before in my blogs, is really where this industry begins and ends.