Chief executive of the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ), Michael Rawlinson discusses the ways in which a ‘Made in Britain’ mark could be beneficial to the industry.
I have always said that Britain leads the world in design and, in many areas, craft and manufacturing skills too. This is very much the case in jewellery, gold and silver smithing. We have many world renowned jewellers who have a great profile on the world stage. But how do we showcase and raise the profile of others who manufacture here in Great Britain?
Some have referenced a British hallmark applied by one of the four assay offices as a way of denoting where an item was made. I know this view is mistakenly held by some members of the public, and more worryingly is not corrected by jewellers and others in our trade for fear of losing a sale. But if we consider the evidence in the cold light of day, how can an assay office apply their mark to anything other than to demonstrate their guarantee of the finesse of the precious metal they have tested?
As a relative new comer to the industry, it appears to me that what everyone is wanting is a way to show that a product was made in Britain. Therefore that is what the Association is going to try to put in place for the industry.
There is already a trademarked logo for Made in Britain. This originated as a commercial campaign run by Glen Dimplex in 2011, to show that their cookers were made in Britain. At the end of the campaign, they reached out to see if any other company wanted to use the mark. Over 1,000 companies responded, and now there is a not-for-profit company set up to be custodians and managers of the mark and promotional campaigns.
Over the coming months, I will be researching all of the technical and logistical issues in order to prepare a fully detailed proposal for both the Association’s National Committee and the industry. There are several questions that I will be exploring and seeking to put answers to. Does the existing mark work in the context of jewellery, gold- and silver-ware? If not, do we need to create our own? Are we better joining with all of British manufacturing under a single umbrella, or shall we create something new and clearly identifiable with our own industry? What does made in Britain mean, and how can we prove that someone applying the mark is telling the truth?
I think we have a fantastic opportunity to put the Great back into the British jewellery industry. I hope you all agree with me and stand ready to support the mark, however it turns out. If you want to be part of the planning and keep up to date, please drop a comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org