Members of the British Jewellers’ Association (BJA) and the National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) have voted in favour of combining the two bodies to form a single National Association of Jewellers (NAJ).
The decision was made at Goldsmiths’ Fair this afternoon as part of the NAG’s annual general meeting.
NAG members voted to become part of the British Allied Trades Foundation by 129 to 10.
BJA members voted to change the organisation’s name and become part of the newly formed NAJ by 103 to 4.
Both votes were unanimous in the room, with everybody present in favour of the merger, and nobody abstaining. The only votes against had been registered by proxy.
Applause broke out at precisely 5pm when the NAG vote was announced, and again at 5.23pm when BJA count was completed.
“The is an historic day,” pronounced Andrew Hinds, chairman of the National Association of Goldsmiths, at the conclusion of proceedings.
The merger of the NAG and the BJA has been attempted more than once over the past 30 years, so its completion today, although a formality, was the culmination of years of painstaking negotiation.
There is still a considerable amount of work to do to complete the legal unification, which it is hoped will be finalised by January next year.
A new brand is being created for the National Association of Jewellers, and it is still far from clear who will emerge as the leading figures in the executive team. Gary Wroe, chairman of the BJA told Professional Jeweller on the sidelines of the AGM.
It was confirmed that Patrick Fuller (pictured above), founder of WB The Creative Jewellery Group and a former supremo at both the BJA and NAG, will become the NAJ’s first president.
The NAG/BJA unification working party was instrumental in formulating a comprehensive proposal for the unification of the two associations. The NAJ will now represent over 2,000 businesses and will strengthen the provision of education, training and lobbying government with a clear vision on raising standards.
The NAJ will create a strong brand identity that 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, chairman of the National Association of Goldsmiths 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, chairman of the British Jewellers’ Association 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.”
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