Alison Browne plans to grow membership and boost jewellery education.

The Retail Jewellers of Ireland (RJI) has appointed Alison Browne as its new president, outlining her plans to work closely with the National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) to increase jewellery education and the SaferGems initiative across Ireland.

Browne will hold the president role for two years, having been announced at the RJI’s recent AGM, which was attended by the NAG’s chief executive Michael Rawlinson.


She said: "Everything we do in the RJI has to be for our members benefit and I will never lose sight of this. We are ensuring also that our members adhere to strict rules when taking in Cash for Gold, so that all our transactions are traceable and legal. We have created our own Department of Education and will shortly launch our beginners Jewellery Starter Course for those members of staff who have just started in the jewellery business and are still trying to decide if it is for them. We see this course as a stepping stone for JET1 and JET2, and outstanding students will receive a scholarship to go forward to do the highly respected JET1 exam."

Browne added: "The RJI is embarking on dividing Ireland into areas and each area will have their own area representative from the Council of the RJI. Each area rep will meet with the members regularly throughout the year to hear what the members have to say and thus making sure that the RJI will always be focused on what the members want."

The RJI is also planning to increase its membership in 2014, having developed a simpler application form and constitution to allow easier access to membership. It also hopes to increase its relationships with the Federation of Jewellery Manufacturers of Ireland (FJMI) and the Irish Jewellery Association (IJA), as well as the Responsible Jewellery Council. 

Among Browne’s other plans for the RJI is the support of the new Jewellery Show at the Autumn Gift Fair in Dublin, which she descrbies as the first large jewellery show in Ireland for a number of years. "The RJI has given the Jewellery Show our full support and will be encouraging all of our members to attend," Browne said.

She is also planning to set up a conflict resolution procedure for RJI members with an independent ombudswoman to oversee any problems which might arise.

"I would like to thank the National Association of Goldsmiths for the great work they carry out on an ongoing basis and for being sharing their knowledge with the RJI," Browne added.