The Gold and Silversmiths Guild of Australia was formed in 1988 by a group of jewellers concerned that work produced in Australia should be marked as such. Several other attempts, the first going back to the 1890s, have been made but none of these gained industry acceptance in general and duly withered.
This Guild’s attempt has been one of the longest standing; our members firmly believe that work produced in Australia should be appropriately marked.
The first requirement of prospective members is that they have their own Maker’s Mark. Our members are all individuals passionately involved in their work and find it difficult to understand why a person involved in this or any other creative activity would not mark their own creations. The Guild accepts the time-honoured practice of jewellers and gold and silversmiths to personally mark their work as desirable, from a position of personal pride, and from the customer confidence point of view.
These members’ marks are struck on fine silver touchplates for posterity, again an old tradition.
They are an integral part of the history of this industry in Australia; no other organization in this profession has such a record.
Acceptance as a member entitles you to the use of the Guild mark.
This mark is registered in various forms, and therefore protected and cannot be used by anyone not a current member of the Guild, each punch is numbered and issued to a member on joining.
Its use is subjected to strict rules and may be summarised as such:
- The Guild Mark can only be used on metals meeting the Standards now currently set by the Guild.
- The Guild Mark cannot be used unless accompanied by the member’s mark.
- The Guild Mark cannot be used unless accompanied by the appropriate metal purity mark.
- The use of the Guild Mark remains optional; all productions need not be marked.
- The use of the Date punch is optional, however if it is used it must be accompanied by the Guild Mark.
The Guild system of marking uses a date mark which members purchase each year, commencing on January 1st .The mark exhibits the same letter as that used by The Worshipful company of Goldsmiths – Guildhall in Britain, but within the shape of the diamond border.
This provides ease of recognition of the date of manufacture, as collectors and others interested have ready access to those images. The use of the date letter is optional but desirable as it provides full providence of a work.
Whilst primarily established to administer a marking scheme the Guild does undertake other activities on behalf of its members. It is an incorporated body in the state of Victoria, and has provision for State Branches.
A Branch was established in NSW in 2002.
The National Council operates out of GAA House in Spencer Street Melbourne, wherein it has a practical workshop for the development and training of members and the industry in general. The Guild is also concerned with training of apprentices, and other institutions, which hold related courses, and has over the years made contributions to curriculum development.
From time to time, the Guild holds social events for members, depending on demand, and usually holds its AGM in conjunction with an annual dinner.
One of the most valuable assets of a member, apart from your punch, is the edition of ‘The Touchplate”. This journal is produced quarterly and contains informative articles, opinion and reports from Council, thus enabling members to network with each other on matters of mutual interest.
Being a member provides a feeling of camaraderie and knowledge of belonging to an industry organization that cares about standards – of material, workmanship, integrity and consumer protection. It is an organization which respects its industry traditions, and is, in a very real sense, an integral part of Australian history.
In fact, it is difficult to see why a serious designer/maker in Australia would not be a member of this Guild.
The Guild welcomes further inquiry. Please write to the Guild at PO Box 379 GPO Melbourne 3000.
Please bookmark our website www.gsga.org.au