Bring in Your Bling!!
You’d expect the National Association of Jewellers to have some very nice chains of office for our president and chair, alongside other items created or donated over the years; and you’d be spot on. So it struck me that my Association is not unique. Every trade body or professional institute I’ve previously worked for has some ‘bling’ – as my president at a former job called it – locked in a safe or tucked away in the Chairman’s sock drawer (a genuine example!). Most won’t have had it valued in a long while, if at all; it’s not in the forefront of an association CEO’s mind. Similarly, it’s difficult to spot problems of wear and tear when the item concerned lives in a box and is hurriedly taken out for the occasional black tie event or AGM, and whisked back to the work safe until its next outing in six months.
Many items will require repair or enamelling/engraving to keep them up to date, perhaps as part of the succession process, to list past and current post-holders, or to mend that dent / replace a gemstone when the chairman fell over at the Christmas party. Few however will have actually done this repair and refurbishment work, leaving the chains of office looking less than their best, and passing the buck to a future you or a successor. Enter stage left, your friendly neighbourhood jeweller.
Why not contact a professional jeweller local to you, and ‘bring in your bling’ for a clean or repair, maybe even have it valued by their in-house valuer (look for the letters IRV to get a trained professional from the Institute of Registered Valuers). It could make a great story for the local media and your trade press – members will be interested to know the history behind their association’s chains of office, and the President will have something to talk to people about.
In our own case (and I shudder to think about this), NAJ had a chain of office that hadn’t been valued for many years, and we subsequently discovered was under-insured by about 50%. When the item in question is almost 100 years old and mainly made from 18 carat gold and gemstones, you can imagine the problems if it had been lost or irreparably damaged.
The jeweller concerned may even be able to offer a discount for you or your members on their products, and some jewellers have produced branded cufflinks or badges in liaison with associations and societies, an income generator for you.
To find a local jeweller or IRV valuer visit www.naj.co.uk – and do let me know how you get on!
Simon Forrester, Chief Executive, National Association of Jewellers