1939 – 1948
The Association was established on 7 May 1939. Due to the lack of a unified plan and a spirit of co-operation among merchants of the jewellery trade, early pioneers like Mr Chen Xue Jing, Mr Peng Bai Wei, Mr Xu Ru Bi and Mr Lim Shi Wan initiated the setting up of an Association which would allow friendly contacts and strive for the welfare of its members. The Singapore Gold & Silver Merchants Association was officially registered and opened its office on the 3rd floor of Four Seas Communication Bank.
In the early stage of establishment, our members were classified into three categories, namely, Goldsmith, Silversmith and Gold-Silversmith. There were more than 30 members with the majority coming from the Gold-silversmith trade followed by the Goldsmith trade. Factions colours were very distinct and members came from dialect groups such as the Cantonese, Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka and Hainanese. The year 1940 marked the move of our Association to 39 Upper Cross Street. As the chairmen and vice-chairmen of previous years exercised able leadership and all members of committee and members manifested concerted co-operation, it brought about overwhelming prosperity and eminence.
The Japanese occupied Singapore in 1942. During this period, the Japanese exercised strict military control and classified jewellery as a luxury commodity. Besides, they enforced the registration of jewellery system and imposed a levy of 100% on all jewellery. Our Association was entrusted by the Japanese Special Financial Department to collect the monthly luxury goods taxes from all members.
Singapore returned to British Colonial rule in 1945. Three years later, the British Colonial Government revived civil administration and strictly implemented financial controls. The American Government, however, practised the Gold Standard System (GSS) as well as stipulating the price of every ounce of gold at US$35.00.
Due to the restrictions of the Finance Control Decree, the supply of gold bars was thus limited. Besides purchasing trade-in jewelleries, some of the gold bars were brought in from Hong Kong, Macau, Switzerland, Lebanon and France by different individuals. Peace brought stability and economic activities gradually resumed.
The economic growth also brought about an increase in members. The office at Upper Cross Street was unable to accommodate a large influx of members. Securing a much bigger and better building for permanent use was of paramount importance. Thus the then President Mr Chen Xue Teng, Mr Lin Shi Wan and Mr Chen Zi Bin proposed to raise funds for this purpose. The indefatigable spirit, wholehearted dedication and overwhelming generosity of all members raised a sum of $42,740. With this acquired sum of money, our Association purchased the property located at 75 Neil Road, and it became officially operational on 22 December 1948.