Key Milestones - Singapore Jewellers Association

Key Milestones - Singapore Jewellers Association

Key Milestones - Singapore Jewellers Association

Key Milestones - Singapore Jewellers Association

Key Milestones - Singapore Jewellers Association
Key Milestones - Singapore Jewellers Association


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About SJA
Our History
1938 – 1948
In the early years post World War 1, the Singapore jewellery trade landscape was crippled by disunity and lack of trust between fellow merchants. The pioneering generation of jewellery merchants, in the likes of 陈学敬, 彭百唯, 许如璧 and 林师万would not settle for this. They dreamt of fostering co-operation and trust amongst fellow jewellers and striving for their welfare to be looked after. Thus, the idea of an Association was conceived and this led to the birth of the Singapore Gold & Silver Merchants Association on 7 May 1939, housed on the 3rd floor of the Four Seas Communication Bank.

In the early stages of establishment, Association members were classified into three categories :  Goldsmiths, Silversmiths and Gold-silversmiths. There were more than 30 members with the majority from the Gold-silversmiths trade followed by the Goldsmiths trade. The members were also from distinct dialect groups such as Cantonese, Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka and Hainanese.

In 1940, Association relocated to 39 Upper Cross Street. It was a time of overwhelming prosperity and pre-eminence for the Association and the jewellery trade as a whole due to the able leadership of Association leaders and the sincere co-operation amongst members.

However, things took a bad turn in 1942 when the Japanese occupied Singapore. The Japanese classified jewellery as a luxury commodity, imposed a levy of 100% on all jewellery and instituted a system of jewellery registration. Association was also tasked by the Japanese Special Financial Department to collect monthly luxury goods taxes from all its members.

Post war, in 1948, the British colonial government revived civil administration in Singapore and put in strict financial controls. Outside of Singapore, the American government adopted the Gold Standard System (GSS) and stipulated the price of every ounce of gold at US$35.

The Gold Control Decree restricted the supply of gold bars. Hence, besides purchasing trade-ins, additional supply of gold bars had to be sourced from Hong Kong, Macau, Switzerland, Lebanon and France. Economic activities gradually resumed and business began picking up again.

Economic growth brought about membership increment. The premises at Upper Cross Street was no longer able to accommodate a large influx of members. Securing a much bigger and better premises for permanent use became of paramount importance. With wholehearted dedication, overwhelming generosity and an unyielding spirit, the then leadership team and members raised a large sum of $42,740. This sum of money paved the way for the acquisition of a property at 75 Neil Road and the Association office became officially operational on 22 December 1948.


Standardisation of Retail Gold Price
Standardisation of Retail Gold Price

Association made two strategic policy decisions that impacted the transactionary characteristics and style of management of Singapore jewellery shops. Firstly, the standardisation of retail gold price amongst members. By making its rise and fall congruous, the interests of fellow jewellers would be protected and co-operation amongst them would be inculcated.

A Price Fixing Preparatory Committee was thus formed and it comprised representatives from the following groups:

a) Cantonese group: Ban Tai Loy, Ho Cheong, Tin Sing, Weng Cheong, Tai Wah.
b) Teochew group: Seng Mee, Kong Heng, Ming Heng, Poh Heng, Mee Kwong Chye.
c) Hokkien group: Poh Huat, Kim Bian Huat, Kim Poh Hong, Malaya.
d) Hakka group: Ngian Foong, Kwek Fah, Kwong Cheong Long.
e) Hainanese group: Wam Hock.

Secondly, the standardisation of the price charged for the repurchase of gold ornaments sold by member jewellers.

New Premises / Accelerate Gold Transactions
New Premises / Accelerate Gold Transactions

With the dedication and support from all members, the current Association building was purchased then. Association celebrated its  25th Anniversary and opening ceremony of its new premises on 3rd March 1963. The ceremony was officiated by the then Minister of Finance, Dr Goh Keng Swee.

With Singapore gaining independence in 1965, the government began to loosen the Gold Control Act. Every year, members were allowed to tender for a fixed amount of gold bars in an effort by the government to accelerate gold transactions.

The cancellation of the Gold Control Decree in the early 1970s allowed for the free transaction of gold and the smoother flow of its supply.

1980 - 1984
Renamed as Singapore Jewellers Association
Renamed as Singapore Jewellers Association

Rebranding of Association’s name to Singapore Jewellers Association took effect from October 1980.

Due to changes in the Trade Unions Act of 1982, Association was required to re-register for its operating license under the classification of SOCIETIES.  Approval was obtained from the Registrar of Societies in April 1984.