Jeweller takes a closer look at the history of Smales Jewellers with Tony Smales, owner and manager, as it turns 84 this year.
FOUNDED BY Ron Smales Sr.
LOCATION Kalgoorlie, WA
Smales Jewellers is one of Western Australia’s oldest jewellers and watchmakers, and with this age comes precision and history – all beginning with Thomas Smales, the father of founder Ron Smales Sr.
Coming from the trade of stonemasonry, Thomas fixed mantel and wall clocks with his son, who went on to establish a small business at the family home in Kalgoorlie.
Ron later worked as an instrument maker for the Royal Australian Air Force’s 451 Squadron, fixing crashed aircraft in the Middle East during World War II.
After the war, Ron formalised his qualifications and completed a watchmaking apprenticeship in Perth, before opening his ‘watchmaking jewellery store’ back home in Kalgoorlie.
When Ron retired, his son – my brother Ron Smales Jr – took over the Kalgoorlie store and later expanded the business to a second location in Subiaco, Perth in 1989.
With the success of the Subiaco store, Ron Jr’s name became synonymous with the Perth luxury watch industry and his lively personality well-known on the Perth social scene.
Over the following years, Smales Jewellers opened an additional three stores across the state and three jewellery workshops in Subiaco, Kalgoorlie and Bunbury.
Within any business – especially a family business – death is a great hardship, and indeed the most recent challenge faced by Smales Jewellers was Ron Jr passing away in April 2018.
Smales operations have been continued on by the family, with ownership bestowed to me as Ron’s brother and business partner.
Alongside my wife Trish, I manage the Bunbury store and regularly travel to all the Smales Jewellers locations, especially Perth to oversee the Subiaco store and office operations.
The business continues to celebrate craftmanship every day through watchmaking services and jewellery creations.
Not only does Smales make custom designs, but also showcases a commitment to quality with exclusive brands such as Rolex, Mont Blanc, Grand Seiko and Hearts On Fire Diamonds, which are on display and available for purchase in the showrooms.
Most recently, in collaboration with the West Australian Ballet, we have launched the Bridal Core Collection which celebrates the ancestry of the brand and the precision of ballet.
I have overseen this collection, which has a signature blue sapphire embedded within the band of each ring, signifying the quality and craftmanship we strive to accomplish with each diamond creation.
Another recent success was our Gold Nugget Collection, which alongside the Bridal Core Collection has ensured the Smales name stands the test of time in the jewellery industry.
Our Gold Nugget Collection is exclusively sourced from local prospectors in the Goldfields area, known the Smales family for many years.
The nuggets are brought into the Subiaco workshop where the jewellers create beautiful pieces combining them with South Sea pearls and/or diamonds.
The most recent ‘face’ of Smales Jewellers, Shanaya King, is also a Kalgoorlie local who prospected with her father when she was growing up; one of her most treasured possessions is a gold nugget given to her as a gift from her father when she was 16.
Smales continues to create gold nugget pieces for their customers as a part of this heritage collection.
We are proud of our heritage; we strive to make sure our goods are of the highest quality the customer can afford, and while we have a team of 37, we also do our best to make sure our staff hold similar mindsets and enjoy their work.
The future is unpredictable, but the future of our business will always be to keep the integrity, quality and values of Smales Jewellers intact.
Succession means having someone to pass the business down to and that is the key to maintaining longevity; my niece Leilani and her partner have worked within the business since 2009 and continue the tradition of family within Smales Jewellers.
We always strive to deliver the best service, jewellery and watches while maintaining the family name.
Above: Ron Smales Jnr.
Left: The Smales Jewellers Subiaco store, which has been operating since 1989.
|Left: Smales Jewellers today showcases exclusive brands such as Rolex|
Above: Tony Smales, owner & manager
Left: An early window shot of Smales Jewellers
|Left: Ron Smales Sr and his apprentice at the first Smales Jewellers showroom on Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie|
|Left: Shanaya King models the Gold Nugget Collection