Gary Wroe started his career in jewellery manufacturing at 16 years old when he landed a job in the jewellery casting department at Engelhard Clad. He joined as an apprentice from the British Jewellery Association’s Youth Training Scheme… remember this fact, as it will be important later!
Gary moved to Merrell Casting, the sister company to Hockley Mint, at 17. He worked his way through the jewellery casting department, trying his hand at moulding, investing and all other aspects of the casting process. At 25, he was promoted to Production Manager and given the responsibility of organising workshop staff, managing customer orders and tracking operations in the casting workshop.
Seven years later, Gary was promoted again to Operations Manager, this time focusing on the financial side of the business, including ordering raw materials for jewellery casting and precious metal alloying, as well as developing customer relations and ultimately overseeing the day-to-day running of a busy jewellery manufacturer. During this time, Gary also attended Birmingham University to study for a master’s degree in Business Administration. He graduated with an MBA five years later. In 2017, he was named Managing Director and was promoted by Ian Merrell, part of the second generation of the Merrell family, who was the current Chairman.
Remember that important fact we mentioned? Well, in 2014, 27 years after beginning his career as an apprentice for the British Jewellery Association (BJA), Gary was appointed as its chairman for a two-year term. During this time, he worked to merge the BJA with another important association – the National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) – to establish a brand-new umbrella for the UK jewellery industry, the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ). This happened in 2016 and since then Gary has played an important role in the Association. He was appointed as the Chairperson in 2020 and despite only initially agreeing to a 12-month position, he eventually stayed in the role for the full two years. Let’s just say he’s never a man to do half a task!
Now that Gary’s tenure at the head of the NAJ is coming to an end, this piece marks the perfect time to celebrate his amazing career thus far and reflect upon his rise to a respected position among UK jewellery manufacturers and the wider industry. Gary has built upon the foundations and values laid down by the first generation of the Merrell family nearly 70 years ago, showcasing quality, standard-setting craftsmanship and the unbeatable skill of British craftsmen and women. We know there is more to come, and we can’t wait, keep rising!