Gemma Baker Jewellers takes a moment to reflect on rich family tradition

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton jeweller Gemma Baker with father Leon.
Camera IconGeraldton jeweller Gemma Baker with father Leon. Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

A fourth-generation jeweller is this week celebrating 110 years since her great-grandfather made the arduous cross-continent journey from Norwich to Geraldton.

It was on doctor’s orders, given the warmer climate, that Douglas Harry Baker chose the Mid West port city as the new home for his jewellery shop, on Marine Terrace.

All these years later, great-granddaughter Gemma Baker is continuing the family tradition by running her own jewellery business by the Geraldton foreshore.

In a nod to the past, Gemma Baker Jeweller hosted a diamond gala party on Friday night as part of the Shore Leave Festival as a chance to look back on the Baker family’s history.

Ms Baker said she could not imagine a life away from the jewellery industry.

“It’s in my blood, it’s my passion, it’s what I love doing,” she said. “I’m grateful every day to be born into the industry.”

Douglas Harry Baker
Camera IconDouglas Harry Baker Credit: Supplied

However, Ms Baker was not always sure she would follow in her father Leon’s footsteps.

“I went off on a soul-searching journey as a young adult wondering whether that was my calling,” she said.

“I went on this journey and decided I wanted to be a jeweller and undertook a formal apprenticeship as an adult.”

Mr Baker, who ran the family shop for nearly 50 years from the 1960s until selling and retiring in 2009, said trust was key to a successful jewellery business.

“A great feature of this business over the years ... is it’s a trust business between people we buy things from and between the people we sell things to,” he said.

“How else can you justify spending $20,000 on a diamond?

“You’ve got to have faith in the people you are buying from.”

An Argyle pink diamond worth $20,000.
Camera IconAn Argyle pink diamond worth $20,000. Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

Opening Gemma Baker Jeweller in 2007, Ms Baker said stepping out on her own was made easier having learnt the business values passed on from one generation to the next.

“Dad pops in a couple of times a week and catches up with what we are doing,” she said.

“He still loves the industry. It’s great to have Mum and Dad’s support. Customers love it too.”

Ms Baker said the value of pink diamonds had soared since Rio Tinto ceased production at its Argyle diamond mine last year after 37 years.

“They are the rarest and most valuable diamonds in the world and they are from our own backyard in WA, which makes them very special,” she said.

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