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Thomas Jewellers... A History

Established in 1896 with a modest shopfront in Ballarat, Thomas Jewellers has since grown to become one of Australia’s oldest and most trusted family jewellers with stores all over Victoria. Known for carrying a wide range of jewellery of exceptional value, we pride ourselves in delivering satisfying shopping experiences for our customers.

The Early Years

The Thomas family business began in 1896 when its founder James Thomas commenced trading at 15 Sturt Street, Ballarat. While open to public, the business also supplied an extensive range of merchandise to smaller shops and Indian hawkers, including jewellery, watches, clocks, glassware and crystal, most of which continue to frame the Thomas Jewellers product range to this day.

Originally supported by a staff of three, James Thomas worked hard to expand the business. Handwritten ledgers reveal that on one occasion when James Thomas gave a pay increase to a staff member, he reduced the same amount from his own pay.

The Store Receives a Facelift

In 1922, James Alfred Thomas joined the family business and immediately set out to redesign the shopfront, incorporating new and interesting window displays that no other modifications were required until a move of premises in 1954.

An active member of the community, James Alfred Thomas served the family business for over 50 years. Having travelled extensively on business trips, he formed significant business relations with renowned potteries in England, some of which still supply products to Thomas Jewellers today.

Thomas Jewellers Expands

Following his completion of studies in Melbourne University, Jim Thomas joined the family business in 1962, bringing about the third generation. To further complement his studies, Jim Thomas conducted extensive overseas trips to learn from diamond experts and world famous brands such as Omega, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and Bohemia Crystal, equipping himself with specialised Diplomas in Gemmology and Diamond Technology respectively as well as qualifications as a certified jewellery valuer.

Upon joining the business, Jim Thomas’s first order of task was to overhaul the Ballarat store with a comprehensive renovation. Following that, he turned his attention towards expanding the company, purchasing the National Mutual Building in Geelong in 1978, then continuing the growth with new stores in Bendigo, Shepparton and Albury.

The year 1987 remains a significant milestone for Thomas Jewellers as that was when the first store in Melbourne opened at the Royal Arcade within the Bourke Street Mall. A long-held ambition for the business, the Thomas family then relocated to Melbourne for greater control over the rapidly expanding family business, and has been there ever since.

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