Why the fish?
Hello to all my readers and I hope you found it interesting reading about my early years as I began my journey into adulthood and into the world of creating jewellery. It has been the most rewarding and fulfilling career and the fact that I remain energised and passionate says something about my choice all those years ago.
As I mentioned in my July blog, Helen and I began our first business in the early 70s on Unley Road at Unley. It was an era when all fashion seemed to be fueled by a desire to be bigger and crazier, with jewellery, clothing, hair, art, architecture, interiors and music breaking all the rules. I have not experienced that same energy again, and it was a carefree time. Business was so much fun and not as difficult as it is today. Our store became the place to buy spectacular and never seen before jewellery items, and all our success was due to word of mouth.
In 1978, due to our popularity, we were offered an opportunity to join six other traders in a new retail venture by Howard Guerin called ‘Fullarton Village’ situated on Fullarton Road between Wattle and Fisher Streets.
We accepted the offer and in our new studio I wanted to really stand apart from the traditional jewellers and use something which was truly ours and involved some family history. I decided it would be a good time to use the PIKE* fish family emblem to create an instantly recognisable brand. Among the many questions I’ve been asked over the years, two of the most common are ‘Why the fish?’ and ‘What does it have to do with jewellery?’
My Pike ancestors emigrated to Australia in 1878 from Dorset in England where the Pike fish is caught in lakes and streams. In 1886, my great-great-grandfather Henry Pike began a brewery at Oakbank and using his mother’s recipe produced PIKES beer. Later they made tonic ale, soft drinks and cordials and all the bottles featured the Pike fish in its literal form. It became a very recognisable brand.
When I was young, my grandmother Olga gave all the grandchildren unused labels and I treasured them not only because I dearly loved my grandmother but because I considered them as part of the Pike family history. It seemed obvious to me to keep the PIKE fish trade mark active, so I chose to use it in a printed form as well as a stylised form as my jewellery hallmark (the stamp that is hammered into every piece of jewellery we make).
We have used the fish for over thirty eight years as a form of identification and it has proven to be a mark which our clientele are proud of and look for when demanding quality and innovation.
Hallmarking is not law in Australia so to choose to brand our product with our own hallmark allows buyers, jewellery valuers and auction houses to immediately recognise our jewellery – it has been proven to attract a premium because of the quality of the brand. The look of our fish has changed over the years to reflect a more modern fish, and has now become a part of our name in our latest branding – can you see it?
The Pike brand is also seen on Pikes Wines and now Pikes Beer Company of the Clare Valley SA,
and their commitment to excellence is shared. As cousins we are so proud of the affiliation we have and the fact that we can share a history of manufacturing world class products in a country and state that we are so fortunate to be able to call home. South Australian’s GREAT!!!!
*The PIKE fish as it is known is the ‘Northern Pike’ and is a carnivorous, primarily fresh water fish. The fish is usually green in colour with lighter spots on the sides and a whitish belly and bright yellow eyes. It can grow larger than 110 cm and weigh more than 13 kg.it is prevalent in Britain, Ireland, Canada and most parts of the U.S.
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