The Life and Legacy of Mr Bruce Rutherford
Bruce Rutherford was born in 1926 as the youngest son of Kyabram orchidists, James and Annie Rutherford. But working the land for Bruce was a means to an end, not his passion. In 1940, aged 14, Bruce began his training as a watchmaker in country Victoria. It was here with FC John's of Kyabram that Bruce was first exposed to what would become a lasting passion.
In the early 1950's Bruce purchased a tractor with the intention to earn an income and eventually sell to open his own business. In 1952, he realised this vision and opened the doors of his first jewellery business in Yarrawonga, Victoria.
From 1966, Bruce spent two years working with Sotheby’s in Bond Street, London before taking a position as Sotheby's sole representative in Australia, a position he held for over 10 years. A career highlight for him was holding their first Australian auction, the estate of Sir William Dobell at the recently completed Sydney Opera House.
During this time, as a representative for Sotheby’s, he also opened his own business at 43 Bourke Street in Melbourne. Then in 1979, he took an adventurous step and opened a store at 115 Collins Street. It was here that Bruce Rutherford really began to make his mark.
In 1988, Wesley joined his father and the business specialised in fine jewellery and silver. By the 1990's the business had operated out of several stores on Collins Street eventually making 182 Collins Street home.
In 1993, Bruce's daughter Ruth joined the business as they opened a second store at 174 Collins Street. It was here that the family would establish Melbourne's first pearl specialist store.
Throughout his business life Bruce worked with all members of his family, some for a short period of time and some for many years in more significant roles. This was important to him and greatly enriched his experience of a fulfilling career and family life.
In more recent years many of his grandchildren have been involved with the business in a broad range of roles. This always brought him much joy.