Duffs Jewellers began with the birth of Mr. Frank Alexander Duff in 1906. He was born in Gippsland in a small town called Neerim South where his father owned a coach building firm.
At the age of 17 he decided to move to Melbourne to learn a trade.
He obtained work with a firm called P. Falk & Company who were involved in the wholesale industry of giftware, watches and jewellery. Shortly after he left to work with a watchmaker named Charlie Cutler where he served his apprenticeship and became a qualified watchmaker.
During the five years that he lived in Melbourne he learnt the basics of the jewellery trade, this later helped him to start his own business. In the same time, he married Dorothy Hyde and together they looked for a suitable location to start the business.
In 1927, he found a small giftware store in a town called St. Arnaud in Central Victoria and with the help of his good friend Charlie Cutler obtained a loan and moved to St Arnaud. He called this store Duffs Gift Store and traded profitably for nine years. He would work seven days a week, twelve hours a day to achieve his goals, except Wednesday afternoons when he would spend time with his family and would often take Frank Jnr. rabbit hunting.
In 1937 Frank Snr. moved to larger premises and traded as what could be best described as a general store. World War II had now begun, and it became almost impossible to obtain imported stock. Being in the jewellery industry this had an effect on a large percentage of his saleable goods, such as diamonds, gemstones, watches and china. In order to maintain a constant stock level Frank Snr. would travel to Melbourne fortnightly buying whatever goods were available.
At the end of the war Frank Snr. sent his oldest son Frank to learn the trade of watchmaking in Frankston. Frank Jnr. returned to St Arnaud in 1950 at the age of 20 to help run the family business. With three children now living in St Arnaud Frank Snr. decided to move to another town. He looked to Melbourne and Geelong and after much consideration chose Geelong.
Frank Jnr. moved to Geelong and took over F.Band & Son Jewellers in Ryrie St., while Frank Snr. wound up the St. Arnaud store. It was decided to maintain the name of F.Band & Son as they had built a reputable name in the city and an image which Frank wanted to retain.
Early in 1950 after just four months of trading the Geelong store was robbed and completely burnt out. Without the dedicated commitment from everyone it could have been the end of Duffs Jewellers in Geelong.
In 1953 Frank Jnr. opened a second smaller store in Moorabool Street. Duffs Jewellers were now well established in Geelong and had earnt a good reputation for service and quality and a prestigious name in jewellery.
In 1978 Frank Snr. celebrated his 50th year in the retail jewellery and Ross Duff joined the team. In 1989, Frank, David, and Ross opened a 2nd store in Market Square.
Sadly in 1982 Frank Snr. died after 54 years in the retail jewellery business, leaving behind a unique quality jewellery store in Geelong.
He used to say that he felt he had lived through one of the most interesting times in the history of the world. However, if anyone participates in life to the extent that he did they would receive the same rewards.
In 1986 Duffs opened a larger jewellery store in the Market Square in Geelong which is still operating successfully today.
To this day Duffs Jewellers remains a family owned and operated business and will celebrate 100 years in 2027, now consisting of 3 stores with 2 in the Geelong CBD and one in Waurn Ponds.