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TRADE NEWS


Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair - another record year

Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair - another record year

19 December 2013

Split between two venues, the 31st edition of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair attracted a record crowd of nearly 53,000 buyers from 154 countries and regions.

Rings by BK Jewellery & ring by Green G
Rings by BK Jewellery & ring by Green G

With the waterfront Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center (HKCEC) serving as the base for finished jewellery and AsiaWorld Expo (AWE) near the airport hosting the exhibitors of loose stones, pearls, components, and packaging, this edition was the largest in the fair’s history with a combined area of 135,000 square metres, and also attracted the largest vistor attendance ever.

Celine Lau, director of Jewellery Fairs, UBM Asia, explained the reason for this remarkable result: “Given its strong global reputation, participating in the September Fair has become a tradition for serious international jewellers. The September Fair offers virtually every product in all major categories in the gemstone and jewellery industry. The latest edition proved once again to be the ideal platform for conducting business, gathering market intelligence and networking.”

Rings by Continental Jewellery
Rings by Continental Jewellery

In terms of sales, Lau went on to say, “Demand for diamonds and gemstones was robust. The 6.8 percent growth in visitor numbers from Asia compared to last year’s edition tells us that the region continues to be the engine of growth for the luxury jewellery market. Specifically, the number of buyers from the Chinese mainland was up 11 percent and from India up 11.6 percent. We also noticed growth in the number of buyers from other Asian nations such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.”

Pendant by E&V Jewellery
Pendant by E&V Jewellery

Even with a fair as successful as this, the show organizers realize how important it is to offer initiatives to assist visitors by facilitating their buying experience. This year UBM introduced the Fair Mobile App, which, according to Jime Essink, President and CEO of UBM Asia, Ltd., includes, “interactive floor plans and the latest information about the fair, making it easier for buyers to find their way around the two venues and thus plan their visits more efficiently.”

Building on the success of the Trade Buyer ID project launched in 2012, UBM lets buyers with the Trade Buyer ID card enter any of its fairs without registering. Over 10,000 jewellery buyers from 92 countries hold this ID card.

Earrings by MVee
Earrings by MVee

Other new features included the introduction of the diamond auction organized by the Alrosa Group, Russia’s leading diamond company. The pearl auctions continued as well.

Adding to the international flavour of the show, the Japan Pearl Promotion Society and the Japan Pearl Exporters’ Association hosted special events in its “Think Pearls, Think Japan” initiative centring on Japanese pearls.

Happy about the success of these events, Angela Chien, Manager of Shinyu Co. Ltd., in China stated, “The September fair’s status as a major B2B event makes it the ideal platform for the ‘Think Pearls, Think of Japan’ campaign. It successfully drew people’s attention to pearls from Japan. We will participate again in 2014.”

Neckalce by TTF
Neckalce by TTF

At AWE, gemstone dealers reported a strong demand from China for tourmaline, tanzanite, and emeralds. “Since the price of tourmaline is quite high now, they are opting to go for stones of 2 to 3 carats,” said Nirmal Bardiya, president of RMC Gems India. Previously, Chinese buyers wanted larger stones. Other vendors reported the trend towards smaller, high-quality stones as well. Popular stones sought by buyers from other parts of the world included garnets, blue topaz, and Paraiba tourmaline. Bardiya noted that because of the scarcity of Brazilian Paraiba, buyers are taking African material, but even that is becoming scarce.

Ring by Peter Lam
Ring by Peter Lam

Sudhir Jain, Vice President of FEI in New York noted, “We met some target overseas buyers from Europe, India, and the United States, and did good business.” Sophie Jin, a representative of Drybooms Diamonds in Belgium said there was a higher demand for diamonds compared to last year. “We met a number of target buyers from Asia, especially from China,” she said.

At HKCEC, a wide range of jewellery styles was available, from the simple to lavish. Nature influenced many designs, including enamel butterflies from Commelin and Mathon, both of France, and gold and white diamond butterfly earrings from Unicorn Jewelry Design of Hong Kong. Gwennie Tam’s nature-inspired jewellery included a spouting whale ring of opals and diamonds.

Traffic was heavy in the Hong Kong Pavilion but somewhat slower at the Premier Pavilion. In spite of this, some exhibitors said they did brisk business. Frank Ferrari, International Sales Officer for Jewelmer, was one of the happy exhibitors. “The September Fair is one of the world’s best jewellery trade fairs. It is a great platform to promote our brand,” he said. “This year, our booth gained lots of attention and attracted many potential buyers from around the world, particularly Australia, China, Turkey, and Russia.”

Ingo Henn of Henn of London also was pleased with traffic: “We met a lot of serious buyers from around the world, particularly from Asia.” Hiroko Saito, of Hiroko Saito in Japan, agreed with that assessment: “We are happy with the result of our participation because we met our target buyers from China and Hong Kong.”

Buyers’ Comments

First-time fair visitors and veterans alike shared their experiences at the show: “Hong Kong is an important jewellery trading hub and the September fair is a huge sourcing platform with good exhibitor quality and product variety. The show is fabulous, exiting and interesting. I met many new suppliers from China, India, Hong Kong, and Thailand,” noted Esther Fortunoff, President of Fortunoff Fine Jewelery in the USA.

Ring by Forever Jewels
Ring by Forever Jewels

First-time visitor Miho Aizawa, Manager of Chantecler in Japan had this to say: “It is a very big and well organized show, and the quality of exhibitors and products is very good. The fair’s mobile app is very user friendly and helped me find suppliers easily. I will visit again next year.”

Eighth-time visitor, Roland Noser, chief buyer of pearls and international production manager for Bucherer in Switzerland, commented, “It is a highly influential B2B jewellery fair and is well organized. The quality of exhibitors is good, and the product range is wide. I upgraded my badge to a Trade Buyer ID this year as it is very convenient and environment friendly. I will visit again, definitely.”

Necklace by Vasundhara
Necklace by Vasundhara

A sampling of some of the talented Asian jewellery designers and brands can be seen on these pages. The 32rd edition of the fair will be held from September 15-21, 2014 with the AWE section taking place September 15 to 19 and the HKCEC from September 17 to 21.

JNA Awards

Established by Letitia Chow, founder of JNA and 2013 chair of the judging panel, the second annual JNA Awards dinner was held at the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong on September 12. Nearly 90 entries were received from companies in 13 Asian countries and regions. From those entries a short list of 39 companies in 14 categories emerged, which were then featured in a glossy publication, “Jewellery Industry Best Practices,” given to all dinner guests.

Ring by Elan & "Spouting Whale" by Gwenie Tam
Ring by Elan & "Spouting Whale" by Gwenie Tam

According to Wolfram Diener, senior vice president of UBM Asia, “Our list of honourees serves as a testament to the fact that Asia’s jewellery industry is full of thriving and innovative businesses and individuals with diverse talents. The quality of the entries has been outstanding, and it is an honour for UBM Asia to work closely with them to further develop the jewellery industry and market in Asia. We are delighted to extend our congratulations to them all.”

JNA’s highest honour, the Lifetime Achievement Award, went to Leung Sik Wah for his exceptional contribution to the jewellery and gemstone industry. Leung, who is based in Hong Kong, was instrumental in establishing Hong Kong as a pearl auction hub. Among his other achievements, Leung is the Honorary Life President of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China and Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Quality Tourism Services Scheme, established to promote integrity and transparency in retail jewellery in Hong Kong. “Hong Kong has not only become a shopper’s paradise for jewellery retail, but also a manufacturing and trading powerhouse. It is also one of Asia’s brightest diamond and pearl trading centres,” Leung commented. “The JNA Awards has a positive impact on the industry and I feel blessed to be a part of such a prestigious endeavour.”

The Outstanding Contribution of the Year Award went to Wallace Chan, a celebrated jewellery artist, whose outstanding work spans 40 years. Chan is internationally recognized as one of several Chinese jewellery artists. He pushes the creative boundaries of design and jewellery making. He was the only Chinese jewellery artist to be invited to the 26th Biennale de Antiquaires in Paris in 2012, where he showed his collection of one-of-a-kind luxury pieces set with imperial jade, diamonds, and coloured stones. “I am delighted and honoured to have been selected for the prestigious award,” he said. “This recognition serves as a reminder of my glorious journey in the industry.”

Necklace by Jewelmer
Necklace by Jewelmer

Some of the other award winners were: Jewelmer International Corporation and Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt Ltd for Employer of the Year; TTF Haute Joaillerie for Outstanding Enterprise of the Year, Mainland China; Dharmanandan Diamonds Pvt Ltd and Pranda Group for Sustainability Initiative of the Year; and Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd for Retailer of the Year. The complete list can be seen at jnaawards.com.

www.exhibitions.jewellerynetasia.com

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