3 March 2005
Diamond Jewellery(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 01,2005)
A Girl's Best Friend
As one of the world's major diamond trading centres, Hong Kong has a special affinity for the luxurious stone, which is readily apparent in the high quality of its designs and craftsmanship.
Venerable jewellery manufacturer Universal Jewellery Design Center Ltd has been creating classic, European-style diamond jewellery since 1949. As with most other jewellery manufacturers, diamond jewellery is its dominant earner. White diamonds are typically preferred but pink, yellow and blue diamonds can be added for extra spice.
Handmade, high-end, three-piece diamond sets with centre stones up to 50 carats can command prices from US$10,000 up to US$1m FOB Hong Kong. "All of our handmade jewellery, about 200-300 pieces per month, is made in Hong Kong," says director Danny Kwan, adding that cast pieces are manufactured in Panyu on the Chinese mainland.
The company also caters to a wider clientele with a US$7,000-20,000 range that appeals to younger women. "In the lower price ranges, we use fewer, smaller diamonds and styles that are simpler," Kwan notes.
Europe and Asia account for the largest diamond pieces, while Europe and the US share the lead in terms of quantities purchased. The minimum order requirement for high-end jewellery is a single piece, but other minimums are negotiable and delivery is 4-6 weeks after order confirmation.
Each piece is given the same attention to quality and detail, reflecting the strongly design-oriented philosophy that guides its seven-member design team. "We focus on style rather than the diamonds," adds Kwan. "Medium-sized stones below one carat are the most popular today, while micro-pav?diamonds have also been a growing trend for the past two or three years."
Carat Jewellery Ltd divides its production into handmade and cast pieces, producing approximately 1,500-2,500 pieces per month. "We do sets and single pieces in light, modern designs for women 30 years of age and up," explains marketing executive Fion Wong, adding that the 14-year-old firm's prices range from US$300-30,000 per piece while necklaces sell for US$800-20,000 each.
The company's commercial-grade to top-quality diamonds, which are sourced from India, are in the 1-20 point range. "We make big pieces with smaller diamonds - there's not a big market for big diamonds anymore," Wong explains. "Fancy-coloured diamonds, such as brown, yellow, pink and treated black diamonds, can be ordered as well."
Dome-shaped rose cuts and another version, the briolette, have been gaining in popularity. "It's like an antique cut - people like it because it's different," she adds.
No minimum order is required and shipments go out four weeks after order confirmation for cast pieces and two months for handmade pieces. The company's major export markets are the US, Europe and Taiwan.
Diamond jewellery, both cast and handmade, accounts for 80% of the 500 pieces that fine jewellery manufacturer Vista Jewelry Ltd produces each month.
The company concentrates on both the work and eveningwear markets for women 30 years of age and over, says Peter Tsang, sales executive at the OEM and private label company.
Streamlined designs and settings in 18K white gold or platinum are a hallmark of the company's modern styling, along with diamonds that are VS quality and up.
"Our average centre stone for necklaces and rings might be a carat and up, but for bracelets we use 10-pointers," Tsang adds. Necklaces and bangles start at US$500 per piece and rings at US$150, with average prices of US$3,500, US$2,000 and US$1,500 respectively.
Minimum order quantities range from 5-10 pieces, with delivery four weeks after order confirmation. The company's two- and three-piece sets (ring and bangle; ring, earring and pendant) are in demand in its main export markets in the US and Europe, although individual items and rings are still the best sellers. "We're looking at increasing our sales in the US and our future plans will see us targeting Japan and Australia," Tsang says.
Meanwhile, cast jewellery manufactured by Legend Jewelry Co Ltd's 1,600 workers in Panyu on the mainland covers the full spectrum of low-, medium- and high-end products.
The 13-year-old company produces 70,000-80,000 pieces per month of fine jewellery, set in 9K, 14K and 18K gold, 925 sterling silver or 950 platinum. "We mostly manufacture diamond or precious stone jewellery," says marketing manager Monique Sze. "We have no minimum order and goods are shipped 3-5 weeks after order confirmation.
The company's 20-member design team in Hong Kong and the mainland creates country-specific jewellery aimed at women 18-50 years of age in each of its export markets - the US, Europe, South Africa and Australia.
Legend's best-selling range is priced at US$100-1,000 per piece. "In sizes, we might use several 10-point diamonds or a single 50-point centre stone," Sze says. A diamond jewellery line for teens, featuring stones several points in size and priced from US$30-200 per piece, is designed to be easy on youngsters' pocketbooks.
Affordable prices prove that today's diamond jewellery is not only for the elite - every woman can aspire to a diamond of her own and Hong Kong can definitely deliver her dreams.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
Jewellery Collection Mfr Ltd
Legend Jewelry Co Ltd
Vista Jewelry Ltd