23 Feb 2004
Karat Jewellery(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 01,2004)
Yellow, white and pink 18-karat gold creates a refreshing blend of colour in this European-style trio of necklace, bracelet and earrings from Wing Fung Gold & Jewellery Wholesale Ltd
Gold's timeless appeal transcends the fashions of the moment. Yet fashion-oriented gold jewellery has also developed into an important segment within the jewellery industry. In recent years, white gold has been the pre-eminent colour, but yellow and other hues, such as pink gold, have their own appeal.
Wing Fung Gold & Jewellery Wholesale Ltd specialises in a palette of gold colours, specifically yellow, white and pink. Necklaces, earrings and bracelets sport the tri-coloured look in machine-made chain link styles sought by fashion-conscious wearers.
"We used to use only yellow and white, but then we added pink. The combination looks quite attractive," says marketing manager Man Lui, noting that the company has more than 1,000 types of chains. "Everything is based on circles, rectangles and other geometric shapes."
The 15-year-old firm concentrates on plain 14- or 18-karat gold jewellery, unadorned by gemstones, because it is a more "classic" look, Lui explains. The jewellery is a particular favourite of office workers in the company's Asian export markets, which include the Chinese mainland, India, Korea and the Philippines.
"Chain styles are catching on in Asia, the way they did earlier in the US and Europe," Lui says. About 25% of sales are sets that include a necklace/pendant, bracelet, earrings and perhaps a ring.
Pieces are sold by weight, with the company requiring a minimum order of 500 grams. Each gram is priced at less than HK$100 FOB Hong Kong. A typical necklace that weighs 50 grams would sell for about HK$5,000. Shipments go out 2-3 weeks after order confirmation.
The play-of-colour in opal has long fascinated gemstone enthusiasts. The 18-karat gold jewellery manufactured by Honour Gems Ltd showcases a variety of opals - black, white, crystal and boulder as well as doublets and inlaid opals. Both freestyle stones and calibrated shapes are available, says marketing manager Jacky Tse. "Inlaid opals are the most popular because they're more colourful and we can create a bigger look for less money," he adds.
The company's most saleable price range is US$60-80 per piece FOB Hong Kong, with rings and pendants the best moving items. But black opal, the most valuable member of the opal family, can sell for as much as US$12,800-25,000 per piece. Small 1-2 point diamonds or 1-2 carat blue sapphires may be used as accents or complements. "We make dressier jewellery for evening wear and target middle-income women in the 30-40 years age range," Tse says.
Minimum orders are five pieces per style and shipments are delivered 3-4 weeks after order confirmation. The US takes the bulk of the 4,000-6,000 pieces of karat gold jewellery produced each month at its Dongguan factory on the Chinese mainland, with Europe accounting for the rest.
Tse says future plans include adding more freestyle designs to its opal jewellery lines and keeping its prices as competitive as possible.
Pearl lovers need look no further than Arcadia Jewellery Ltd's collection of 14- and 18-karat gold jewellery featuring Chinese mainland freshwater pearls, Akoyas, South Sea pearls and black Tahitian pearls. "We focus mainly on casual wear, although we do make a few pieces for more formal occasions," says Sharon Chan, assistant sales manager at the seven-year-old company, a subsidiary of leading pearl supplier Man Sang Jewellery Co Ltd. Diamonds and coloured stones enhance the look, while a separate gemstone and diamond line is available in 9-14 karat settings.
Fashion-oriented designs and a flair for minimalism have helped propel sales in the company's three major export markets: the US, Europe and Asia. "Each market has its own preferences. The US wants simpler designs and bigger jewellery, Southeast Asia likes pieces that are a little more complicated and Europe and Japan like modern, design-intensive pieces," says Chan.
At US$1,000-10,000 per piece FOB Hong Kong, prices fall into the medium- to high-end range. Minimum order requirement is 3-4 pieces shipped 3-5 weeks after order confirmation. Arcadia's manufacturing hub is a 2,000-square-metre factory in Shenzhen on the mainland.
The company markets its jewellery as elegant, stylish and user-friendly. "We do multipurpose pieces for added value. We can make a brooch that can be converted to a pendant or a ring," she adds.
At Polaris Jewellery Mfr Ltd, production of antique-style, chandelier earrings is being revved up to take advantage of the style's new-found popularity in the US, the company's single biggest market. In 14- or 18-karat white or yellow gold, with tiny diamonds or diamonds and eye-catching coloured stones, the earrings are in keeping with the company's dressy jewellery style.
Polaris manufactures a wide range of 8-18 karat fine gold jewellery set with diamonds and coloured stones. Prices start at US$30 per piece FOB Hong Kong and rise to US$10,000 per piece, but most sales are in the US$100-2,000 range. Minimum order size is 10 pieces per item; deliveries are made four weeks after order confirmation.
Marketing manager Benny Ho says the company plans to put more colour into its chandelier earrings in the coming year. "We are thinking about using stones like blue topaz, amethyst, rubies and sapphires or using several colours in one piece," he says, adding that the use of pink gold combined with white gold is another up-and-coming trend.
Always attractive and ever adaptable to changing market demands, gold jewellery shows no sign of losing its sales lustre this year.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
Acca Jewelry Ltd
Unit J2, 3/F, Phase II
51 Man Yue St
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Unit M3, 5/F, Phase III
11 Hok Yuen St
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Flat A, 8/F, Blk B
16 Kimberley Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Polaris Jewellery Mfr Ltd
Units 23-24, 3/F, Blk B
Focal Ind Centre
21 Man Lok St
Hung Hom, Kowloon
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