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Vol.2 1998

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DIAMONDS, South Sea pearls and white metals are expected to continue as strong trends at the next Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, Asia's most comprehensive trade fair of its kind, to be held from March 15-18, 1999.

The show will feature more exhibitors, a wider range of jewellery products and expanded exhibition space that will cover more than 16,000 square metres in Halls 1, 2 and 5 of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre - an increase of 9.3% over 1998.

The four-day event is organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) and co-organised by the Hong Kong Jewellers' and Goldsmiths' Assn, the Hong Kong Jewelry Mfrs' Assn, the Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Mfrs' Assn and the Diamond Importers' Assn.

"The Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, entering its 16th year in 1999, has been playing an important role in boosting Hong Kong's exports of jewellery products. It also serves as a gateway for international jewellery companies to develop the Asia-Pacific market," says TDC senior manager of exhibitions Benjamin Chau.

"The show is one of the must-come events for worldwide jewellery buyers and traders sourcing fine jewellery, gemstones, pearls, raw materials, as well as machinery and packaging accessories. In 1998, the jewellery show attracted a record number of 776 exhibitors from 27 countries and regions, a 25.4% increase over 1997. In 1999, we expect the number of exhibitors will further increase," Chau says.

For the first time, a World of Pearls and Gems section will be set up to feature a wide range of pearl jewellery and cultured, freshwater and South Sea pearls, as well as coloured gemstones presented by members of the Int'l Coloured Gemstone Assn. Another new section, the Designer Jewellery Corner, will showcase a collection of designer jewellery.

Pearl jewellery specialist Rio Pearl expects to show more loose South Sea pearls and South Sea pearl necklaces in white gold at the March show, says manager Regina Yeung. "South Sea pearls have been getting more popular," she says, adding that ring and earring sets should also do well and that "medium- to high-quality" products are expected to be in demand.

The Second South Sea Pearl Jewellery Design Competition will be held in conjunction with the jewellery show. Winning pieces will be on display at the show.

At Denis Hazell Int'l Ltd, known for its high-end handmade jewellery, diamonds are in and coloured stones are out, says manager Henry Wong.

"Coloured stones are very weak. Everyone wants diamond jewellery and everyone is looking for a white look," Wong says. He expects a large part of his business at the show will be jewellery in 18K yellow or white gold, or platinum, set with diamonds.

"We will also be promoting necklace, earring, bracelet and ring sets," he adds. Although he hopes the Asian economic situation will improve next year, Wong says if it does not the company may manufacture jewellery with smaller, fewer stones to generate more orders in the region. "Instead of using stones 30 points and up, we might go down to 8-10 points," he says.

Diamond jewellery is also shaping up as a prime product for Dewcarat Ltd. General manager Bronia Yip says: "We mainly do coloured stones but now coloured stones are not that good. The diamond trend is very strong."

Yip says the company plans to offer a wide variety of new designs at the upcoming show. "We mainly make US-style designs. We use small round or taper diamonds, from 1-3 points, in a design with a total of 1-2 carats," she says. Rings, pendants and earrings are expected to be the company's most saleable items.

Apart from individual exhibitors, the fair will feature international pavilions with group exhibitors from Australia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and the US.

The Hong Kong International Jewellery Show '98 was attended by 15,918 buyers from 95 countries and regions, registering an increase of 32.2% over 1997, according to German-based independent audit specialist, the Society for the Voluntary Control of Fair & Exhibition Statistics.

Hong Kong exported jewellery worth HK$10.5bn in 1997. Leading markets were the US, Japan and Germany.

WRITTEN BY Andrea Pawlyna

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