23 Feb 2004
Platinum Jewellery(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 01,2004)
Hong Kong Universal Jewellery Ltd's stunning European-style necklace, earring and ring set in platinum features oval and pear-shaped emeralds nestled in a bed of round and marquise-cut diamonds
Perhaps it's platinum's hi-tech look, its chic, silvery-white colour or the fact that it's almost twice as expensive than gold. Whatever the reason, platinum jewellery has outshone many of its competitors over the past few years and its popularity looks set to continue.
At Denis Hazell Int'l Ltd, floral designs in platinum and diamond jewellery are making a comeback. "It's a very classic, very saleable look," says Alain Wong, chairman of the 49-year-old company. The combination of 950 platinum and fancy-cut diamonds in oval, pear and marquise shapes appeals to people looking for both pizzazz and timeless style.
"We normally use small stones - 5-35 point diamonds," Wong explains, adding that coloured stones have fallen out of favour over the past few years. When economic conditions weaken, he says people tend to revert to diamonds as a safe buy. About 10% of the company's jewellery contains sapphires, rubies, emeralds or pearls.
Denis Hazell's 60 workers handcraft more than 100 pieces of jewellery per month at the company's Chinese mainland factory in Shenzhen. Prices range from US$1,000-300,000 per piece FOB Hong Kong. The firm caters to younger wearers by producing moderately priced platinum and diamond jewellery, with prices at US$2,500 or below. Eighteen-karat white gold can be substituted for platinum in any of the company's lines.
Exports are distributed to the US, Europe, the Middle East, Japan and Southeast Asia, although the US takes the lion's share with 55% of sales. No minimum order requirement applies and deliveries are sent 10-30 days after order confirmation.
Hong Kong Universal Jewellery Ltd's reputation has always rested on bold, dramatic jewellery featuring large 20- or 30-carat centre stones. The 55-year-old firm's design style strongly reflects European traditions. Jewellery made of 950 platinum and diamonds or platinum and diamonds accented by a single, coloured precious stone are among its trademark offerings.
"Some of our customers only like diamonds, but emeralds have become more popular this year, so we are using more of them," says manager Kevin Lee.
A three-piece, one-of-a-kind, handmade set (necklace, earrings and pendant or necklace, earrings and ring) can cost US$130,000 FOB Hong Kong, but Hong Kong Universal relies more on volume sales of cast jewellery targeted at 20-year-olds and up.
A simple platinum and diamond ring in the company's Jewellery for Life collection, launched last year, can sell for just US$500. "This is our daywear collection. We use heart-shaped, leaf, butterfly and flower designs," says Lee. The most saleable range is US$800-1,500 per piece. The collection is also available in 18-karat white gold.
Minimum orders are negotiable, with shipment four weeks after order confirmation. Much of the company's production takes place at its 250-worker, mainland factory in Panyu, but the most expensive pieces are still made in Hong Kong. Japan, the US and the UAE are the company's major export markets.
Platinum jewellery sets remain a popular item at Noble Jewelry Ltd, which has earned ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications. According to marketing executive Winnie Ku, jewellery sets account for about 50% of platinum jewellery sales. "The Middle East is big on sets, usually three-piece sets (ring, earrings and necklace, or ring, pendant and earrings)," notes Ku.
The company's 800-1,000 workers in Panyu turn out 10,000 medium- to high-end pieces of jewellery each month. Ninety per cent of its jewellery is set in 900 or 950 platinum or 18-karat white gold, either solely with diamonds or diamonds and other gemstones such as rubies, sapphires and emeralds or Akoya, South Sea or black Tahitian pearls. "We might use one type of coloured stone per piece or even two or three," says Ku. Coloured gemstone sizes are mainly from 20-50 points.
Prices range from US$500-3,000 per piece FOB Hong Kong for rings, earrings and pendants to US$2,000-10,000 per piece for necklaces. Europe, the US, Japan and the Middle East are Noble Jewelry's primary export markets. There is no minimum order requirement. Delivery time after order confirmation is 10-15 days for rings, earrings and pendants; 20-25 days for bangles and brooches; and 30-40 days for necklaces.
Fine jewellery with diamonds set in 900 to 950 platinum is among Myer Jewelry Mfr Ltd's comprehensive range of jewellery in platinum and 18-karat yellow or white gold, represents about 40% of the company's monthly production. "We do fashion oriented and classic styles," says Bonnie Cheung, sales administration manager at the company, established in 1977.
Prices for jewellery from a typical daywear collection range from US$500-20,000 per piece FOB Hong Kong. Minimum orders are negotiable; deliveries are made 30-45 days after order confirmation. "Our platinum and white gold items are the most popular but yellow and white combinations are gradually coming back," Cheung adds.
The company exports worldwide and is known for its designs, craftsmanship and the finishing of its jewellery.
If design and fine craftsmanship count with the world's platinum jewellery buyers, then Hong Kong firms can supply the right piece for any occasion.
BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
Denis Hazell Int'l
Unit 4, 3/F
Fu Hang Ind Bldg
1 Hok Yuen St East
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Kong Universal Jewellery Ltd
25-41 Lyndhurst Terrace
Collection Mfr Ltd
4-4A Humphrey's Avenue
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Jewelry Mfr Ltd
Flat C, G/F, Phase 1,
41 Man Yue St
Hung Hom, Kowloon
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