8 Sept 2004
Semiprecious Jewellery(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 02,2004)
Bangles & Bracelets
A Colourful Cornucopia
|Purple, green, yellow and orange cubic zirconia combine to create Yan Wa Jewellery Co's delightful Lucky Stone silver and rhodium rings and earrings|
The vast world of semiprecious stones offers a refreshing array of choice and affordability for astute jewellery enthusiasts. Not only that, the cheerful colours of semiprecious gemstones can brighten up any piece of jewellery.
Perennial favourites such as citrine, amethyst and blue topaz are among those used by mass-market manufacturer JPI Ltd, which produces up to 50,000 pieces per month at its factory in Panyu on the Chinese mainland. The company does it all - from trendy to classic designs, casual to dressy and young to mature styles.
Of its two branded lines, the lower price JPI label is geared towards mass merchants and wholesalers and sells at price points of US$10-50 per piece FOB Hong Kong for coloured stone jewellery and US$10-200 for diamond items.
Jewellery in the higher end Studio j line, which features larger, better quality stones, costs US$200-3,000 per piece FOB Hong Kong. Pieces showcasing diamonds have larger stones with VS quality or higher, while coloured stone sizes, either semiprecious or precious, run to a mixture of sizes and special cuts.
"JPI has a US design style, with more elaborate pieces and we use more stone combinations to give a bigger look and greater perceived value," explains managing director Gus Xilias. "The Studio j line is elegant and more European in style, with a bigger focus on the centre stone."
As North America is the company's biggest market, jewellery is typically set in 10-14K white or yellow gold. Europe accounts for the remaining 30% of exports.
JPI maintains a huge inventory of 15,000 models and the company's 12-member design team adds at least 200 new models per month. Minimum order is 10 pieces per style, delivered four weeks after order confirmation.
At Yan Wa Jewellery Co, the silver and rhodium Lucky Stone series featuring cubic zirconia in a variety of colours is the company's best-selling line. "We use purple, green, yellow and orange cubic zirconia in soft colours, like a rainbow," says spokeswoman Mandy Yim.
She claims Yan Wa is the first company in Hong Kong to do four colours. "The four pieces of cubic zirconia are combined and glued together to form a seamless whole," Yim explains.
There are more than 100 pieces in the Lucky Stone collection, which includes pendants, earrings, rings, bangles, bracelets and necklaces. Yan Wa's main customers are 20- to 35-year-old women in its key markets - the Philippines, Australia, Japan and the US - who prefer "casual, not so complicated" designs, Yim notes.
The company produces 10 kilogrammes per month of sterling silver jewellery and findings, cubic zirconia jewellery and silver and rhodium jewellery at its mainland factory in Chaozhu. Prices range from US$10-70 per piece FOB Hong Kong for a minimum order of 20-50 pieces per style, delivered 2-4 weeks after order confirmation.
Another company that specialises in sterling silver and cubic zirconia jewellery is Eastwin International Jewellery Ltd, which is launching a new line that combines cubic zirconia and mother-of-pearl this month.
"We're selling the concept as a set - although pieces can be bought separately - and that have mother-of-pearl as the main stone," explains marketing executive Judy Lo.
Besides mother-of-pearl, Eastwin mixes and matches its cubic zirconia with onyx, abalone, coral and turquoise in pieces priced from US$3-US$40 each FOB Hong Kong. The company requires a minimum order of 120 pieces per item, with delivery time 45 days after receipt of deposit.
Having branched out from wholesaling loose gemstones into manufacturing jewellery over the last few years, Kai Lam Gemstone Jewellery Co now turns out 10,000 pieces of 14K yellow, white and rose gold jewellery set with semiprecious stones per month. Settings in 10K gold are also available.
"Jewellery has grown to more than 50% of our business and we plan to shift solely to jewellery in the future," says manager Andrew Chan, manager.
Pieces with synthetic versions of popular gemstones, such as amethyst and citrine, can be ordered, as well as treated blue topaz. Customers may also choose from a large selection of natural stones, including red garnet, peridot, aquamarine and amethyst. Gemstone sizes can range from 50 points to 10-20 carats, while 1-30 point diamonds or cubic zirconia add glittery accents.
Current fashion trends are reflected in the 19-year-old company's design style, which caters to the tastes of its biggest market, the US. "Concave cuts have been trendy recently, because of the way each facet is able to enhance a gemstone's sparkle," adds Chan.
Prices range from US$100-US$1,000 per piece FOB Hong Kong for minimum orders of 100 pieces delivered in approximately 30 days, depending on order quantity.
Burgeoning demand for semiprecious gemstones has made them an industry unto themselves over the years, and Hong Kong's jewellery manufacturers have been quick to seize opportunities to grow along with it.
WRITTEN BY LEONORA WOLFE
Designlink Jewellery (Mfg) Ltd
9/F, Blk Q
Kaiser Estate Stage 3
11 Hok Yuen St
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Good Way Jewellery Mfy Ltd
Unit 23, 11/F, Blk B
Focal Ind Centre
21 Man Lok St
Hung Hom, Kowloon
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