8 March 2006
Semiprecious Stone Jewellery(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 01,2006)
A Colour Bonanza
A shower of amethyst, peridot, citrine and blue topaz makes these earrings, ring and necklace in 14K white gold from M & M Jewellery Co Ltd sparkle with vivid pastel colours
The rich, varied world of gems belies their status as semiprecious stones. Indeed, Hong Kong's jewellery manufacturers are as well-versed in the market's demands for semiprecious jewellery as they are for diamonds and pearls.
With diamond prices climbing, Abba Jewellery (Mfg) Ltd decided it was time to put more emphasis on producing coloured stone jewellery. The OEM/ODM company concentrates on higher-end stones, including peridot, rubellite, aquamarine, tsavorite garnet and coloured sapphires. It also offers citrine, amethyst, blue topaz and other semiprecious gems.
"Green was a strong colour last year, but we now think rainbow colours will sell best," says owner and managing director Robert Wong.
Abba's eight designers (three in Hong Kong and five on the mainland) aim to create fashionable designs that outlast mere trends.
For example, gemstones in softer pastel colours are preferred, along with large centre stones (4-20 carats) for rings, pendants and necklaces. Diamonds are often added as accents to 18K gold mountings.
The nine-year-old company divides the 2,000-5,000 pieces of jewellery it makes each month into mass-market and higher-end items based on stone quality. "We use medium- to high-quality stones for our better pieces, and commercial grades for less expensive ones," Wong says.
FOB Hong Kong unit prices for higher quality rings, for example, range from US$300-3,000, while the mass-market variety cost US$100-1,000.
Minimum order is a single piece, and goods are exported to such major markets as the US, Europe and Japan 2-3 weeks after order confirmation. Wong adds that he hopes to expand into Russia.
Casual or formal, trendy or classic, Designlink Jewellery (Mfg) Ltd offers something for everyone, according to marketing manager Tommy Au-Yeung.
The OEM/ODM firm produces 9K, 14K and 18K white and yellow gold jewellery set with Arizona turquoise, Australian white opal, tanzanite, mother-of-pearl, onyx, malachite, lapis lazuli, coral and a sprinkling of diamonds.
"Blue is a strong colour this year, and turquoise and opal are two of our best-selling stones," says Au-Yeung. "Opal inlay is also very saleable because it lets you see the fire of the stone more. It's very popular in the US. Many of our items are best suited for daytime wear, but we can add more diamonds for more formal occasions."
A manufacturer of medium-priced jewellery, Designlink's rings, pendants, bangles, necklaces and earrings sell for US$40-1,500 per piece FOB Hong Kong. Minimum order is six pieces per style, and delivery is usually about one month after order confirmation.
Au-Yeung says that the 3,000 pieces made each month at the firm's factory in Shenzhen on the mainland go to the US, Japan, Australia and Europe.
Yee On Gems & Jewellery Fty Co Ltd cuts and polishes its own gemstones, which include turquoise, amethyst, citrine, peridot, blue topaz, lapis lazuli, tiger's eye quartz, agate and aventurine quartz.
This 24-year-old manufacturer also makes liberal use of other materials, such as mother-of-pearl, abalone shell, mabm pearls, freshwater and Akoya pearls and bamboo coral.
Semiprecious gemstones can be ordered in a wide variety of qualities. "We have six grades for turquoise alone," says senior administrative manager Lap Fong Ng Hung. "Some of our customers want good quality material and others want low prices."
The jewellery is mounted in sterling silver or 14K or 18K gold, while gold-plated items are also available.
With a factory on the mainland that occupies more than 50,000 square metres, the ODM firm can handle large volume orders for worldwide sales. Minimum order is usually 100 pieces per model, per colour, per size. For certain large items, the minimum order is 5-10 pieces. Delivery time after order confirmation is 30-35 working days.
Meanwhile, antique-style jewellery has been a profitable venture for Venus Jewellery Co from the outset. The two-year-old company produces design-intensive rings, bracelets, earrings and accessories set with white or coloured cubic zirconia usually mounted in 925 silver or 925 silver plating.
"Our sales have increased 15%-20% in the past year," says managing director Kirindi Yang. "Almost all of our customers want antique styles. In Europe, they like more complicated designs while in the US simpler styles sell better."
The OEM firm exports 10,000 pieces per month worldwide at prices ranging from US$10-400 per piece FOB Hong Kong, with earrings (US$10-40) and rings (US$10-100) at the more affordable end of the spectrum.
"Silver-plated items cost about 50% less than those using sterling silver," says Yang, adding that the minimum order is 120 pieces per style for delivery 3-4 weeks after order confirmation.
"We are also considering manufacturing jewellery that combines cubic zirconia with coloured stones and pearls, and may start production this year. We're looking into which semiprecious stones are most popular," she says, adding that breaking into the Japanese market is another possibility.
The cheery, light-hearted colours of semiprecious stone jewellery have always been a tonic for the spirit, and those who manufacture such items are optimistic that 2006 will be a truly kaleidoscopic year.
WRITTEN BY ESTER LOWE
Abba Jewellery (Mfg) Ltd
Unit 8, 12/F
Conic Investment Bldg
13 Hok Yuen St
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Andex Jewellery Ltd
Unit M3, 5/F, Phase 3
11 Hok Yuen St
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Designlink Jewellery (Mfg) Ltd
9/F, Blk Q, Phase 3
11 Hok Yuen St
Hung Hom, Kowloon