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Superb Selection At Super Show(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 02,2007)

Hong Kong Int'l Jewellery Show 2007

 

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The Hong Kong International Jewellery Show once again lived up to its reputation for excellence with an enormous selection of stones of all shapes and size

There was something for everyone at the March 6-10 event at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, with exhibitors reporting healthy interest and strong sales but no clear trends.

Diamrusa Ltd managing director Salil Shah, for example, noted that his firm's semiprecious line had picked up "quite strongly" because gold prices were high and diamond prices had gone up 30%-50% over the past several years. "Apart from blue topaz, citrine and amethyst, we're also seeing demand for stones like kunzite and moonstone," he said.

Coloured stone jewellery accounts for about 70% of production at the Bangkok-based firm, whose most sellable price range is US$300-3,000 FOB Thailand, with diamond jewellery the remainder.

"We sell medium- to high-end jewellery and focus on the design, finish and quality of the product," Shah said, and added that Diamrusa's range included simple and ornate jewellery, dressy and daytime jewellery. "We've seen growing interest in wearable jewellery."

A regular exhibitor, he said the Hong Kong fair is a must. "In the last few years, Hong Kong has become much more of a jewellery centre - it's become the spot in Asia," Shah insisted.

Elsewhere, the classical Italian Renaissance styles of Il Brillante all' Occhiello, of Faenza, Italy, were apparent in jewellery that reflects Europe's cultural and historical traditions.

With designs drawn from ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan mythology, the company's handmade pieces feature colourful enamels and a smattering of diamonds and precious stones set in sandblasted 18K gold.

Gold and enamel pendants, which sell for US$250-13,000 FOB Italy, are among the firm's best-selling items, said owner Sergio Wollmann. "We produce 150-200 pieces of jewellery a month and don't do mass market," he insisted, and added that his firm was also expert at micro-mosaic work.

A third-time exhibitor, Wollmann said his most enthusiastic customers came from Japan, the US and Australia. "Being here has been paying off, so I'll come back a fourth time," he said.

Meanwhile, the modern jadeite designs that represent about 70% of Shiu Lun Jade Jewellery Co Ltd's output are changing the appearance of this traditionally Asian gemstone.

Rectangular slabs of white jadeite adorned with small, free-floating diamonds in a centre circle and flecks of green jadeite are a far cry from the Asian-style carvings typically associated with jadeite.

"We started doing modern designs in 2000, but not many people accepted them then," director Chan Kwok Man admitted. "In the last few years though, there has been more interest from people in Europe and we think this market will get bigger and bigger."

Jadeite colours other than green, such as black, white, lavender and pink, lend themselves to fresh, new designs, many of which are based on simple geometric shapes.

Shiu Lun Jade Jewellery Co Ltd's most sellable price range is US$500-1,000 FOB Hong Kong for Europe and US$2,000 for other markets.

Parisian designs combined with precision-cut diamonds are the calling card of 5C-Jewelry B.V.B.A., based in Antwerp, Belgium, which concentrates on medium- to high-end 18K gold or platinum daytime diamond jewellery.

"We sell all types of jewellery but more rings and pendants," revealed owner Anuj Jasani. "We do a lot of pavˆm diamonds and centre stones from 20 points to one carat."

One popular model was a diamond ring with a solitaire diamond and pavˆm diamonds down the sides that sells for US$750-5,000 FOB Belgium, depending on the size of the diamond.

Most of 5C-Jewelry's exports go to markets in Europe and Asia, while the company's production centres are in Shanghai and Guangzhou. "The future for sales is China and India, but we're also looking to develop North America," Jasani said.

Also doing good business was London Pearl, which is based in London, England, and is one of the world's leading international pearl suppliers.

"Green, brown and gold colours, and Chinese freshwater purples up to 15-18mm are selling well," said sales manager Daniel Vecht, who added that London Pearl specialises in unusual South Sea pearls. "Ninety-nine per cent of our business is South Sea, Tahitian and large freshwater pearls."

More and more of London Pearl's customers are going for unusual colours, though white pearls are still 30%-40% of its business. "Five years ago, demand for unusual colours and shapes was almost non-existent," Vecht recalled.

London Pearl, which sells loose pearls and strands, plans to open a sales office in Hong Kong later this year.

"We see Hong Kong as the market with the best potential," Vecht revealed.

Prices for South Sea, Golden and Tahitian pearls have been holding steady, but there is concern that Chinese freshwater pearl prices will fall if there is too much production.

"Competition from Chinese freshwaters has had a devastating effect on the Akoya pearl market," Vecht admitted.

However, if sales at the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show were any indication, London Pearl can look forward to a prosperous year. "We sold 40% more pearls this year than we did last year, and last year was a good show," Vecht beamed.

TEXT BY ANDREA PAWLYNA

RACKING UP RECORDS

The Hong Kong International Jewellery Show 2007 held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in early March once again set new exhibitor records.

Extended to five days because of its popularity, this year's exhibition attracted more than 2,180 exhibitors from 41 countries and regions as well as some 31,000-plus visitors and more than 2,700 VIPs from 71 buying missions organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC).

A major sourcing hub for jewellery in the Asia-Pacific region, the Hong Kong jewellery industry "is enjoying glittering growth," according to chairman of the TDC Jewellery Advisory Committee and Hong Kong Jewellery and Jade Manufacturers Association president Charles Chan. "Hong Kong's total exports of fine jewellery increased 13.7% to US$3.7bn in 2006."

Exports to Hong Kong's top three markets also grew, with the US up 7%, the UK climbing 11% and France increasing 32% over the previous year.

Equally promising results were also achieved in developing markets, with exports to the Chinese mainland, India and Russia jumping 47%, 83% and 209% respectively.

This year's show spotlighted a vast range of jewellery and watches:

  • an Antique & Vintage Jewellery section debuted in response to the demand for retro designs
  • the new Jade Jewellery section showcased the classic luxury of jade
  • Treasures of Nature was dedicated to top-quality loose diamonds, precious stones and pearls
  • Le Salon Extraordinaire featured luxurious jewellery and quality watches
  • the Watch & Clock Pavilion offered more than 50 watch and clock brands and ensured the show was a true one-stop sourcing centre
  • Designer Jewellery Galleria presented the latest branded jewellery and designer collections from more than 40 companies worldwide
  • Les Salons Privˆms provided privacy and convenience for those wishing to conduct business

The 24th Hong Kong International Jewellery Show fashioned a strong international line-up with 21 group displays, including pavilions from Belgium, the Chinese mainland, Dubai, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the US, as well as first-time participants Germany, Malaysia and Spain.

Special displays organised by the International Coloured Gemstone Association, the Japan Jewellery Association, the Japan Jewellery Designers Association, and the Platinum Guild International added to the show's international lustre.

Pearl auctions were held by Paspaley and Robert Wan Tahiti, while Russia's largest diamond miner, Alrosa, hosted a rough diamond auction for invited buyers that was a first for Hong Kong.

The winning pieces of the eighth Hong Kong Jewellery Design Competition and the sixth International South Sea Pearl Jewellery Design Competition were also on display.

There was even more designer glamour and glitter in several popular show parades, which featured models wearing the latest jewellery and timepieces.

STILL SHINING BRIGHT

Hong Kong jewellery exports this year will continue to grow, boosted largely by the dynamic Asian market that is led by the Chinese mainland, according to an industry survey conducted during the recent Hong Kong International Jewellery Show.

Exports to Asia-Pacific markets this year were expected to increase, according to 63% of the survey respondents, while 56% felt that jewellery exports to the US would better the 2006 totals and the EU would be stable this year.

Conducted by Oracle, the survey sought the views of 420 exhibitors and 743 buyers, the majority of whom were optimistic about market prospects overall.

Half the surveyed respondents indicated that they would increase their orders and the quantity per order by an average of 13%, while average unit price was expected to increase 12% in 2007.

Buyers said design, craftsmanship and pricing were Hong Kong suppliers' top three competitive edges, and more than 70% of them indicated "strong" interest in sourcing from Hong Kong over the coming three years.

Other survey findings included:

  • the growth potential of rings was high, while rings and earrings, as well as necklaces and earrings, were selected as the two most popular categories in terms of jewellery sets
  • the rise in the price of gold means karat gold is likely to become more popular this year, while white gold was voted the most popular material followed by yellow and silver gold
  • diamonds stand out as the most appealing precious stone, followed by pearls
  • more buyers appreciated micro-settings, while the majority still favoured prong settings
  • classic and antique designs tend to be more favoured in the Asia-Pacific region Hong Kong, the world's fourth-largest exporter of fine jewellery after Italy, the US and India, saw sales of fine jewellery rise a robust 13% in 2006 to HK$29bn.