Hong Kong Show Concludes on Upbeat Note

Despite reports of a slowdown in Chinese luxury spending, the mood at the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, held March 5–9 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, was upbeat, as the show welcomed scores of international visitors, including a first-time delegation of Italian vendors representing the machinery and technology sector.

For the past three decades, the March show, organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, has hosted finished jewelry vendors and loose gem and pearl dealers in a single venue. This year, organizers introduced a “two shows, two venues” format with the debut of the HKTDC Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show, held at the AsiaWorld Expo venue near the airport March 4–7.

“We’ve seen spectacular growth in the last five to six years and there’s always a huge demand for more space,” said show chairman Lawrence Ma. “The last two to three years, we’ve been discussing the AsiaWorld Expo at the airport. It’s a good move this expansion. As long as we treat exhibitors fairly, it’s a good way of segregating the show.”

“We’re excited to break new records,” Ma continued. “This is the world’s largest spring jewelry platform.”

With a combined total of 3,850 exhibitors from 53 countries and regions—up from 3,341 exhibitors in 2013—the two shows spanned 123,000 square meters, or 403,543 feet, and featured numerous international pavilions and salons, including the World of Glamour, where Hong Kong–based manufacturers showed their wares; the Hall of Extraordinary, spotlighting prestigious brands known for high-value jewels; and the Hall of Time, home to vendors of fashion watches.

Ring featuring a 9.31 ct. Colombian emerald flanked by two cut-cornered Asscher-cut diamonds, each 4.01 cts. in size, at Kahn Jewellery (photo courtesy of Kahn Jewellery)

The merchandise on offer ran the gamut, from a locket-style carved jade pendant traced to the Qing Dynasty and valued at 300 million HKD (about $38.6 million), on display at Fook Wing Tong Jade & Treasure, to affordable fashion jewelry, like the colored stone Butterfly collection from Lorenzo, a Hong Kong manufacturer with a factory in Shenzhen, China.

Lorenzo’s new Butterfly collection of rings and pendants features diamonds and colored stones. (photo courtesy of Lorenzo)

At Aaron Shum Jewelry, the big news of the fair was its agreement with Chow Tai Fook, the world’s largest jeweler, which, as of April 1, will be the exclusive distributor of its patented Coronet diamond jewelry collection in Hong Kong, mainland China, Macau, and Taiwan.

“Diamonds are forever; Coronet is for everyday,” Shum, wearing his signature bowtie, told the crowd gathered in front of his booth on day one of the fair.

Aaron Shum, president of Aaron Shum Jewelry, shakes hands with Kent Wong, managing director of Chow Tai Fook, over the companies’ new distributorship agreement. (photo courtesy of HKTDC)

In terms of international exhibitors, the Italian presence at the Hong Kong show was significant, with 215 exhibitors representing the finished jewelry and technology sectors composing the largest of any country’s delegation to the show.

For the first time, VicenzaOro T-Gold, the technology component of the Italian trade fair, participated in the show, suggesting that, for the 45 exhibiting Italian companies, the prospect of selling their tools and machines to Chinese customers outweighed the threat of competition from them.

“In this kind of industry, the globe is smaller and smaller than some years ago,” said Corrado Facco, managing director of Fiera di Vicenza. “We have an opportunity to build something together, instead of compete. Here we are in the cathedral of the jewelry business in Asia. It’s the right platform for Italian companies.”

“So we are not competing anymore—well, okay, we compete on products, beauty, collections—but we have to promote the business globally and for that, we have alliances,” Facco concluded.