Attendance Up at JA Summer Show

Attendance at the summer Jewelers of America show in New York increased 3% over 2000 figures, according to show officials. Despite the sluggish economy, 12,922 buyers, 1,750 trade and media guests, and more than 1,800 jewelry wholesalers attended the show. Among the 15 international pavilions, Israeli suppliers were back and Polish suppliers had a presence for the first time.

Opinions among exhibitors about the overall strength of the show were mixed. “We’re running about the same as last year,” said Banice Bazar, CEO, Imperial-Deltah Pearls, Providence, R.I. Pearl dealer Avi Raz, Los Angeles, Calif., called show sales “okay” but noted that “we’re doing a lot of in-house orders.” Honora’s president, Joel Schechter, noticed a 20% increase in sales of Tahitian pearl jewelry among first-time buyers because prices have dropped so much.

Traffic among watch suppliers was brisk, especially for those incorporating diamonds into products. New products included a new diamond line from Regnier of France. Bruno Banani from Italy displayed colored chronos with diamond bezels and silicon straps. A.B. Art, a designer located in the German Pavilion, offered a steel “Orbit” watch with a rotating disk under the dial that has a date function “orbiting” the face.

More watch business was conducted in the Councours d’Elegance Pavilion outside the show floor in the Jacob Javits center. Some 50 mid- and upscale watch and clock brands were present, including newcomers like Delance, with its “Mother’s” watch. Movie actor Eli Wallach entertained attendees for several days with discussions of his collection of timepieces.

Diamonds were a hot topic among jewelers as well as watchmakers. The Diamond Promotion Service, Sunrise, Fla., is unveiling a new fall campaign for three-stone diamond jewelry, including necklaces. “Our consumer research indicates that women are ripe for diamond self-purchases,” says Jay Lell, director of training and business development for the Diamond Promotion Service/DWA Communications. To help increase sales among women, DPS is offering jewelers a compact disc with photographs of three-stone diamond jewelry to use in advertising campaigns. The CD costs $75. The group also will unveil a consumer advertising campaign in the fall in the national media to get out the “past, present, and future” message.

Jewelry associations also had their share of the spotlight. John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers Security Alliance, made a formal request on behalf of the Anti-Crime Coalition to create a new task force to fight increases in on-the-road robberies in the Southeast. “We’re aware of quite a few robberies in Georgia,” says Eliza Morss, G.G., account manager with Paul Klecka Designs, Chicago, Ill. She cites the dangers associated with traveling jewelry salesmen as one reason why Klecka opened his own studio in Chicago.