Dateline: New Delhi

In another sign that India is becoming a jewelry giant, Reed Exhibitions launches a jewelry trade fair in New Delhi.

The inaugural edition of The JCK Show ~ New Delhi took place Sept. 28–30, 2006, in New Delhi, India, and featured more than 132 domestic and 66 international exhibitors. It attracted more than 3,000 domestic and 90 international buyers.

The show had separate sections for international vendors as well as categories for jewelry-related businesses such as security, tools, and equipment. The international area, which included sections for the United States, Belgium, and Italy, gave retailers and designers a glimpse of the emerging metal and design trends both at home and abroad.

Dignitaries from the Indian jewelry industry and show organizer Reed Exhibitions lit the inaugural lamp at the opening ceremony and addressed a gathering of journalists. In his welcome speech, Mike Allsopp, chief operating officer of Reed Exhibitions in India, said the launch of JCK in India was a milestone for Reed that came at a time when the Indian economy—including the jewelry sector—is booming at 8 percent per annum.

The first day of the three-day show attracted relatively light traffic, but business during the next two days far exceeded expectations. Ashish Mehta, of Vrajlal & Co., a Mumbai-based jeweler, said, “We had seen an unusual trough in the consumer confidence in the run-up to Diwali [a Hindu holiday], and this was playing on our mind as the event took off. The response to our offerings came a little later than usual, but when it started coming in, it was truly overwhelming.”

Signs of trends to come: Bigger is out; better is in. The products on offer at the show reflected the changing taste of the Indian consumer. Craftsmanship, make, and design held sway with retailers; size and cost were far less important.

The midrange line constituted trendy, lightweight jewelry featuring a clever combination of silver and 18k gold and colored gemstones. The majority of buying was reported in this segment.

Stands showcasing products from associated industries, including jewelry-making tools, machinery, security equipment, and manufacturing technology, also reported a good buyer turnout. The sales representative at the Godrej & Boyce stand, for instance, said sales and business inquiries for security equipment fared better compared with any other business exhibition held recently.

The seminar programs, held on all three days of the event, featured prominent experts speaking on trends in the global jewelry industry, the importance of market research, and the importance of formulating marketing strategies that maximize benefits.

Martin Hurwitz, chief executive officer, MVI Marketing, delivered the keynote speech, titled “There Is No Marketing Without Market Research.” He emphasized that jewelers should be in touch with the customers regularly and keep track of their changing preferences religiously. He stressed the importance of customer relationship management (CRM) and pointed out that the market is the real judge of products. He also advised jewelers to test-sell before presenting new designs. “Learn what the market needs and use your creativity to develop solutions,” Hurwitz said.

Hedda Schupak, editor-in-chief of JCK magazine, identified current trends that affect all types of businesses. She said current and emerging trends can be traced to factors like economic prosperity and societal changes and advised retailers and manufacturers to follow fashion trends.

“Some of the consumer-purchasing trends that are prevalent in Europe and the United States are likely to find resonance in India as her middle class burgeons,” she explained. “Historically, the growth of a strong middle class in any society has been marked by a sharp increase in consumerism. An increase in income drives desire for both time-saving products that make life easier and luxury goods that bring a sense of pride and pleasure and emotional gratification, as well as reward for hard work. Combined with India’s traditional societal affinity for jewelry, this puts retail jewelers in a very prime position going forward.”

She added that women—who are attaining economic independence and acquiring more purchasing power—are playing a key role in establishing global trends in the industry. A global phenomenon, this is now seen increasingly in India.

The highlight of the show was The JCK New Delhi 2006 Gold Souk Fashion Show & Design Awards. The theme for the Design Awards was a mélange of fusion jewelry with a focus on Indian craftsmanship. There were about 50 entrants, including international exhibitors Regnier Paris, Grabat, Navitec, and Philippe Tournaire and Indian exhibitors B. Vijaykumar, Bapalal Keshavlal, Mimansa Jewellery, and The Rose International.

D’damas won the first-place award for a stunning pendant, the National Institute of Jewellery Design and Technology took second place for a bangle, and Brightest Circle Jewellery Pvt. Ltd. took third place for its earrings design. The awards were judged by a panel of industry experts including Sandra Merchant, managing editor, Solitaire; Alessandra Meda, editor, Vogue Gioiello; Haresh Zaveri, co-convener of the Promotion, Marketing & Business Development Committee of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council; and G.S. Pillai, director, Gold Souk.

D’damas won a free trip to The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas 2007 and an opportunity to display their winning design there. The first- and second-place winners also got the opportunity to display their winning designs in Las Vegas. All three winners will receive coverage from CNBC, Solitaire International, and Vogue Gioiello.

The fashion show that preceded the Design Awards featured some of India’s top models, including Noyonika Chatterjee, Joey Mathews, and Tina Chatwal, who wore jewelry from Gold Star Jewellery, Marquise Gems Pvt. Ltd., Ace Jewels, D’damas, Asmi, Sangini, Vrajlal & Co., and Gold Souk. Entertainment was provided by stand-up comic Ash Chandler and local band Sarangi Funk who mesmerized the audience with their fusion music.