Trade Shows

AGTA GEMFAIR TO FEATURE DESIGNER JEWELRY GALLERY

A new designer jewelry gallery will make its first appearance at the American Gem Trade Association GemFair in Tucson, scheduled Jan. 31 to Feb. 5. Called byDesigntrademark, the gallery will feature more than 70 designers in the Arena next to the Gem Hall in the Tucson Convention Center.

The gallery will be produced by Cindy Edelstein of the Jewelers Resource Bureau, New York, N.Y. Edelstein also coordinates the Design Center at the JCK International Jewelry Shows in Las Vegas and will do the same when JCK launches a winter show in Orlando in 1997.

“While my role with the AGTA show and the JCK shows are completely independent of one another, it is wonderful to be able to offer designer-focused galleries in three of the best trade shows in the world,” says Edelstein. “Our company provides the retail community with information, marketing support and exposure to the diverse world of designer jewelry. The byDesigntrademark gallery at the AGTA Tucson GemFair is one of the best ways to make that happen.”

AGTA President Owen Bordelon says his organization is adding the gallery because of the growing popularity of designer jewelry, especially colored stone designer jewelry. “We are thrilled to have designers at our show,” he says.

Edelstein says many retailers buy loose gems in Tucson, then take them home where they sit until someone has time to design a piece of jewelry. With byDesigntrademark, retailers can buy finished inventory from designers’ lines, commission designers to create jewelry featuring a special stone or ask a designer to set a certain gem into stock designs where applicable. The designers may provide at-show delivery or work on an orders-only basis. (The AGTA GemFair is a delivery show.)

The gallery is juried, and participants must be accepted as affiliate members of AGTA. Applications and information about the gallery are available from the Jewelers Resource Bureau, 2350 Broadway, #1011, New York, N.Y. 10024; (212) 580-4256.

COLUMBUS EXHIBITORS REPORT GOOD BUSINESS

Event: The Columbus Jewelry Show.

Date: Aug. 25-27.

Location: Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio.

Sponsor: Ohio Jewelers Association.

Attendance: 522 exhibitor booths, up from 449 last year, and 5,800 buyers, about 100 more than last year.

Mood: Business was brisk and the mood was uplifting.

The secret to the show’s success? “It’s simple, really,” says Tim Smith, show committee chairman. “We can stand up shoulder to shoulder with a lot of strong shows because we are real people. By that I mean that as one of the few shows run by retail jewelers, we especially understand the needs of our exhibitors and buyers.”

Other factors include increased promotional efforts and timing. “A lot of people don’t understand the mechanics of what they will need until this time of year,” says Smith. “Besides, jewelers’ kids are finally getting back to school, which gives the parents more time to concentrate on business instead of vacations.”

Exhibitors were happy with business at the show. “I had a big sale in the first hour of the show,” said Bernardo Feler of Brazrio International in Los Angeles, Cal. Designer Peter Hedren of Peter Jon in Camp Sherman, Ore., agreed: “It’s been a good show. It’s manageable in size and quality.” And Betty Sue King of King’s Ransom in Sausalito, Cal., said she made good contacts that should turn into sales later.

Education: William Boyajian, president of the Gemological Institute of America, delivered a keynote address on jewelry store management and leadership issues. An educational program that accompanied the show featured “A Day With Diamonds” by GIA, “Computer Applications for Jewelry Store Management” by computer authority Lynn Underwood, “Are You Covered?” by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., “Winners Never Quit” by sales trainer Shane Decker and a presentation on Yehuda-treated diamonds by Ron Yehuda of the Yehuda Diamond Corp. in New York, N.Y.

LA SHOW WILL RETURN TO THE CENTURY PLAZA

Event: Los Angeles Jewelry Show.

Date: Aug. 19-21.

Location: Los Angeles Convention Center.

Attendance: Close to 2,000 buyers from about 1,000 jewelry stores and 300 exhibitors, down significantly from 1994.

Mood: The big news at the 1995 show was 1996. The show will return next year to the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, site of the show during its glory days of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The California Jewelry Association, which owns and operates the show, is very bullish about the projected move, though a number of exhibitors, among them Sam Ziefer of Mayer’s Jewelry Co. and Jose Hess of Jose Hess Inc., say the move alone is not enough to revitalize the event. “They’ve got to bring in more buyers,” said Hess. “They’ve got to find what the buyers want in a show and then work to bring them in.”

This is just what CJA officials plan to do. “We’re not just talking about going back,” said CJA President John Spadea at a press conference announcing the new venue. “We’re not trying to re-create the past. We are adapting to change.” Thus, he said, the association already is working with other industry organizations to create a new and different show with an expanded education program.

The show will be limited to about 350 to 400 exhibitors and will be staged primarily in the main convention area; any upstairs exhibits will have space only on the penthouse floor. The hotel has just completed a $10 million renovation, including a major upgrading of the convention space.

Activity at this year’s convention center location reflected the troubled times that have plagued the Southern California economy during the 1990s. The region has been hit hard by cutbacks in space and military spending; thousands of jobs have disappeared as plants and bases were closed or cut back. Now, however, there are signs the situation has at least stabilized. A number of jewelers say they see signs of a pickup in business. Some, such as Marion Halfacre, owner of Traditional Jewelers in Newport Beach and show chairman, are enjoying an excellent year.

The show’s location in downtown Los Angeles also has been a problem. When it moved there in 1994 after a four-year stay in San Diego, the city was embroiled in public relations problems brought on by rioting, earthquakes, flood and fires. Even though the convention center is newly expanded and the area immediately surrounding it appears clean and safe, the perception that downtown Los Angeles is a bad place to visit kept many potential buyers away. CJA hopes the return to the Century Plaza, an elegant site on the borders of Beverly Hills, will wipe out what might be called “the fear factor.”

The upbeat mood of buyers and exhibitors who attended a preshow cocktail party at the hotel, sponsored by JCK, suggests that CJA may be betting on a winner this time.

Seminars: CJA presented a full program of seminars on the Friday preceding the show’s opening. There were further morning programs each day before the show opened. Among the speakers: Gary Roskin of the European Gemological Laboratory, Alan Revere of the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, sales trainer Leonard Zell, Don Greig of GIA ARMS, Liz Chatelain of Market Vision, jewelers Mark Ebert and Linda Abell, and Preston Foy of the Diamond Promotion Service. There also were panel presentations by Jack Woolf of Celebrity Television Network and Paul Frank of Unigem and a store design group sponsored by the Jewelers of America Center for Business Studies. Motivational expert Larry Helms was the keynote speaker Sunday morning.

John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, was a featured speaker and this year’s recipient of the outstanding achievement award from the Golden Nuggets of Southern California.

Events: In addition to the JCK reception, social events included a CJA-sponsored “Casino Royale” night.

JEWELERS STOCK UP AT ATLANTA SHOW

Event: The Atlanta Jewelry Show.

Date: Aug. 13-15.

Place: Atlanta Merchandise Mart, Atlanta, Ga.

Sponsor: Southern Jewelry Travelers Association.

Attendance: Unavailable at press time, but most exhibitors felt buyer attendance was at least as high as last year’s 3,000.

Business: Heavy traffic on the first day of the show kept many exhibitors smiling. Most jewelers filled in stock to prepare for Christmas. However, some said local buyers often wait until this show to buy a large percentage of their inventory. They also said the local nature of many of the goods makes the show a must-visit for independents in the region.

Nelly Cohen, president of Cheri Dori Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., said her company’s silver pendants and enhancers attracted buyers from throughout the Southeast. “The animal enhancers are good, and the whole line of custom designed links is very hot,” she said.

“We really sell here,” said David Strousse, assistant to the president at Seiko Corp. of America. “We show all of our clocks here, which we don’t do anywhere else, so retailers wait to see us here to buy.” Seiko’s large first-floor suite was busy as buyers asked about clocks and battery-free Kinetic watches. Nearby, Bulova’s line also attracted buyers.

Pearls usually are a favorite at the Atlanta Show, and this year was no exception.

David Stern, a wholesaler of designer Roman intaglio-style gold jewelry based in Boca Raton, Fla., said he opened a good number of new accounts, primarily independent retailers in the Southeast, though he opened a few more accounts at the February edition of the show. Other exhibitors registered concern that the new winter JCK International Jewelry Show scheduled for Feb. 20-23, 1997, in Orlando, Fla., could reduce attendance at the winter Atlanta shows.

Stern and most exhibitors said they look forward to the Atlanta Show’s impending move to suburban Cobb County. (The show will move to the Cobb Galleria Centre beginning with the Aug. 11-13, 1996, edition.) Exhibitors said retailers from smaller towns will be more likely to visit a suburban location than venture into Atlanta, resulting in boosted attendance. “I have not seen the new facility, but if it brings in more people, I’m all for it,” said John Weiss, regional sales director for A. Jaffe, New York, N.Y.

Seminars: Nancy Mann of Citizens Against Crime, an Atlanta organization, discussed how to avoid dangerous situations and methods to create a safe working environment. Bill Adams of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. showed the video, “Retail Theft: The Preventable Crime” and then discussed the topic with retailers.

Events: Social events included dancing and dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe Aug. 13 and the show’s annual banquet and Monte Carlo night at the Hyatt Regency Aug. 14.

N.Y. SHOW TO FEATURE LATEST SWISS WATCHES

The latest designs from Switzerland’s foremost watchmakers will be shown at the 23rd edition of the Montres et Bijoux Genve Show Oct. 31 to Nov. 5. The show, held every two years in one of the world’s leading cities, will be held this year at the Metropolitan Club in New York, N.Y.

Featured will be timepieces by Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Breguet, Chopard, Corum, Gay Frres, Girard-Perregaux, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, Patek Philippe, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin.

Throughout the show, enamelers, engravers, watchmakers and chainsmiths will demonstrate their craft.

Association Montres et Bijoux Genve, P.O. Box 429, 1001 Lausanne, Switzerland; (41-21) 329-0039, fax (41-21) 329-0042.

ST. LOUIS ART MUSEUM PLANS JEWELRY FESTIVAL

Twenty-four jewelers and jewelry vendors will show and sell their collections at the second Jewelry Festival, scheduled for Oct. 20-22 in the St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Mo.

The festival, which is open to the public, attracted 10,000 people when it was introduced in 1993. This year’s jewelry ranges from estate to ethnic to contemporary, with such venerable names as Georg Jensen and contemporary designers such as Maija Neimanis.

Income from the show will support the museum’s art acquisition program. A benefit preview on Oct. 20 (tickets are $65) will benefit the museum’s education endowment.

St. Louis Art Museum, One Fine Arts Dr., St. Louis, Mo. 63110-1380; (314) 721-0072, fax (314) 721-6172.

TABLETOP MARKET TO HOST GENERATION X EXPERT

Karen Ritchie, an authority on marketing to Generation X, will be the keynote speaker at the Fall New York Tabletop Market. The market is scheduled for Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 at the New York Merchandise Mart; Ritchie will speak at 8 a.m. Oct. 30 during a breakfast seminar sponsored by the Merchandise Mart and Bridal Guide magazine. New York Merchandise Mart, 41 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10010; (212) 686-1203, fax (212) 779-7105.

FOREIGN SHOW UPDATE

The second Beijing International Jewelry, Watch & Technical Equipment Fair will be held Nov. 2-5 in the China World Trade Center, Beijing, China. The fair is organized by the Headway Division of Miller Freeman Asia Ltd., 907 Great Eagle Centre, 23 Harbour Rd., Hong Kong; (852) 2827-5121, fax (852) 2827-7064.

More than 150 companies from 14 countries will exhibit at Jewel Time ’95, to be held Oct. 26-29 in the Shanghai Centre, Shanghai, China. The fair will showcase jewelry, watches, loose stones, machinery and services. A seminar program will accompany the fair. Brilliant-Art Trade Fairs Ltd., 1101 Tung Wai Commercial Building, 111 Gloucester Rd., Wanchai, Hong Kong; (852) 2511-6077, fax (852) 2507-5855.

The 10th India International Jewellery Show, held June 25 to July 1, attracted 18,655 buyers, 303 of them from 51 foreign countries. The show included a seminar program, design contest and equipment demonstrations. The show is sponsored by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Diamond Plaza, Fifth Fl., 391-A, Dr. Dadasaheb Bhadkamkar Marg, Bombay-400 004, India; (99-21) 382-1801, fax (99-21) 386-8752.