The Antique & Vintage Jewellery Galleria at the 35th Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, running through March 5 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, features a stunning array of high-value designer watches and jewels, representing every design movement and era in the last century.
United States–based vendors are scattered throughout the jewelry fair, but they have a concentrated presence in the estate and vintage hall. Of the 100 Antique & Vintage Jewellery Galleria vendors, 40 hail from the U.S.
Big names in U.S. vintage jewelry and watches present at the show include Betteridge of Greenwich, Ct.; Jack Weir & Sons of Beverly Hills; New York’s Paul Fisher and Roberto Capra; and Highkarat of Agoura Hills, Calif.
The companies come to Hong Kong every year, in large part to wholesale pieces that might not move as quickly in Western markets.
Circa 1950s coral and onyx bracelet with diamonds at Highkarat
“It’s a whole different clientele in Hong Kong,” said Natalie Bos Betteridge of Betteridge. “It’s the other side of the world, so the tastes and interests can be totally different.”
Alessandro Ciani, founder of vintage timepiece company Luxury Vintage Concept in Los Angeles, said he comes for the “little international crowd” that collects secondhand Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, and other top-tier Swiss timepiece brands.
“Most of our clients when we’re here come from Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong,” Ciani added. And though the dealer is a self-professed Chinese food addict, he’s also here in large part to get some valuable face time in with collectors and collector clubs throughout Asia.
Ciani, Betteridge, and the other U.S. vintage and estate dealers I spoke to all said sales were robust at the show, compared to the Hong Kong show in recent years.
“It’s been really good so far,” says Betteridge. “We’ve been doing very well.”
Brisk business at the booth of New York’s Roberto Capra
Michael Singer, founder of New York–based Singer Estate Jewelry Buyers, said, “It’s a good show, for sure,” minutes after telling a client at his booth that “sales are definitely on the rise.”
Angelika Kucsak, co-owner of Highkarat, said she’s seeing a lot of younger vintage and estate buyers passing through, looking for animal and other figurine pieces, among other styles.
She added that the upswing in business could be a reflection of shifting desires on the part of the retailer and jewelry consumer: “Buyers want quality, and they want something different,” she said of vintage jewelry’s enduring appeal. “You just don’t find a lot of that same level of quality in the [new] jewelry downstairs.”
Top photo: A tangle of vintage jewels at the 2018 Hong Kong International Jewellery Show. All photos by Emili Vesilind