Baselworld 2016 Preview: Taking Jewelry-Buying to the Next Level

Visitors to Baselworld, set for March 17–24 at the Basel convention center, will be looking for the best in class in every category. The show is the go-to source for rare, one-of-a-kind jewels that high-end vendors hoard until it’s time for the annual Swiss watch and jewelry fair to open. Why? Baselworld is the only place where they’ll move fast.

But the state of the global economy has some exhibitors concerned. Marco Hadjibay, for one, has reserved expectations. The creative director of Bayco in New York City described the fourth quarter as underwhelming and hopes it will turn around by show time. “The international markets have been soft, but they are slowly starting to recover,” he says. To that end, he plans on bringing a 7 ct. pigeon’s-blood red, cushion-cut Burma ruby ring for buyers seeking rare acquisitions.

Ashok Sancheti says his booth will be jam-packed with top-end styles. The CEO of New York City–based Pioneer Gems anticipates high-end sales to Indian buyers because of the country’s growing economy. “They have always been fine-jewelry buyers but had been buying medium commercial goods,” he says. “Now they can move into extra-fine pieces.” 

To work from a position of strength, Sancheti will arm himself with Colombian emeralds that have not been oiled, no-heat sapphires from Burma, and Kashmir sapphires. “Even if items are not on display in the booth, this is the one show where we bring the goods that we don’t bring to other shows—even if you don’t see them in the cases,” he says.

Meanwhile, Maurice Moradof, president of Yafa Signed Jewels, also in New York City, will tempt buyers with mystery-set diamond and ruby Van Cleef & Arpels earrings and a Bulgari Serpenti diamond and turquoise watch bracelet from the 1960s, among other items. He’ll be looking for both buyers and sellers of vintage inventory, who flock to the fair for estate finds. And considering the strength of his fourth-quarter sales, he’s optimistic about his prospects in Switzerland. “Considering the worldwide situation right now, if sales stay the same as last year, I’ll be very happy.”

Bracelet in platinum with 48.91 cts. t.w. Colombian emeralds and 26.69 cts. t.w. diamonds; price on request; Pioneer Gems, NYC; 212-391-4490;

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