Buying Light At Atlanta Show

Show: Atlanta Jewelry Show.

Sponsor: Southern Jewelry Travelers Association.

Location: Atlanta Merchandise Mart.

Date: March 3-5.

Attendance: Exhibitors; 700; buyers, 3,200.

Business: In the Atlanta Jewelry Show’s farewell appearance at the downtown Atlanta Merchandise Mart, attendance was somewhat lighter than usual, with retailers citing dismal January and February sales primarily because of cold weather. Exhibitors said buying was light and that many of their regular customers didn’t even attend.

Still, a few categories generated interest, including silver, pearls and Victorian slide bracelets. Stuart Gross of Roberto Coin, New York City, said retailers only looked at his gold merchandise, but they lined up when he replaced it with a showcase of silver goods.

Daniel Efron of Efron Enterprises Inc., New York City, added that retailers were interested in his larger coin jewelry pieces, but lookers far outnumbered buyers. “We did give out 50 catalogs the first day, so there are some good leads here,” he added.

Crowds were seen frequently at first-time exhibitor I. Abelsky Inc., an Atlanta-based distributor of miniature Russian jeweled eggs in the style of Fabergé. With retail prices around $100, the eggs were seen as a unique gift item.

Much of the talk at the March show actually centered on the upcoming summer show, which will be held for the first time at the Cobb Galleria Centre in suburban Atlanta on Aug. 11-13. While a few exhibitors approach the next show with caution, wary that any change may disrupt the decade of mostly robust dealing at the Merchandise Mart, the majority appear to welcome the move.

Jeff Ungar of B&N Jewelry Inc., Marietta, Ga., a member of the SJTA board and proponent of the move, said the new location offers more exhibit space and an array of services designed to attract buyers, including free parking, direct access off a major highway and more telephones and rest rooms. Another consideration that prompted the move was the perception the downtown location was growing less safe.

“I think the show people here know what they are doing,” said Uwe Koenigsberger, president of Brokoe Manufacturing Co., Glen Head, N.Y. “This show has had a good run here.”

Seminars and events: Dan Askew of GIA-ARMS discussed business management for jewelry stores at seminars on March 4-5. Jewelers also attended a social event at the nearby Hard Rock Cafe March 3.

PHILADELPHIA TO HOST BUYERS MARKET

The Buyers Market of American Craft will be held July 26-28 in the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

The show will feature special exhibits of Christmas, Judaica and Valentine’s Day gift ideas and will include a seminar on visual merchandising by Ruth Mellergard, president of GRID/3 International, a leading retail design company.

The show will be held during Philadelphia Craft Week, July 22-28, which also includes special events and exhibitions throughout the city.

Child care is provided at the convention center by Call-A-Granni at (215) 924-8723. For registration, travel and accommodations, call Market Travel at (800) 43-CRAFT. For show information, contact the Rosen Group Inc., 3000 Chestnut Ave., Suite 300, Baltimore, MD 21211; (410) 889-2933, fax (410) 889-1320.

EXPO NEW YORK TO RETURN TO PIERS

Expo New York will return to the Piers next year after officials of the Jacob Javits Convention Center said they would no longer honor the show’s March dates.

The Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America moved the Expo from the Piers to the Javits Center in 1995. But Javits officials notified MJSA President James F. Marquart the day before the 1996 show opened that March was not an option beginning in 1997 and suggested January instead. Marquart surveyed exhibitors, asking whether they would like to move the show to January or find another location. By a near unanimous response, the exhibitors wanted to keep the show in March and to find a new location.

Marquart and Show Manager Meg Bowen reserved space at the Piers and at the New York Coliseum until a task force had time to meet and choose one. The task force said the Piers location has several advantages, including familiarity to exhibitors, adequate parking and more favorable work rules than other sites. The 1997 show will be held March 23-25.

Meanwhile, business at the 1996 show was good, says MJSA. “We took orders that exceeded orders from previous shows,” says Roger Greene, president of Eisinger Enterprises, Newark, N.J. Adds Rose Massage of Gesswein Co., Bridgeport, Conn., “It was one of our best shows in recent years.

Nearly 500 people registered for seminar programs at the event. An additional 159 registered for Gold Day, sponsored by the World Gold Council, and 203 signed up for Platinum Day, sponsored by the Platinum Guild International USA (for information on these events, see pages 308 and 312).

An award for best new technology went to Diamtech, Altamonte Springs, Fla., for the Shared Foot Pedal. The device allows a user to use one pedal to operate up to five Flex Shaft Power tools. The best all-around booth award was given to General Findings, a division of Leach & Garner, North Attleboro, Mass.

VICENZA, JA SHOWS COORDINATE DATES

The Vicenza Trade Fair Board and Blenheim Group, owner of the JA International Jewelry Shows, have rescheduled some of their winter show dates to avoid conflicts in the next three years.

The JA winter shows in New York City will be held Jan. 25-28, 1997; Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 1998; and Jan. 23-26, 1999.

Vicenzaoro 1 will be held in Vicenza Jan. 12-19, 1997; Jan. 11-18, 1998; and Jan. 10-17, 1999.

FOREIGN SHOW UPDATE

The summer editions of the Hong Kong Jewelry and Watch Fair and the Bangkok International Jewelry Fair are scheduled during consecutive weeks so interested buyers can attend both fairs in one trip to Asia. The Bangkok fair will be held June 13-16 in the Shangri-La Hotel. The Hong Kong fair will be held June 20-23 in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Both fairs will feature gold, silver, platinum, antique and gem jewelry, as well as loose stones, timepieces and equipment. The Hong Kong fair also will include seminars presented by the Gemological Institute of America, the Diamond High Council of Belgium and the Gemmological Association of Hong Kong. Miller Freeman Asia Ltd., 102-5 Stanhope House, 738 King’s Rd., Quarry Bay, Hong Kong; (852) 2827-5121, fax (852) 2827-7064.

Jewellery World Expo ’96 will be held Aug. 25-27 in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The show will feature fine vendors of jewelry, loose stones, gold, clocks, watches, findings and computer software. Seminars will include “Welcome to the Internet”; “Profiting from Color,” presented by Peggy Willett, executive director of the American Gem Trade Association; “The Fine Art of Display,” by Dr. Robert Galt of the Royal Ontario Museum; and “Custom Work: The Secrets of Success,” by award-winning designer Shele Letwin. Also planned are receptions and “A Night with the Toronto Blue Jays.” For discounted travel rates, call Goliger’s Travel at (800) 268-7103. For special hotel rates, call the Crowne Plaza Hotel at (800) 422-7969 or the SkyDome Hotel at (800) 441-1414. For show information, contact the Canadian Jewellers Association, 20 Eglinton Ave. W., Suite 1108, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4R 1K8; (800) 580-0942 or (416) 480-1424, fax (416) 480-2342.

The seventh annual Shenzhen International Watch, Clock & Jewellery Fair will be held May 25-28 in Shenzhen, China. The fair is organized by the Shenzhen Watchmakers Association and Brilliant-Art Trade Fairs Ltd., P.O. Box 985, GPO, Hong Kong; (852) 2511-6077, fax (852) 2507-5855.

The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair will be held June 13-22 in Grosvenor House in London, England. A number of special displays are planned. Queen Elizabeth will lend a gilt-bronze timepiece known as “The Rape of the Sabines Clock,” inspired by Jacques-Louis David’s famous painting. The Queen Mother will lend a pair of Chinese porcelain cache-pots of the Kangxi period (1662-1722) with gilt-bronze mounts. Also on loan will be works from the National Gallery of Scotland and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Among items for sale in the jewelry/watch sector will be an unusual George II jeweled ormolu musical automaton table clock by Asprey, an Etruscan Revival gold necklace by Tiffany & Co. and a silver-gilt and enamel cigarette case by Fabergé. Forte Ltd., Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London W1A 3AA, U.K.; (44-171) 495-8743, fax (44-171) 495-8747.

More than 1,200 exhibitors are expected to attend Vicenzaoro 2, scheduled for June 8-12 in Vicenza, Italy. The show will feature gold, silver and gem jewelry, as well as loose stones and jewelry-related equipment. The World Gold Council will present a symposium on gold technology, the Gemological Institute of America will present Gem Fest Europa and show organizers will sponsor numerous seminars. The show will feature several special exhibitions, including the Eddy Elzas’ Rainbow Collection of 300 colored diamonds, Gabriella Mariotti’s “Jewelry of the American Depression” collection of costume jewelry, the “Gold of the Ashanti” collection of photographs detailing the lives and gold works of the Ashanti people of western Africa and the first-time exhibit of 50 sets of jewels amassed during a series of design seminars held by the World Gold Council in South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. In addition, showgoers will be able to visit “The Source of Chain,” an Italian exhibit that documents the gold jewelry production process from 1902 to the present. Vicenza Trade Fair Board, 8383 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 518, Beverly Hills, CA 90211; (800) 443-1479 or (213) 653-4705, fax (213) 653-1768.

Exhibitors at the 13th Hong Kong International Jewellery Show March 11-14 reported $100.3 million worth of business, up 44% from last year’s show, according to organizers. More than 12,400 buyers and 573 exhibitors attended. Next year’s show will be held March 12-14. Hong Kong Trade Development Council, 219 E. 46 St., New York, NY 10017; (212) 838-8688.

Retailers were reserved but cautiously optimistic about business this year after Inhorgenta Munich, held Feb. 23-26 in Munich, Germany. Buyer attendance totaled 21,000. A post-show survey of the 1,297 exhibitors found demand for clocks and watches was stronger than for jewelry, though platinum jewelry and pearls were particularly popular. Next year’s show will be held Feb. 21-24 in the Munich Trade Fair Center. Kallman Associates, 20 Harrison Ave., Waldwick, NJ 07463-1709; (201) 652-7070, fax (201) 652-3898.

Record orders at International Jewellery Tokyo, held Feb. 14-17 in Tokyo, led organizers to speculate that Japan is emerging from its long recession. Show organizers attributed the turnaround to retailers’ more aggressive approach to business and the growing number of overtures they make to overseas manufacturers when they can’t find what they want domestically. They also say overseas exhibitors are now developing products especially for Japanese consumers. In all, the show attracted 682 exhibitors and almost 35,600 buyers. Next year’s show will be held Jan. 29 to Feb. 1. It will move from the Harumi Fairgrounds, which are closing, to the new Tokyo International Exhibition Center in central Tokyo. Reed Exhibitions, 383 Main Ave., Norwalk, CT 06851; (203) 840-5308, fax (203) 840-9308.

Buyer attendance increased nearly 7% to 125,725 at the spring edition of MACEF, held Feb. 9-12 in Milan, Italy. Exhibitors totaled 3,402 (503 from foreign countries, including 19 from the U.S.). The multitrade fair was redesigned and reorganized into 10 sectors this year, including jewelry. The next edition of the fair is scheduled for Sept. 6-9. Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Inc., 730 Fifth Ave., Suite 600, New York, NY 10019; (212) 459-0044, fax (212) 459-0090

The second International Jewellery Dubai, held March 20-24 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, attracted 17,000-plus buyers, more than triple the 1995 attendance. One highlight was an exhibition of loose gems that included a 147-ct. heart-shaped sapphire created from a 700-ct. rough discovered recently in Sri Lanka.

The majority of the 4,800 exhibitors at the International Frankfurt Fair, held Feb. 24-28, were statisfied with business, according to organizers. In fact, many were pleased because they had come to the show expecting slow business due to weak economies in many European nations. Buyers totaled 120,000, slightly more than last year. Next year’s spring show will be held Feb. 14-18. Messe Frankfurt, 200 Galleria Pkwy., Suite 790, Atlanta, GA 30399; (770) 984-8016, fax (770) 984-8023.