Eastern Promises

Among the gatherings on the global jewelry calendar, the JCK show in Las Vegas, the Baselworld fair in Switzerland, and the Sep­tem­ber Jewellery & Gem Fair in Hong Kong reign as the supreme triumvirate. For Asia-watchers, how­ever, Hong Kong is the event to beat.

The 2010 fair, held Sept. 19–25 at the AsiaWorld-Expo and the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, saw a 13 percent increase in visitors for a total of 44,274. Sixty-four percent arrived from overseas, a 22.5 percent increase over last year.

The number of buyers from India and China reached an all-time high. Yet other markets were also well-represented: Belgium, Brazil, Israel, the Russian Federation, Turkey, and the United States all showed three-digit growth in visitor numbers.

“The scale of the September fair is simply staggering,” Ian Harebottle, CEO of Gemfields, the ethical Zambian emerald company and owner of the world’s largest emerald mine, told JCK. “I think it’s inspiring to see such diversity at a single event, especially when the mood is one of vitality returning to the industry.”

The Swarovski Pure Brilliance
Zirconia launch event at the
September Jewellery & Gem
Fair in Hong Kong was the talk of the catwalk. Model wears a brooch by Daniel K and ring by Daniel Swarovski, both made with the new zirconias.

The enthusiasm was evident at the Swarovski-sponsored catwalk show on Sept. 17, when top model Mikki Yao joined Swarovski executives—including Daniel Cohen, director of Swarovski International Holding—to celebrate the unveiling of the Swarovski Pure Brilliance Zirconia Cut. It is being billed as the first zirconia to adhere to the Gemological Institute of America’s diamond-cut grading standards.

Buying, however, appeared to be conservative due to the market’s continued sluggishness. Retailers were looking for either unique designs to complete their portfolios or classic merchandise that would allow them to play it safe.

Judging from the 41 percent jump in the number of buyers from India, that country, perhaps even more than China, represents the jewelry trade’s most promising outlet—so much so that organizers of the new Mumbai Jewellery & Gem Fair took advantage of the crowds gathered in Hong Kong to announce the dates of their event, which will take place Dec. 9–11, just in time for the New Year trading season.

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