Gearing Up for the Fall 2012 Hong Kong Show

This month’s Hong Kong fair is a magnet for international buyers and exhibitors

Now in its 30th year, the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair is attracting an even greater international clientele, thanks to buyers looking for an entrée into the ­rising affluent class in China. 

This year, designer Etienne Perret will be among the nearly 3,500 exhibitors. Stationed in the Designer Avenue section of the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Camden, Maine–based Perret is bringing ceramic, diamond, and gold styles to the show, scheduled for Sept. 21–25. (The convention center showcases finished jewelry; loose goods, equipment, and packaging are displayed at the AsiaWorld-Expo, located near the airport and open Sept. 19–23.)

The only daunting aspect? A 16-hour flight from the States, Perret says. “Hong Kong is an easy and efficient city to get around,” he says. “It’s like an exotic version of Boston.”

For Edward Faber, president of Manhattan’s Aaron Faber Gallery, known for its high-end estate jewelry and vintage pocket watches, 2012 will mark his company’s second year as a vendor. “There is no question that China is part of the future, and if we can get our name recognized by buyers—especially from the mainland—they would follow us on the Web,” he says.

Chief among the insights Faber picked up in 2011 is that Chinese buyers want goods with a repair-free history and papers of authenticity. He recalls his toughest sale last year, a pair of 1980s Piaget diamond watches that sold for $95,000—15 percent less than the asking price—after four days of negotiations. “The buyers were fierce negotiators,” he says, adding that the models could retail for as much as $650,000. “The margins at the show are small, but there are opportunities for sales.”