Given the downturn in China and general economic woes worldwide, the mood was surprisingly upbeat at the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, with many exhibitors confessing that, while they hadn’t expected much, a stronger presence of American buyers was cause for optimism among traders.
A total of 3,526 companies from 48 countries, including 204 from the United States, exhibited at the fair, held at the AsiaWorld-Expo Sept. 19–23 and Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Sept. 21–25. Organizer UBM Asia Ltd. reported slightly more than 51,000 visitors, with Hong Kong, China, India, and the United States sending the largest delegations.
Pietro Minghi, director of Miiori New York, which displayed a range of jewelry from the Robert Procop–designed Style of Jolie line, said he was buoyed by the response to the brand’s emerald pieces at the fair and at a preshow private event. And in its first show, New York City brand Aaron Basha found that its Evil Eye and Ladybug designs were particularly popular—so much so, said Sasson Basha, that “we are now planning to introduce new elements to celebrate the Asian lifestyle.”
18k white gold and diamond earrings with blue sapphires; $40,000; Emsaru, NYC; 212-245-2289; emsaru.com
Show veterans such as Atul Dangayach, owner of New York City’s Emsaru, said despite some buyer resistance to price hikes (20–30 percent in the past 18 months for fine color), he saw more serious buyers, especially from the Far East and Europe. More surprising: Diamantaires were in a hopeful mood, spurred by an upturn in recent sales to China. “In the first half of the year China hit rock-bottom,” said Darshan Bhagat, chairman of Hong Kong’s China Diamond Corp. “But there was a lot of movement in August.”
For many, the fair was a harbinger of a stronger fourth quarter and a recovery in the United States. Ajward Deen, of A.M.S. Deen & Sons in Colombo, Sri Lanka, summed it up best: “We’re now optimistic that we can finish this year on a promising note.”