After a decidedly tough year, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) got a bit of good news: Numbers at the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show and Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, which ran Feb. 28–March 4 and March 2–6, respectively, were up. Combined, the fairs drew some 4,480 exhibitors and more than 85,000 buyers from 144 countries and regions—a 6 percent bump from 2016.
The volatile gold price, global economic uncertainty, and the U.S. presidential election were “burdens” in 2016, admitted Kent Wong, chairman of the HKTDC advisory committee, at an overseas-journalist breakfast. But “disposable income will continue to increase,” said the Chow Tai Fook managing director. “Donald Trump wants to rejuvenate the U.S. market.”
Meanwhile, Lawrence Ma, chairman of the show’s organizing committee, was pleased with an influx of new exhibitors from locales including Nigeria and the British Virgin Islands and the visible increase in foot traffic. In total, more than 33,000 buyers attended the Diamond, Gem & Pearl show, held at the airport-adjacent AsiaWorld-Expo, and about 52,000 visited the jewelry show at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.
On the floor, we saw an abundance of rubies—many, of course, Mozambican, but also Burmese and Thai. And pink, not surprisingly, continued to be a top seller—as JCK and many others forecast for 2017. At Lorenzo Jewelry, among a set of cases boasting a rainbow’s worth of colored stones, morganite emerged as a clear favorite.
“Our coral and pink tourmaline collections did really well,” said Divyanshu Navlakha of Houston-based Sutra (the brand also has a secondary office in Hong Kong). “We noticed a trend of many clients seeking statement coral earrings, and moved several gemmy pink tourmaline pieces.”
And it wasn’t just pink stones: Pink gold also proved quite popular. Bangkok’s Artinian Fine Jewellery “did quite well” with its boutique brand, Sartoro, said marketing manager Paris Kouyoumdjian. “Clients found the rose gold grouping of collection pieces quite eye-catching and unique, loving the simplicity, wearability, and accessibility,” he said of the unfussy but luxe diamond jewels. “They wanted uncomplicated designs for their everyday sellable inventory.”
Top: Signature Floral Starburst earrings with 17 cts. t.w. pink tourmalines and 3.5 cts. t.w. diamonds in 18k rose gold; $15,000; Sutra; 713-984-4987; sutrajewels.com