The Lure of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair



The popular September show is drawing more Americans to the East

At the end of this month, Patricia Faber, co-owner of the Aaron Faber Gallery in New York City, will visit the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair for the first time. 

Although Faber and her husband/partner, Edward, are ­primarily retailers who exhibit their vintage watches and estate jewelry at the occasional antique show, such as the ­October fair in Miami Beach, this year they are exhibiting at the Hong Kong fair—one of three mega-events on the global jewelry calendar, along with the JCK show in Las Vegas and Baselworld in Switzerland—in order to test the waters of the Asian market.

“There’s been a much stronger Asian presence [at the antique shows],” Faber says. “It occurred to us, ‘Why not just go there?’?”

Faber’s not the only one eager to establish a toehold in the Far East. Her plans reflect a growing interest on the part of American jewelers to exploit the explosive growth in the world’s hottest luxury market. Her timing couldn’t be better. The September fair is ground zero for the phenomenon. The event now ranks as Hong Kong’s largest-ever fair in terms of exhibition space, with a combined 130,000 square meters spread across two venues: the AsiaWorld-Expo adjacent to the airport and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Vintage 1970s Patek Philippe for Tiffany & Co. wristwatch in 18k gold, Ref. 3582; $12,500; Aaron Faber Gallery, New York City; 212-586-8411; aaronfaber.com

Faber is bringing a curated selection of collectible wristwatches, “very special Art Deco estate jewelry, and some really strong contemporary jewelry” to woo Asian buyers, but she’s the first to admit that she doesn’t know what to expect from the show.

Those familiar with the event say Faber should expect an education. “Coming when it does, the September show is a real bellwether for the fall season, and for the mood of the entire industry,” says Russell Shor, senior industry analyst at the Gemological Institute of America. This year, he says, the focus will undoubtedly be on prices: “We’ll see how much push back there is on polished prices. Because if people don’t think they’re sustainable, they’re not going to pay.”

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