Trade Shows

JA SHOW CLAIMS 8% GAIN

Organizers of Jewelers of America’s International Jewelry Show claim an increase in attendees – the first in several years – at this year’s event, held July 18-21 in New York City. The figure, they say, is based on a new and more accurate attendance-verification system.

“We’ve stopped the slide. This show is the first in five years to show growth,” says Joan Landis, group show director. According to figures from the new verification system (based on scanning attendees’ badges), 11,020 people came this year, which organizers say is 8% more than in 1997. (Under the old system, preregistered JA members were included in the final tallies whether they came or not. The probable number of non-attendees was deducted from last year’s figure of 11,089 to get the 8% increase.)

Attendance at the summer show had been dropping for a number of years, starting under its former owners. Miller Freeman Jewelry Group bought the JA Show in early 1997 and pledged to reverse that trend.

“We spent the past year putting many of our dreams, research, and initiatives [for improving and revitalizing the show] into action,” says Landis. For example, much of what had been the watch area was given over to jewelry designers, estate jewelry, and the Platinum Pavilion. The watch section itself was reconfigured as the “American Time Watch Show,” featuring 40 firms.

There was also an increase in total show exhibitors for the first time in several years. According to show officials, there were 1,450 vendors, 140 more than in 1997. Many of them were members of international delegations and included firms attempting to enter the U.S. market for the first time. Hong Kong, for example, brought 76 exhibitors, a 10% increase, while there were 140 Italian exhibitors, also up some 10%.

Foot traffic was brisk on Sunday and Monday, the second and third days of the event. Vendors generally said business was satisfactory, though few reported big sales and a number said they had hoped for more visitors.

Nevertheless, Landis and other show officials said they were satisfied with the “quality and quantity of attendees” and the “quality of companies [exhibiting].”

Educational events were well-attended. They included the JA Conference program, consisting of practical, hour-long sessions in JA’s Certified Store Managers and Certified Jewelers programs; the return of “Diamond Day,” a full day of education workshops, debates on diamond trade, and a tour of New York’s diamond district; watch seminars; and a day of seminars devoted to antique and estate jewelry. An important event preceding the show was the Gemological Institute of America’s Career Day.

On the show’s social calendar, there were a number of “must” events. They included the Italian Jewelry Awards Dinner, the American Jewelry Design Council reception and Benne Award, the Platinum Guild International Design Awards Reception, the National Jeweler Retailer Hall of Fame awards and luncheon, the New York State Jewelers dinner cruise, and receptions and dinners sponsored by the Indian Diamond and Colorstone Association, the Women’s Jewelry Association, and the Japan Pearl Exporters Association.

– William George Shuster

BASEL FAIR DATES ARE SET THROUGH 2005

Dates have been set for the World Watch, Clock, and Jewellery Show in Basel, Switzerland, from 1999 through 2005.

Next year’s show dates have been pushed back to allow for completion of the renovation of Building 1. The 1999 Basel fair will be held April 29-May 6.

In subsequent years, the fair will be held in late March. Organizers have scheduled future Basel fair dates as follows: March 23-30, 2000; March 22-29, 2001; March 14-21, 2002; March 20-27, 2003; March 18-25, 2004; and March 16-23, 2005.

FASHION JEWELRY EXPO DEBUT IS SLATED

The Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America (MJSA) is teaming up with the Jewelry Manufacturers Association and the United Jewelry Show to create the Fashion Jewelry World Expo. The new show will be held May 14-16, 1999, and will overlap with the first day of EXPO Providence, MJSA’s annual jewelry supplier trade show.

The new show aims to expand the market for finished fashion jewelry by creating a central forum where U.S. manufacturers can sell to domestic and international buyers.

MJSA has a promotional budget of $75,000 and is seeking another $300,000 in federal and state grants to subsidize bringing international buyers to the show.

For information, call (800) 444-6572 or visit mjsa.polygon.net.