Trade Shows


The French flair for chic presented a more classic face at Bijorhca Paris.

As hints of color tinted the leaves along the grand boulevards of Paris, the true colors of the French jewelry industry were on display at Bijorhca Paris. The fall edition was held Sept. 6-10 amid a busy month of jewelry shows in Europe and alongside major French men’s fashion shows.

Jewelers showed primarily sleek, classic designs that played up primary colors and toned down size and extravagance. Thin, intricate gold weave chains and rings with three-dimensional finishes and pearl attachments were most notable. Among the primarily French watch exhibitors, strap colors were deeply hued and faces and cases were tank (rectangular) or square instead of round.

Though somewhat smaller than its January edition, Bijorhca nonetheless displayed more than enough examples of French design flair to accommodate buyers across the jewelry spectrum. One hall featured 388 fine jewelry and watch companies, another held 402 fashion jewelrymakers and still others were filled with exhibitors from the gift and other related industries.

Pave and solitaires: Cleaner, simpler jewelry seemed to take design hints from new pared-down apparel fashions. In the typical designs shown at Bijorhca, a single center stone or a trio of finer colored stones (often sapphire, citrine or topaz) draws attention first, then the eye moves to the often unusual finish of the gold. Fewer pieces have two-tone gold finish than in recent years. Instead, the jewelry mixes matte and high polish finishes. One company showed a line of wood-grain-finished 18k gold rings.

The Limoge-based manufacturer Philippe Ratinaud Creations showed its collection of twin-shank reversible rings. By flipping the shanks, the wearer can show one of two setting designs. Designer Andre Benitah, Paris, offered a wide variety of rings and earrings made partially of colorful resin. On some rings, the entire shank is made of resin, topped by gemstones of various cuts set in 18k gold.

De Beers’ emphasis on diamond solitaires attracted a wide range of single-stone diamond pieces. The exception was the surprisingly strong showing of diamond pave rings, bracelets and earrings in all price ranges.

Watches: France’s watch industry is large and diverse. Often contrasted in terms of design with the relatively conservative Swiss brands, French watches cover the full spectrum of timepieces. In recent years, French watch companies have been actively setting up U.S. distribution. Exhibitors at Bijorhca included numerous companies known to U.S. buyers, including Michel Herbelin, Saint Honore, Akteo, Georges Monnin, Pequignet, Clyda, Opex, Christian Bernard, Tam-Time, Vuillemin-Regnier and strap-maker Zuccolo Rochet & Cie.

Pequignet, which makes a full line of designer watches and is among France’s leading luxury watch brands, showed a women’s automatic watch collection it has added to the Moorea line. Matching rings and bracelets are available. The company sells its watches at Asprey in New York City and several other high-end independent jewelers in other cities. “The U.S. is a large market and we prefer to expand there carefully rather than quickly,” said Marianne Henriot, marketing director.

Michel Herbelin, another of France’s best-known luxury brands, added several new watches into its Newport line. The company recently opened a U.S. distribution office in Miami, Fla.

Strap-maker Zuccolo-Rochet & Cie introduced its Sealink sports strap, which features a stainless steel folding clasp traditionally used on bracelets. The company recently built a distribution and manufacturing facility in Lincoln, R.I.

New owners: Starting next year, Bijorhca will be operated by Miller Freeman France, a division of United News &Media, which bought the show in early September. Miller Freeman also publishes National Jeweler magazine. The show was created in 1930 by the BOCI Federation — the Costume Jewellery, Watchmaking, Goldsmiths and Silversmiths, Gifts and Allied Industries Federation — and is France’s leading exhibition for these sectors.

Miller Freeman France plans to reinforce Bijorhca’s independent position, integrate some sections to offer buyers a more niche-oriented show and attract high-quality buyers, says Jacky Joyat, managing director. The first action by Miller Freeman will be to set up pavilions representing North America and Asia, and possibly specific countries. The next edition of the show is scheduled for Jan. 24-28.


More than 1,250 people brandished their resumes and turned out in their interview suits to seek jobs in the jewelry industry at the recent Jewelry CareerFair in Los Angeles. Attendance jumped 25% over last year’s event. The fair was held in conjunction with the Pacific Jewelry Show; 36 companies were on hand to recruit employees in administration, entry-level sales, retail management, design, bench work and manufacturing.

Job seekers benefited from one-on-one counseling and resume critique sessions, as well as panels on design, diamonds, sales, trading, appraising, starting your own business and life skills management. The Town Meeting, conducted by William Boyajian, president of the Gemological Institute of America, focused on “Where Are We Going From Here? The Jewelry Industry in the 21st Century.” Panelists, including Martin Rapaport and Christie’s jewelry director Francois Curiel, discussed mass merchandising, target marketing, on-line services, the auction market and strategic partnerships.

The sessions and opportunities to meet industry professionals provided direction and confidence to many job seekers. “I wasn’t sure what area of the jewelry field I wanted to pursue after I earn my certificate, but meeting with a variety of possible employers has helped me narrow my focus,” said GIA student Andrea Marcucci.

CareerFair was presented by GIA and the Jewelers’ 24 Karat Club of Southern California, and was sponsored by the JCK International Jewelry Shows, the Vicenza Trade Fair Board, the California Jewelers’ Association, the Pacific Jewelry Shows, and the Johnson Family’s Diamond Cellars.


The Dallas Fine Jewelry Show by MIDAS, presented by the Manufacturers, Importers, Diamond Dealers and Associates Show, was held Sept. 7-9 in Market Hall.

“We were very pleased,” said Janisue Maynard, executive director of MIDAS. “Some exhibitors told me it was the best regional show they had been to this year.” The timing of the show was perfect for many attendees, she says.

Though most exhibitors noted slow traffic, many were pleased with their business. “There aren’t the number of people, but everybody who’s here is very interested in buying,” said Becky Gow of Adamas Diamond Corp., Sommerset, Ky., which offered diamond rings, tennis bracelets and pendants. “They have a good outlook for Christmas, and they’re buying a little bit of everything.”

Diamond rings and tennis bracelets were the most prevalent jewelry at the show. Designer Suzanne Grover of Inter-Continental Jewelers, Houston, Tex., said her tennis bracelets designed with bezel-set diamonds sold widely, as did the diamond solitaire necklace promoted heavily this season by De Beers’ Diamond Promotion Service.

Unigem International of Beverly Hills, Cal., was also busy with its sales of bezel-set diamonds encircled first in white gold, then in yellow gold to give the illusion of a larger diamond. Gold chains, charms and earrings and silver jewelry designs were also popular, and business was heavy at several large booths advertising “close-out prices” for large selections of merchandise.

New this year was the Antique Pavilion, featuring 47 companies offering estate jewelry. The pavilion buzzed with steady activity throughout the show, and Maynard reported a good response from buyers. Peggy Gottlieb, an estate jewelry dealer from Beverly Hills, Cal., found several new customers at the show. “There were a surprising number of retailers who had never carried estate jewelry but liked what they saw and bought a few pieces to start a line,” she said.

Seminars, social events: Some things old and some things new were well-covered during two days of educational seminars at MIDAS. Appraiser and historian Joyce Jonas, the coordinator of jewelry courses for New York University, spent the Saturday sessions discussing the condition and quality of different periods of antique jewelry in conjunction with the Antique Pavilion. Sunday sessions touched on the quality of estate jewelry again, but also embraced contemporary topics such as synthetic diamonds and the Internet.

The Southwestern 24 Karat Club held its annual black-tie dinner and dance at the Wyndham-Anatole Hotel for 646 guests. A wine and beer reception greeted attendees as the show closed the second day.

A silent auction brought a record $7,400 for this year’s benefactor, the North Texas GIA Alumni Association scholarship fund. The money will be used for a $1,000 scholarship to a GIA jewelry or gemology student from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas or Missouri, and to set up an endowment fund for future scholarships. The most-discussed lot of the auction was a football signed by Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith, which sold for $300.

Next year’s show will be Sept. 20-22 in Market Hall.


It was just like old times as the Pacific Jewelry Show returned to the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, its former location, on Aug. 23-26. The show briefly moved to San Diego, moved to the Los Angeles Convention Center last year and now back to its former longtime home. PJS, which is produced, managed and sponsored by the California Jewelers Association, spread over the California Level of the Century Plaza and the Ballroom areas of the Century Plaza Tower, where the Plumb Club Pavilion and the Designers Marketplace were located.

Dale Perelman, Jewelers of America president, was the keynote speaker. The World Gold Council and the Diamond Promotion Service also made presentations. Linda Abell of Crescent Westwood Jewelers in West Los Angeles was the featured speaker at the annual Golden Nuggets breakfast.

A day-long slate of seminars began the show on Friday. Also during the show, JA held its annual national affiliates meeting, the American Gem Society offered its ColorVision and appraisals exams and the Gemological Institute of America held its CareerFair.


Fire agate, an opal-like mineral, was the featured gem of the Rock, Gem and Jewelry Show Nov. 1-3 in Tucson, Ariz. Exhibits and demonstrations educated attendees about the mineral. Dealers and artisans exhibited precious gems, jewelry, minerals, crystals, stones, equipment, and more.

The show, which was open to the public, was held at the Special Events Center at the Rodeway Inn, I-10 and Grant Road. Old Pueblo Lapidary Club, 3118 North Dale Ave., Tucson, AZ 85712; (520) 323-9154.


The Columbus Jewelry Show, held Aug. 16-18 in the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, received high marks for its comprehensive lineup of seminars, an expanded designer section and one of the newer convention halls in the country.

Buyers and exhibitors praised the convention center for its spaciousness and convenience. They also liked the show’s timing and geographic placement. “We always get new customers here from West Virginia, Indiana, northern Ohio and even Pennsylvania,” said Allen Geller of Wittnauer International, New Rochelle, N.Y. He was showing his company’s new Montego watches and its Ellesse brand.

“This show always draws well from a number of good markets,” echoed Uwe Koenigsberger of Brokoe Manufacturing, a gold watch manufacturer in Glen Head, N.Y.

Mary Lou Dangler of Group D Inc., Sarasota, Fla., said there was strong interest in designer goods, particularly South Sea pearls and 18k gold, as well as for all types of two-tone earrings, pendants and rings.

Indeed, pearl and loose gemstone dealers were busy, while the expanded designer area drew a steady crowd during both show days. Designer Patricia Daunis said she remains impressed with the good reaction new lines generate at this show. And the timing is right for independents filling in their holiday inventory with one-of-a-kind items, she added.

Artist Mark Kaplan displayed a 10.71-ct. internally flawless diamond that had not been shown publicly in 16 years. As if that weren’t enough of an attraction, he placed the stone inside a showcase with a live king snake. The snake often coiled around the stone and attracted attention to its case just inside the main exhibit hall doors. Kaplan said he used the non-poisonous snake to draw attention to his downtown Columbus business and to the stone. The snake was a charm — Kaplan said the stone has been sold for about $250,000. Kaplan plans to use the snake exhibit in other promotional efforts.

Seminars: A full day of educational seminars preceded the show. These included an introduction to the Gemological Institute of America’s new “Appraisal Correspondence Program” by Diana Flora, a discussion of colored stones by GIA’s Debbie Hiss-Odell and Jim Viall, and a talk about retail jeweler insurance by Brian McClusky of the Great American Insurance Co. Additional seminars included “Platinum’s Place in the Retail Marketplace” by Caroline Stanley of the Platinum Guild International, “Managing for Profit & Increased Cash Flow in the ’90s” by GIA’s Dan Askew, “Business Succession Planning” by GIA’s Peggy Ann Wallace, “The Jewelry Industry and the Next Millennium” by Jewelers of America Executive Director Matthew Runci, and a study of laboratory-grown gemstones by Tom Chatham, president of Chatham Inc.

Other events included the Columbus Jewelry Show Gold Outing Tee Off golf tournament, a cocktail reception to introduce retailers to the JCK International Jewelry Show to be held in Orlando in February and “Jewelers Night Out.”


Here comes the Bridal Show at the JA Las Vegas! show, scheduled to be held Feb. 2-4 in the Sands Expo & Convention Center. Sponsored by Modern Bride and National Jeweler magazines, the “show within a show” will prepare jewelers for the busy spring bridal season with the latest in engagement and wedding rings, diamonds, pearls and designer gift-related and wedding items.

Seminars and special presentations incorporated into JA’s regular educational program will teach jewelers how to build bridal sales and give them a better understanding of today’s bridal customer.

“This is a multipurpose show — the first jewelry show of its kind to specifically target the bridal market, a $35 billion-a-year business,” said Joan Landis, group director of jewelry shows for Miller Freeman, one of the organizers of the show. “Brides and grooms represent an outstanding opportunity for retailers to develop and retain lifetime customers.”

To promote bridal sales in their stores before February, retailers can take advantage of the JA Las Vegas! Down the Aisle promotion package. The promotion will run Nov. 1-Dec. 16 and will give customers a chance to win a wedding — or renewal of vows — and honeymoon to Las Vegas during the show. Promotion packages include counter cards, entry forms, advertisements and postcards. The retailer whose customer wins the contest will win two round-trip airfare tickets and hotel accommodations for four nights for the JA Las Vegas! show.

JA Las Vegas!, P.O. Box 1422, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632; (888) 253-6434, fax (201) 346-1571.


The Minnesota Jewelers Association has scheduled its Upper Midwest Trade Show and annual convention for Feb. 22-23 in the Radisson Hotel South in Minneapolis, Minn. Organizers expect 165 exhibitors at the fine jewelry trade show. Minnesota JA, 1711 W. County Rd. B #300, N. Roseville, MN 55113; (800) 544-6416.


The American Craft Council will sponsor craft fairs in four cities in 1997.

The shows will be held in the Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Md., Feb. 18-23; St. Paul Civic Center, St. Paul, Minn., April 10-13; Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio, June 29-July 1; and Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, Cal., Aug. 6-10. The fairs offer a variety of crafts, including jewelry, ornaments and art objects in many media.

American Craft Enterprises, 21 South Eltings Corner Rd., Highland, NY 12528; (800) 836-3470, fax (914) 883-6130.


The Mineral and Gem Society of Castro Valley will hold its Gem and Mineral Show Feb. 28-March 2 in Hayward, Cal. More than 40 vendors will offer rocks, gems, minerals, jewelry and beads at the show, which is open to the public. Mineral and Gem Society of Castro Valley, 253 S. 25th St., Richmond, CA 94804; (510) 233-8821.


The retail design exposition GlobalShop will be held March 22-24 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. The show will feature the latest innovations in store design, creative fixtures, operations and construction materials, merchandising and point-of-purchase advertising.

The exposition will be divided into five pavilions: the Store Fixturing Show, the Visual Merchandising Show, the Retail Operations & Construction Expo, the Point-of-Purchase Advertising Institute Retail Expo and the Exhibit Ideas Show.

GlobalShop, 6255 Barfield Rd., Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30328-4300; (800) 646-0091.


Basel ’97, the watch, clock and jewelry fair in Basel, Switzerland, offers VIP packages to American buyers who plan to attend the fair, scheduled for April 10-17. Packages will include free entry passes, tram passes and food vouchers. ACL Consulting, Inc., 4804 American Dr., Durham, NC 27705; (919) 383-1780, fax (919) 383-5597.

For an international perspective on how to market products, the Marketing Services fair will be held April 23-26 in the Trade Fair and Exhibition Centre in Frankfurt, Germany. Sections of the fair will focus on services related to project conception, creation, production, media services, trade fairs, direct marketing, sales promotions, sales and multimedia. Messe Frankfurt Communication, Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1, 60327 Frankfurt am Main, Germany; (49-69) 7575-6840, fax (49-69) 7575-6612.

World Wide Web watchers will now find the Vicenza Trade Fairs on the Internet at The site includes news about services, cultural events, accreditation requests, programs, show calendars and exhibition information.

Watchtech ’97 is scheduled for March 5-8 in the Exhibition Centre in Hong Kong. Organizers expect 5,000 visitors to the exposition, which will include watches, cases, straps and bands, dials, movements, crowns and related tools and machinery. Brilliant-Art Trade Fairs Ltd., Rm. 1101 Tung Wai Commercial Bldg., 111 Gloucester Rd., Wanchai, Hong Kong; (852) 2511-6077, fax (852) 2507-5855.

The eighth International Jewellery Tokyo will be held Jan. 29-Feb. 1, 1997. The show, to be held in the new Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Japan’s largest convention center, is expected to be even bigger than IJT ’96, which drew 682 exhibitors from more than 30 countries. Reed Exhibition Companies, 383 Main Ave., Norwalk, CT 06851; (203) 840-5313, fax (203) 840-9313.

Treasured antique clocks dominated the Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair, held June 13-22 in London, England. Exceptional sales included a silver-mounted grande-sonnerie bracket clock by Joseph Knibb that sold for $154,000, an enamel Faberge clock by Henrik Wigstom that sold for $151,000 and a George I red japanned three-train, quarter-striking bracket clock made by Joseph Windmills that sold for $90,600.