Trade Shows


Attendance drops to 20-year low, but business was good in certain sectors.

The weather was sunny, the temperatures just right. All in all, it was a perfect weekend to be in New York City. So why wasn’t there more business at the JA International Jewelry Show, wondered many vendors.

Attendance at the show, held July 20-23 in the Javits Center, was 12,807, the lowest in 20 years. However, attendance met officials’ expectations and were close to last year’s 12,896, says Judy Karlin-Grant, show director. She noted that “changing buying patterns” have affected attendance. But for now, there are no plans to change show marketing or operations.

Exhibitor attendance was down also, from 1,500 in 1995 to 1,410. And some sections — such as watches and foreign exhibitors — were noticeably smaller than in past years. These factors, plus the absence of some high-end buyers and some big-name exhibitors, had their effect: the mood seemed more laid-back and business was slower.

Still, vendors who had made appointments with clients ahead of time did well. In addition, the designer and new designer galleries often swarmed with activity, and many exhibitors there reported excellent business. Lillian Ball of Ball Studio, New York, N.Y., for example, was very pleased with the buyers she met, including department stores. David Lee Holland, also of New York City, premiered botanically inspired 18k jewelry that attracted buyer interest.

Some New York-area exhibitors seemed especially pleased. “Business is great!” said Leon Bitelman of Shenoa & Co., a New York City platinum and 18k fine jewelry manufacturer. “We haven’t had a sale under $20,000 yet.” Jack Pomeranc of Hinpo-Chass Inc., a Paterson, N.J, clock firm, agreed.

The show featured a new Antique & Estate Jewelry & Watch Pavilion with 100 exhibitors; some new foreign vendors, including a delegation from Mexico; the first-ever Platinum Guild Pavilion, featuring creations by dozens of designers and manufacturers; and “Technology Day,” a full day of seminars about the Internet, high-tech security, software and custom design technology. Here’s a closer look at different sections of the show:

By section: Diamond business was spotty. Companies whose regular clients came to the show did fairly well. However, those looking for new clients weren’t as fortunate. The many included diamonds and very low colors on display were weak sellers except in small sizes.

Among colored stone dealers, some were disappointed with orders and contacts, others posted some good sales. “It has been a good show for us,” said Gabrielle Mattice of Pala International, Fallbrook, Cal., “Some customers paid us right on the spot!”

While different gem varieties and colors mattered, of course, customers seemed to pay more attention to the caliber of cutting. A rare cut staging a comeback this year is the briolette, with facets all around the stone but no pavilion or table facets. They’re especially popular in such gems as citrine, amethyst, rhodolite and peridot.

As for gems themselves, peridot from Pakistan was very popular. Several dealers noted interest in peridot and fine rubies from Myanmar. Other dealers noted more interest in rarer gems, such as chrome tourmaline and spinel. Not so popular were aquamarine, blue topaz and kunzite.

Regarding fashion trends, white metal was in the news. Most of the white gold or platinum pieces featured diamond pave accents. Designers said white is a sophisticated look that will catch on in coastal fashion-forward markets before the rest of the U.S. Also making inroads was matte green gold.

In the watch section, buyer traffic and industry representation were very light. Most vendors concentrated on appointments and visits from current clients, though a few reported unexpected reorders from a late-spring selling spurt.

Titanium emerged as a mainstream metal, seen in additions from Seiko, Citizen, Roven Dino and Boccia. Also seen frequently was European styling, including rounded case-to-bracelet links, rectangular cases and additional color options on the face.

Several watch companies made their first appearance at the show or in the U.S., including Holborn, a golf-theme German watch distributed here by Benoir Design Ltd., New York City, and Burett, a new brand distributed by Samsung Opto-Electronics. Hammerman, a New York City manufacturer known for its high-end jewelry, showed a full collection of jeweled watches. Artempo Designs USA, Hackensack, N.J., displayed unique clock configurations without hands.

Also at the show, Anne Klein showed its new line of sterling silver watches with Swiss movements; Krieger introduced a new steel version of its Furoclasse sports chronometer with Arabic numerals; Bulova showed a large number of new models, including several women’s Accutron watches; Akteo showed select buyers its limited-edition line using the work of famed artist Man Ray as watch faces; and Wenger gave visitors another look at its rectangular- and tank-cased Knight series.

The technology section of the show attracted attention with exhibits of intranets — private computer networks of users, as opposed to the Internet, which is open to any user. Companies offering intranet service included Polygon Network, Dillon, Colo.; Trade.Net, Cold Spring, N.Y., a new network that allows jewelers to buy and sell via a global database; and E.B. Harvey & Co., a jewelry manufacturer in Chattanooga, Tenn., that joined with MCI to create a private- server network so jewelers can view and order its products directly.


Jewelers International Showcase has scheduled seminars for its Miami Beach show, to be held Oct. 19-21 in the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Joseph Tenhagen, president of Diamond Value Index, will present “How Cut Affects Diamond Pricing.” Jerry Ehrenwald, president of the International Gemmological Institute, will discuss “The Likely Future of Certificates and Their Impact on Day-to-Day Diamond Sales and Business.” The Diamond Promotion Service and the Gemological Institute of America will address holiday diamond sales in “Beyond the 4Cs…From Passion to Purchase.” To register for the DPS/GIA seminar, call (800) 370-6789. The cost is $35 per person.

JIS, 6405 Congress Ave., Suite 125, Boca Raton, FL 33487-2844; (407) 998-0205, fax (407) 998-0209.


The Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show presented by Atrium Productions will be held Sept. 5-8 in the Pueblo Inn in Tucson, Ariz. The show will provide wholesale items to members of the trade, but is open and free to the public.

Atrium also will host the Gem, Mineral, Fossil and Jewelry Show at the Pueblo Inn Jan. 27 to Feb. 8; the Gem, Jewelry and Mineral Show at the Quality Hotel and Suites Jan. 31 to Feb. 8; and the Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show at the Pueblo Inn Sept. 4-7.

Atrium Productions, 7170 E. McDonald S-8, Scottsdale, AZ 85253; (602) 998-4000, fax (602) 998-4748, e-mail


The Universal Jewelry Show will be held Oct. 3-5 in the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

The show will feature diamond, colored stone and gold jewelry, as well as loose stones, pearls, manufacturing equipment and packaging. Organizers expect 7,000 buyers and 400 exhibitors from Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Israel, Italy, Canada, India, Spain and the U.S.

David Atlas, associate director of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, will conduct seminars on “How to Buy, Sell and Appraise Estate Jewelry,” “How to Estimate Value and Marketplace” and “How to Write Insurance Replacement Appraisals.”

For discount air, accommodation and entertainment packages, call (800) 458-6161. Universal Jewelry Show, 550 S. Hill St. #1122, Los Angeles, CA 90013; (800) 290-9711 or (213) 623-8662, fax (213) 623-7293.


Orogemma, the third show in this year’s Vicenza Trade Show series, will be held Sept. 14-18 in Vicenza, Italy, and will be accompanied by the Sterling Silver Salon and the International Watch Pavilion. In the U.S., call (800) 443-1479 or (213) 653-4705, fax (213) 653-1768.

TEFAFBasel, an international art and antiques fair, will be held Oct. 26-Nov. 3 in Basel, Switzerland. Among the wares offered will be a wide selection of antique and contemporary jewelry, watches and clocks. European Fine Art Foundation, P.O. Box 1035, 5200 BA ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands; (31-73) 689-0090, fax (31-73) 614-0588.