Trade Shows

COOLER ATTENDANCE, REGIONAL BUYING MARK JA SHOW IN NEW YORK

The heat wave outside made buyers at the JA International Jewelry Show July 22-25 eager to enter the cooler confines of New York City’s Javits Convention Center. However, attendance was down from recent years. And while some buyers were busy searching for new or year-end merchandise, most were reordering proven sellers.

Traffic was slow on the opening Saturday and peaked Sunday and early Monday, according to many exhibitors. A few noted that retailers in the Northeast stayed in their stores on Saturday and came to the show on Sunday. Exhibitors also said a larger percentage of visitors were from New York and elsewhere in the eastern U.S.

While fewer in numbers, the regional buyers were serious, said vendors. “Buyers wanted very specific things and weren’t interested in looking at anything they hadn’t planned on buying beforehand,” said Marvin Finker of Trielle Diamonds,New York City. Other vendors agreed few retailers were browsing.

Harry Schukar, manager of the wholesale division of Harry Winston, New York City, felt the show was generally slow, depending on the company. “How well you did depended upon how many of your established accounts showed up to buy,” he said. “There’s little new business to be found here.”

Not surprisingly, companies with clients in the East were most enthusiastic. “My salespeople with clients from the southeastern states and along the Eastern Seaboard were busy every day,” said Larry Lich, vice president of Raymond Weil, New York City. Ray Mastoloni of Frank Mastoloni & Sons, New York, said the show was a good one for his company &endash; “especially in higher-end goods. We did see some new traffic here, so that is encouraging.”

Blenheim Jewelry Shows Inc., which owns and produces the show in conjunction with Jewelers of America, said buyer attendance totaled 12,896, down from about 15,000 at last year’s summer show. The number of exhibitors remained about 1,500.

JEWELRY FASHION RETURNS TO BASIC PRETTINESS

Jewelry design at the show placed a renewed emphasis on being pretty. Most of the top trends of the past few years continued, including ancient- and nature-inspired jewelry, celestial themes, angels, Italian-style looks and the use of colored gemstones and mixes of metal colors and textures.

There was a new stress on detailing, unusual shapes and uses of gems, appealing color combinations and feminine dimensions. The jewelry is made to go with the new conservative, practical and pretty clothes everyone hopes women will buy; sales of some key go-with looks such as pins and bracelets are rising already.

Among the new detailing, look for creative clasp treatments, new setting techniques, a touch of color, two pieces that interlock and so forth. Shown here are some of the new looks that premiered at the show.

WATCH WORDS

Most watch exhibitors at JA showed styles they had debuted earlier this year. However, some added a few models in the weeks before the show, and several companies were new to the show and the U.S.

While sport watches were prevalent overall, women’s models, often in 14k gold, dominated the newest styles. Most new women’s lines are dressier to complement the sporty looks seen so often in the past few years.

Universal Geneve, for example, introduced its first women’s 18k gold line with gold bracelets. Pulsar played with the words carrot/karat by displaying bright orange stuffed carrots to remind jewelers of its new 14k gold women’s line. Bulova expanded its 14k gold collection of men’s and women’s watches. Citizen’s Life line of outdoorsy timepieces added softer, dressier women’s watches. Clydia, a Paris-based design line, showed an 18k goldplated women’s line called Samoa. David Yurman added models with pavé dials and pavé cabled bracelets to his 14k and 18k gold watch lines. And Wittnauer gave special play to a new model in its women’s Krystal collection of goldplated dress watches set with Austrian crystals.

Zodiac, distributed in the U.S. by Wittnauer International, debuted its Marine Life Collection in stainless steel and two-tone versions. Roven Dino showed a new dressy diver series called Rallye, available in quartz chronograph, automatic and quartz versions. And Cyma added more diver models to its Signature sports series.

In other watch news from the show:

  • Francho-Menotti, an Italian-designed, Swiss-made sport watch, is now distributed exclusively by Alpine Timepieces, Long Island City, N.Y.

  • AKTEO, the watch featuring sport, hobby and whimsical designs from French artist J.C. Mareschal, created its own site on the Internet. It established a World Wide Web “store” that allows users to preview current and new models, obtain the locations of nearby retailers who carry the line and chat about various designs. Wholesalers can view new watch faces quickly, shortening order time, said Matthew Rockett, vice president of marketing. AKTEO’s U.S. offices are in Framingham, Mass.

  • Nice, an Italian-designed watch with Swiss quartz or automatic movement, made its U.S. debut with a variety of animals, shapes, colors and designs on leather-lined cork straps. The most popular model shows ladybugs on the strap and dial. Nice is distributed by SYR International Corp., 15257 S.W. 46 Lane, Suite G, Miami, Fla. 33185; (305) 227-9766.

  • The American Clock & Watch Museum exhibited watch masterpieces and offered a watch history timeline.

  • Six Hong Kong watch firms exhibited at the show for the first time since 1991. Spurring their appearance was a rise in exports to the U.S., Hong Kong’s largest timepiece market. Exports to the U.S. grew 7% in 1994 and 15% in the first four months of 1995.

POLICE ARREST SIX AT SHOW, PREVENT $60,000 THEFT

At least six people were arrested and charged with theft or attempted theft during the JA Show.

“Show security was tight,” said Sgt. Frank Torres of the Special Frauds Squad of the NewYorkCity Police, “but professional thieves always find a way” to get in.

Four suspects &endash; two men outside the Javits Convention Center and a man and woman inside &endash; were arrested July 23 before they could steal anything. All had authentic show badges for buyers or vendors. Police said one badge was stolen and the others were retrieved from rest room trash bins.

The two inside the show each carried empty attaché cases. Police suspected they planned to place their empty cases beside any similar dealer or buyer’s case and walk off with the one containing jewelry.

Two other men who entered the show separately wearing bogus buyers badges partly covered by their coats were arrested July 25, shortly before the show closed, for trying to steal 72 diamond rings worth an estimated $60,000 retail. Torres said the two went to a booth operated by Farsi Jewelers of Los Angeles, Cal., where three or four pads of jewelry were being shown to several customers. A salesperson handed one suspect a pad of diamond rings.The suspect palmed a ring then quickly folded the pad and tried to stick it into his partner’s waistband when the salesperson wasn’t looking. Undercover New York police had been watching the two and immediately arrested them. They were identified as Balen Delgado, 58, of Queens and Juan Samarano, 43, of Manhattan. They were charged with burglary, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

Two other crimes against show participants occurred at other locations. In one case, a gunman took a reported $100,000 in jewels from an exhibitor as he walked to his hotel after the show. No other details were available at press time.

In the second case, Timothy Watson of Johannesburg, SouthAfrica, a diamond dealer in town for the show, was stabbed during a robbery attempt about 10 p.m. July 23. Police said Watson and a friend were walking near Central Park in New York’s affluent Upper West Side when four or five men approached them, demanded cash, grabbed Watson from behind and stabbed him in the back as he broke free. He was treated for a punctured lung at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center and was in stable condition at press time. Watson told reporters he bore no ill will against the city for the attack and would come back again.

ORGANIZERS CANCEL NORTHEAST SHOW

The Northeast Jewelry Show, which debuted in September 1992 as a last-chance forum for holiday ordering, has been canceled.

The show was sponsored by the New York State Jewelers Association and produced by Miller-Freeman Jewelry Group, publisher of National Jeweler magazine. A spokesperson for NYSJA confirmed that no show was scheduled for 1995 but declined to comment further. Miller Freeman couldn’t be reached at press time.

The show attracted 160 exhibitors in 1994, up from about 100 the first two years. Buyers totaled 500 the first year (when the show conflicted with Labor Day weekend), 2,000 in 1993 and 1,250 in 1994 (when traffic tie-ups because of a nearby bicycle race were blamed for keeping many would-be buyers away on the first day of the show).

FLORIDA GIFT & JEWELRY SHOW GETS NEW OWNER

Ullo International Exhibition Group, Natick, Mass., has bought the Florida International Gift Show and Jewelry Accessories Expo, held annually in Orlando, Fla.

The show was acquired from DMC Expositions Inc., Dallas, Tex., for an undisclosed amount and will be managed by former DMC employees who are now part of Ullo International. The 1995 show was held Aug. 5-8 in the Orange County Convention Center.

The expo averages 500 exhibitors and 8,000 buyers.

Philip P. Ullo, who headed Reed Exhibition Cos.’ worldwide operations before retiring in January, is president and chief executive of Ullo International. The company is located at One Apple Hill, Suite 223, P.O. Box 8189, Natick, Mass. 01760; (508) 650-3436, fax (508) 650-3482.

COUTURE FOCUSES ON HIGH-END

The first Couture Collection & Conference, organized by the Miller-Freeman Group, publisher of National Jeweler and held June 4-7 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, Cal., gave high-end jewelers a chance to network, build relationships and plan for fall sales. The by-invitation-only event focused on fall merchandise and market planning and included seminars and discussion groups on various topics of mutual concern.

Attending were 116 retail jewelers, 79 manufacturers, trade and consumer press and syndicated advertising groups.

The event opened with a gala reception and dinner that included a live jewelry/fashion presentation. Models wore jewelry by the participating manufacturers, and Vogue magazine presented a fall fashion runway report. The gala and a series of buffet lunches, cocktail parties and small-group dinner gatherings also facilitated networking among attendees.

Marshall Loeb, editor at large of Fortune magazine, delivered the keynote address. He spoke about the increasing pace of change in today’s world and its effect on business. Economically, Loeb predicted a period of prolonged but moderate expansion, with the fourth quarter of 1995 expected to be strong and 1996 stronger yet. He said he foresees moderate inflation, lower interest rates by the end of the year and a rising value for the dollar. He also said the U.S. stock market should do well &endash; immediately and long-term.

Loeb cited the rise of women as an economic force, especially in the U.S., and stressed the need for the U.S. to become more competitive globally. He predicted companies will continue to trim their work forces and restructure so they can compete with leaner foreign companies.

He also spoke about growing economic power in foreign countries and how it could affect the U.S. Several nations to watch for spectacular growth are India, which has the world’s second-largest middle class; South Africa, which has tremendous mineral wealth; a number of Latin American countries, especially Chile and Argentina; and the Asian nations of Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and China.

The affluent market was the focus of a seminar presented by the Platinum Guild International and David Arnold of Town & Country magazine. And Futurist Frank Ogden spoke about major trends that have an impact on luxury businesses. Many of the products we’ll consider indispensable in our lifetime haven’t even been invented yet, he said.

The general seminar sessions were followed by a series of small-group meetings on such diverse topics as sports and special events marketing, getting exposure in consumer fashion magazines and other luxury products that can augment the usual jewelry-store mix.

JIS PLANS SHOW IN CARIBBEAN

Jewelers International Showcase will launch a new jewelry show in the Caribbean this fall. It’s scheduled for Nov. 11-13 in the Wyndham Sugar Bar Resort in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

JIS expects about 400 booths at the show, which resulted from four years of planning and negotiations to reduce governmental red tape for exhibitors and buyers. JIS President Michael Breslow points to the Caribbean’s jewelry purchasing power as a reason for launching the show.

The event will showcase fine and costume jewelry, antique jewelry, loose stones, timepieces, packaging and display materials, coins, computer systems and related equipment.

JIS will continue its shows in Miami Beach, scheduled for Oct. 7-9 this year and Jan. 20-22, 1996. However, JIS has dropped its Las Vegas, Nev., show, which debuted in 1994 and had been scheduled for Oct. 21-23 this year.

Special hotel and travel rates are available for all shows. Jewelers International Showcase, 6405 Congress Ave., Suite 125, Boca Raton, Fla. 33487-2844; (407) 998-0205, fax (407) 998-0209.

FOREIGN SHOW UPDATE

Jewelry will be a feature of TEFAF Basel, the European Fine Art Fair, a new event scheduled for Sept. 16-24 in Basel, Switzerland. The fair will feature jewelry designed in the second half of the 19th century by European jewelers who drew their inspiration from different periods of history, from ancient Egypt to Baroque. Examples include a French brooch with a 3-ct. octagonal emerald surrounded by four square emeralds and bordered with pearls. The piece, inspired by Baroque design and made during the reign of Napoleon III, also has clusters of diamonds and emeralds that detach to form earrings. Also at the fair will be works by 20th century craftspeople such as René Lalique and Georges Fouquet, Oriental and Islamic works and modern creations. Sue Bond Public Relations, Five-A Bramber Rd., London W14 9PA; (44-171) 381-1324, fax (44-171) 610-1890.

VICENZAORO CLUB BUILDS GOLDEN WALL OF FAME

The Vicenza Trade Fair Board hosted VicenzaOro Club ’95 at Metronome in New York City July 24. The event was held in collaboration with Banco Ambrosiano Veneto.

More than 350 U.S. and Italian jewelers, retailers, industry VIPs and members of the press were invited to the festivities, which included cocktails, dinner, entertainment and modeling of Italian jewelry. Guests also were invited to join in building a wall of golden bricks symbolizing the relationship that bonds the Italian and U.S. jewelry industries. Specifically, they were invited to leave their handprints and signatures in bricks cast during the event. The bricks will be sent to Vicenza, where they will be used to build a Golden Wall of Fame in the halls of the Vicenza trade fair.

OLD NEW DESIGNERS

Twenty-two jewelers who first appeared in JA’s New Designer Gallery 10 or more years ago and who still exhibit at the show received silver plaques during a special ceremony. The awards will be presented annually to New Designer Gallery graduates who reach their 10th anniversary with the show.

The designers and the year they first exhibited in the gallery are: Sandy Baker, 1977 (the gallery’s first year); Penny Preville and David Yurman, 1978; Etienne Perret, Charles Krypell, Mildred Savitt and Larry Seegers, 1979; Tom Kruskal, 1980; Paul Morelli and Thomas Michaels, 1981; Whitney Boin and Donna Chambers, 1983; Ed Spencer, Steven Lagos, Cornelis Hollander and Barbara Westwood 1984; and Scott Keating, Janet Gabriel, George Sawyer, Chris Correia and Nancy and David Stone, 1985.