TradeShows

JA NEW YORK SHOW IS BIGGEST IN YEARS

The 1999 summer edition of JA New York (formerly the Jewelers of America International Jewelry Show) was the biggest in years, in vendors as well as visitors. New and larger international delegations, an impressive new designer pavilion, and the launch of JA’s salesperson training program were among the highlights of the August show.

Officials reported 12,021 buyers (a 9% increase over 1998’s figures) and 1,650 exhibitors (200 more than last year). The efforts of organizer Miller Freeman Inc. to expand the show were most evident in the international area. There were large delegations from India, Korea (in jewelry and watches), and Turkey, plus sizeable additions to the Italian and Hong Kong groups. In all, 20 countries were represented.

New and unique. Kicking off the show Aug. 1 was the official launch of the new “Counter Intelligence” course from the Industry Image Task Force, an organization composed of 23 groups. The interactive self-teaching program covers legal and ethical issues for salespeople and is available from Jewelers of America for $79.

Foot traffic was heavy the first and second days of the show but dropped noticeably thereafter. A number of vendors, especially those offering unique or special products, reported good business. Examples included Kurt Adler Inc.’s Polonaise Collection of handcrafted collectible glass ornaments, luxury-quality watches at affordable prices from Jean Marcel and Chase-Durer, and the jewelry collections of Glenn Corp. and Christian Geneve (both watch vendors).

Business seemed generally satisfactory for most exhibitors but not for all. While the Hong Kong pavilion buzzed with U.S. retailers, for example, the first-time Korean watch vendors had virtually none. Buyers from the Northeast predominated at the show, but a number of exhibitors reported buyers from as far away as Canada and Texas. Some vendors, though, lamented the lack of consistently heavy traffic and big buyers. For them, the show was, as one watch vendor put it, “a big regional show with regional buyers.”

Design. In jewelry design, the trends established at the JCK Show in Las Vegas and the Couture Collection & Conference in Phoenix continued in New York. The return to color was the primary trend, and feminine, pretty jewelry styles continued to reign.

The biggest design news at the show was the debut of Design Collection ’99, the new International Jewelry Design Guild pavilion. It featured 65 of IJDG’s 77 members. With big booths, wide aisles, comfortable seating areas, refreshments, and concierge service, the new pavilion was a hit with designers and retailers. Despite some first-day complaints about air conditioning and inadequate outside signage to direct retailers to the pavilion, participants felt that, for a first-year effort, results were good. The pavilion also housed the JA summer show’s traditional New Designer Gallery.

Unlike past years, when fashion editors of industry trade publications voted, this year’s New Designer of the Year award was based on a poll of designers in the IJDG pavilion. The award went to Pedro Boregaard, a former Tiffany & Co. designer who launched his own jewelry 15 years ago. Other new designers exhibiting included Katey Brunini, Judith Fitzpatrick of Judith Yvonne Designs, Jeannette Fossas, Ingo Henn of Henn of London, Louise Lanzi, Hiroko Sato-Pijanowski, and Georg Spreng.

During the show, the American Jewelry Design Council unveiled its 1999 annual design project, the “Puzzle” project, and presented its biannual Benne Award to Laurie Hudson, president of Platinum Guild International USA, for her many contributions promoting fine jewelry design.

AJDC also officially introduced its first executive director, Bob Mitchell. A jeweler and former teacher, Mitchell was instrumental in transforming the Society of North American Goldsmiths from a fledgling organization with a $35,000 debt into a thriving guild with a $250,000 budget. He also developed SNAG’s publication, Metalsmith—originally a photocopied news sheet—into a four-color magazine with a circulation of 15,000.—JCK Staff Report

ATLANTA JEWELRY SHOW ADDS NEW GALLERY

The Atlanta Jewelry Show in August took on a new look with the introduction of a 28-booth designer gallery called “Point of View.” Among the designers were Jewels by Star, Jose Hess, Daunis Fine Jewelry, Bellini, and Henderson Designs. The special pavilion won plaudits from exhibitors, who drew heavy traffic. “The designer section was extremely beneficial for us,” says Anne Gieser, director of operations for Henderson Designs in Charlotte, N.C., a company that specializes in 14k, 18k, and platinum designer jewelry. “It was just phenomenal.”

Longtime exhibitors credit the show’s success to Carol Young, executive director of the Southern Jewelry Travelers Association, which sponsors the event. “It was the best Atlanta show we’ve had in six or seven years,” says Jeff Unger, an SJTA board member and president of B&N Jewelry in Marietta, Ga., which makes hand-engraved wedding bands and other hand-engraved jewelry. “I think it’s because of the hard work from Carol and the repositioning of the show, upgrading the whole look, bringing the better vendors in with the new design center, and the overall marketing. We’re spending more on advertising and marketing, and it worked.”

It sure did. Attendance was up 10% over last year. (Young declined to divulge the figure.) Four hundred vendors occupied 750 booths. First-time exhibitor Franz Brunner, director of sales and marketing for watchmaker Jules Jurgensen, was among those who came away from the show pleased. “We met a lot of new contacts,” says Brunner.—Rob Murphy

TORONTO SHOW TURNOUT RISES

More than 1,800 retail buyers visited Jewellery World Expo, held Aug. 8-10 at the National Trade Centre, Toronto. This was an increase of about 24% over the 1998 figure, according to Reed Exhibition Companies, which produces the show in partnership with the Canadian Jewellers Association. Buyers represented nearly 1,000 companies and came from across Canada and several U.S. states. One hundred sixty companies and associations exhibited at the show.

Special featured areas and a larger show floor helped heighten interest in the event, according to show organizers. Seminar sessions included presentations on platinum, diamonds, and becoming an accredited appraiser. At an “Internet Café,” visitors learned how to take advantage of online opportunities and received free corporate Web pages.