The 28th edition of the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show enjoyed a record-breaking buyer turnout, drawing 37,000 visitors or an increase of 16 percent year-on-year, the fair organiser announced.
The trade show also featured 2,800-plus exhibitors from 46 countries and regions, “making it the most international of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s (HKTDC) fairs, as well as the largest in total area,” HKTDC said.
Held from March 4 to 8 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the event registered a 23 percent increase in overseas buyer numbers, led by the US, which saw a 22 percent spike in attendance numbers; Switzerland, an increase of 6 percent; and France, up 30 percent.
Buyer turnout from main-land China also grew by 33 percent; India, an increase of 41 percent; Russia, up 27 percent; Brazil, a growth of 29 percent; and Japan, up 16 percent.
The diamond, coloured gemstone and finished jewellery sections drew some of the largest crowds at the Fair, as buyers replenish their inventory levels with new purchases.
Demand for diamonds
“It has been a very good show compared to the March Hong Kong fairs of the last three years,” Eden Rachminov, owner of Rachminov Diamonds 1891, told JNA.
The company, which supplies top-quality fancy coloured diamonds, said on-site transactions were up by at least 100 percent compared to last year’s show. “All of our items were moving very well,” Rachminov said.
The Israel Diamond Pavilion, which housed 61 Israeli diamantaires, enjoyed high-volume foot traffic throughout the five-day Fair.
“Right from the first day of the show, our area was packed with buyers,” said Yair Sahar, CEO of Ramat Gan-headquartered Sahar Atid Diamonds. “I found that most of the companies exhibiting here were happy with the Fair results, from the suppliers of smaller-sized to carat-sized diamonds, and in all colours, qualities and shapes. Everyone wanted diamonds.”
Ninety percent of the buyers that Mumbai-based C. Dinesh & Co Pvt Ltd met with were from Asia including attendees from Greater China, Malaysia, South Korea, India and Japan. These buyers favoured medium-quality diamonds within the VS and SI grades, in F to J colours, and in sizes ranging from small-sized to 3 carats, said company director Amit Doshi.
Although diamond prices have risen rapidly in the last few months, trade members were still making purchases at the Fair, Doshi observed.
Pranav Shah of 5C Hong Kong Ltd also reported brisk business at the Fair. Most of his goods, including star and melee diamonds, and carat-sized stones, drew buyer interest. His fast-moving items were diamonds within the VVS and SI grades, and in G to H colours. SI-clarity diamonds, depending on the stone’s size, sold for approximately $700 per carat.
Jitesh Vora of KB Diamonds (HK) also saw steady foot traffic at the Fair. Buyers from Antwerp, the US, India and China had expressed interest in diamonds of all quality and sizes, from star and melee stones to carat-sized diamonds. Chinese buyers, however, preferred more commercial goods, Vora added.
Wilson Yuen, managing director of Hong Kong-based Able Lapidary & Jewelry Ltd, said on-site deal activity rose substantially this year, particularly during the first three days of the Fair.
“Rubellite, costing $80 to $300 per carat, was moving very well, and so was tourmaline, particularly the pink goods,” Yuen said. “Even our lower-priced items were selling briskly.”
The gemstone supplier attributed the increase in trading transactions to China’s growing market for coloured gemstone jewellery and a stronger US economy.
BCS Zimmermann Stones GmbH of Germany also reported robust sales at the Fair in spite of rising topaz prices.
“Prices went up by more than 40 percent,” said Helmut Zimmermann, managing director of BCS Zimmermann Stones. “Daily, you will see prices climbing because of rising demand. We have enough goods in stock to fulfil our customers’ orders. It is also good that we have a large inventory since it takes three to four years to process London Blue topaz.”
Demand for topaz was so high that BCS Zimmermann Stones had already sold its entire production capacity for one month at the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair which concluded on March 1.
“During the economic downturn, gemstone prices were undervalued since raw material suppliers wanted to help gemstone cutters and polishers to keep their factories busy and running. They wanted to keep their people employed, and we fully understood this,” Zimmermann said. “Nowadays, however, consumption demand has rebounded strongly. Supply has become so tight that people are even willing to pay three times as much to get their hands on some gemstones.”
To accommodate all of his customers’ requests, Zimmer-mann has allocated gemstone quotas for his clients. “I have to do that; otherwise, people will grab as much gemstones as they could since prices are still rising. I do not want to give one customer too much supply.”
Manufacturers of high-end jewellery also reported robust trading activity at the Fair. Christopher Slowinski, president of US-based Christopher Designs Inc, said he met with several companies from Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea during the five-day show. Christopher Designs’ core goods are its four patented stones.
“They like our products,” said Slowinski, adding that his company is negotiating potential orders worth up to $8 million.
“I think the market is growing in China. Everybody wants to get a diamond since it is the best gift in many different occasions,” he said. “Another thing is people want to get something different, special and unique, and that is what we have here.”
Ralph Estevez, export sales manager of Spain-based Ragui, said ultra-lightweight gold jewellery pieces were among his company’s most popular items at the Fair. “We met with buyers from all over the world including South Africa, the US, Canada, Europe and Asia,” Estevez said.
Marco Valli of Italian jewellery manufacturer Prestige srl said his company’s silver jewellery collection, Ester Pepe, drew a lot of buyer interest at the Fair due to soaring gold prices.
Yoshichika Iwaki, managing director of Sanwa Pearl Co Ltd, said Tahitian and large-sized golden South Sea pearls were among his company’s fast-moving items at the Fair. Seventy-percent of Sanwa Pearl’s goods were sold at the show, said Iwaki, noting that most of the buyers were from China, India, Singapore and the US.
Eastern Pearl Co Ltd, which specialises in Chinese freshwater baroque pearls, said pearl prices were up by 10 to 20 percent over last year. This price increase, coupled with a 30 percent drop in booth traffic, resulted in modest gains for Eastern Pearl at the trade show, company owner Tony Ngai said.