Overseas exhibitors hope to dazzle Sydney
Jeweller checked in with some of the international suppliers exhibiting
at the Sydney Jewellery Fair, finding that visitors can expect to see a
few famous faces, some new twists on bridal jewellery, and a lot of
The International Jewellery Fair in Sydney has validated its accreditation as a global event, with many international suppliers confirmed to exhibit. While some companies have established exclusive distribution deals with dedicated Australian suppliers, others have opened their own offices down under or are keeping Australia as a fly-in, fly-out market.
There is always excitement surrounding international brands and the possibility they may offer something new and unique, and this year there are several overseas suppliers that believe they have a game-changing product.
One brand building buzz leading into the fair is German jewellery range Rebeligion, which will be distributed in Australia by Troy Jewellery. Built around an edgy, rock & roll look, the collections feature a mix of silver gothic and animal inspired charms and pendants displayed on a range of necklaces and leather wrist wraps.
It continues a recent trend of jewellery designs honing in on the masculine, punk/grunge style, with Thomas Sabo, Tuskc and Cudworth all enjoying success with collections following similar themes, where the attitude of the piece of jewellery plays just as big a part of the design as the material used.
The man charged with launching the brand in Australia is former Sydneysider Michael Oliver, who is returning to Australia after spending the past 26 years working in the jewellery industry in Thailand. Much of that time was spent working with well-known European brand, Stenzhorn.
Oliver describes Rebeligion as a brand not for the faint-hearted that is focused on individuality regardless of age, sex or status. He said he had big plans for Rebligion’s display at the fair.
“I am still working on further special attractions, but I aim to make a powerful visual presentation and as much noise as neighbours can stand, and draw as much attention as possible,” Oliver told Jeweller. “It’s time jewellery exhibitions dropped the conservative nice image and gave a performance that will impress the business culture. It’s time to be heard.”
Oliver said the fair provided an opportunity for suppliers to develop real relationships with retailers and learn what they want from the brands they stock.
“Too many jewellery manufacturers and brands dwell in their own perceived glorious products,” he said. “The fair is the best chance, especially for new brands, to listen first hand to the jewellers and their customer’s voice and cooperatively succeed together.”
Oro Design Hong Kong
Oro Design Hong Kong, which produces cubic zirconia and synthetic stone jewellery set in precious metals, is hoping lower-cost bridal jewellery will surge in popularity. Founder Benedict Lee told Jeweller that the lower-cost bridal market was expanding, and Oro Design was well placed to become a leader in the field.
“More recently we have concentrated our designs and collections targeting the bridal and engagement sector,” Lee said. “We feel this is a growing market and, with the macro economic factors surrounding us all, especially within the last few years, this makes our jewellery a sensible choice. Our jewellery is shrugging off the taboos and becoming the new, accessible luxury offering to bridge a gap between costume and fine jewellery.”
Meanwhile, Canadian company Atlantic Engraving is diversifying its bridal range for couples that can’t or aren’t interested in tying the knot. Atlantic’s Gravure Commitment brand, which has proven popular in Canada and the US, will debut at the fair with a display of diamond-set commitment bands. The Gravure brand also carries the ‘man's band’, which is a male answer to the woman's ‘right hand ring’.
Don’t be surprised if you see some familiar faces plastered around the Sydney Exhibition Centre as many brands have enlisted celebrities as brand ambassadors and models. Football fans might enjoy the sight of Real Madrid star Christiano Ronaldo splashed across Time Force’s stand. The Spanish brand has had decades of success in Europe and has now signed up the Slatter Group as its distributor for Australia and New Zealand
Joan Stokes, general manager, Slatter Group, will use the fair as Time Force’s launch down under and said she was attracted to the brand for its style and affordability.
“I liked the designs, I received some of the samples, and I thought they were great,” Stokes said. “Most of the range is very sporty and trendy, but there’s still a bit of a classic style to it. The price point is also very attractive, so I think we definitely have a market here.”
Stokes said there would be several collections available for order, including a limited edition Christiano Ronaldo collection.
Kat Gee, founder of Kiwi supplier Kagi, is using a different strategy, eschewing celebrity endorsements in favour of becoming a renowned public personality herself. The 30-year-old jewellery designer was recently named as a finalist in New Zealand’s Entrepreneur of The Year Awards and has secured more than 160 stockists in Australasia. However Gee is most recognisable as the face of her brand, regularly modeling her own jewellery in elaborate, stylised portraits.
Gee said it was “an obvious choice” to use herself as the Kagi’s principal model. “I am the founder and designer at Kagi, so it made sense to physically put my own neck on the line too,” she said.
She added, “I feel that one of the key differences with Kagi is our personalised service and approach - therefore using some generic nameless model just didn't feel like the right fit for us.” Kagi will be launching its new ‘Birds of Paradise’ collection at the fair.
Another notable international exhibitor is Gemesis; which will present a selection of lab-created colourless and fancy yellow loose diamonds, rings, elaborate earrings and many pendant styles.
New jewellery ranges at Sydney Fair
Posted August 14, 2012