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HKTDC Jewellery Advistory Committee chairman, Lawrence Ma
HKTDC Jewellery Advistory Committee chairman, Lawrence Ma

Record exhibitors at Hong Kong Jewellery Show

The Hong Kong International Jewellery Show closes today in an upbeat mood as the world jewellery market begins to stabilise.

Promoted by the event’s organiser, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), as Asia’s largest spring fair, the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show kicked off on Friday in a confident manner.

Opening the four-day event, Lawrence Ma, chairman of the HKTDC Jewellery Advisory Committee, announced record exhibitor attendance with more than 2,870 exhibitors from 46 countries and regions – an increase of 200 compared with the 2010 fair.

The opening ceremony was upbeat, with Ma noting that the global jewellery market was on the upswing. “With the global jewellery market back on its stylish feet, these are promising times. The upswing is driven, in good part, by the Chinese mainland and its growing appetite for jewellery. Last year, jewellery sales on the mainland totalled some US$30 billion. And the mainland is expected to become the world’s biggest market for luxury goods over the next decade.”

Export figures confirm that the jewellery industry has been steadily improving since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) with Hong Kong’s total exports of fine jewellery reaching US$4.4 billion last year, an increase of 21 per cent over 2009.

However, there is still further improvement needed to reach the 2008 peak of US$5.2 billion. Ma explained that the 2008 result was achieved mainly in the first half because in the second half of the year the GFC was beginning to have an impact. “The first half of 2008 was very strong but the second half, especially the last three months, was down to almost nothing. But in 2009 it was the other way around.

“The first six months of 2009 was 40 per cent lower than the 2008 first half but from the middle of 2009 the recovery begins to kick in,” Ma said.

Speaking to Jeweller on the second day of the fair, Ma said, “I feel the buying mood is very strong. Because prices have been on the rise in the last six months – gold and diamond prices – so people are more confident to stock-up on goods.”

Many of the developed markets have begun to stabilise according to Ma, and he says one of the contributing factors has been the end of the “destocking process” which began in 2008 – where suppliers reduced stock levels as a result of reduced buyer demand.

Ma said that the Chinese consumer market is growing. “The Chinese consumer jewellery market is relatively small compared to world markets like the US. Retail diamond sales in China have increased around 25 per cent but jade, coloured stones and other jewellery increased far more than that,” he said.

In terms of trends at the fair Ma said, “It terms of diamond jewellery the trends are more towards fashionable items and targeted price points.”

He believes that micro setting, especially of diamonds, using fine technology, allows the edges of finished pieces to be smoothened out. “It really adds to the beauty of jewellery and I think this trend will continue,” Ma said.  

As in previous years, the Hong Kong Show has many Australian buyers in attendance, courtesy of the HKTDC buying mission. This year there are 10 companies listed as Australian exhibitors and one New Zealand, although most are opal traders.

Tony Young, managing director of Coober Pedy-based Tony Young Opals, said that the fair had been good. Young has exhibited the fair since 2002 and said, “We exhibit our loose opals and we’ve had a good result, pretty much the same as last year.”

Coleby Nicholson attended the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show courtesy of the fair organiser. A full, post-fair report will appear in the May issue of Jeweller.

SAMS Group Australia

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