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Products were launched, educational seminars were presented and business connections were established at the JAA Australian Jewellery Fair
Products were launched, educational seminars were presented and business connections were established at the JAA Australian Jewellery Fair

Coloured stones rule supreme at jewellery fair

Australia’s first jewellery fair for the year has drawn to a close, with gemstones and coloured diamonds seeming to attract a lot of attention from retailers and manufacturing jewellers.

The JAA Australian Jewellery Fair on the Gold Coast closed on Sunday 1 March with mixed results. While a number of suppliers expressed disappointment in sales and visitor turnout, others had a more positive experience.

Commenting on the event, Gary Fitz-Roy, managing director of show organiser Fair Events, said, “It was typical of all fairs: some did very well, some okay and some not as they would like.

“The reality is retailers are experiencing challenging times and therefore they are being very selective in what and how much they buy. It seems the ones who pre-promoted new releases and had something that offered an edge did well.”

There was no doubt, however, that gemstones and coloured diamond exhibitors were very busy throughout the two-day event.

Coloured diamond suppliers such as Bolton Gems appeared particularly popular amongst visitors
Coloured diamond suppliers such as Bolton Gems appeared particularly popular amongst visitors

Natassa Patel Devchand of True Blue Opals & Gems told Jeweller that she had been extremely pleased with sales.

“We’ve had a really good fair. Generally I feel like the market is up and we’ve experienced a similar positive vibe to that of the Tucson show, which we were at a few weeks ago,” she said.

“We have met with the same retailers as when we were here last year but they are now spending more money. We’ve sold a lot of loose gemstones but then also a number of one-off finished jewellery pieces.”

According to Patel Devchand, emeralds were extremely popular, followed by tanzanite, morganite, aquamarine and opal.

Lost River Diamonds manager Troy Reany was another supplier that reported positive results.

“I was getting a bit worried on Saturday but I really had no reason to be concerned as Sunday was just crazy – we could have benefited from the fair extending its closing hours,” he said.

Reany explained that small pink diamonds sold well but also pointed to an increasing trend in the popularity of light champagne and cognac coloured stones.

When asked why he believed visitors were interested in coloured diamonds, Reany expressed a similar sentiment to Fitz-Roy: “Coloured diamonds provide stores with a point of difference from competitors, encouraging more customers to walk through the door.”

Other gemstone and coloured diamond suppliers, including Bolton Gems, Nash Pearls and Paterson Fine Jewellery – which has an Australian opal jewellery range – noted that they too had fared well.

Creating excitement with new releases

Exhibitors that used the fair as a launching pad for new products reportedly also drew the attention of visitors.  

RJ Scanlan & Co launched its new Diva jewellery collection at the fair
RJ Scanlan & Co launched its new Diva jewellery collection at the fair

Michael Tran, managing director for Disney Couture, explained that the jewellery company had launched its Cinderella collection at the trade show. The timing of the range coincided with the impending release of the new Disney Cinderella movie featuring Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter. According to Tran, the new product was a hit with retailers at the fair.

RJ Scanlan & Co marketing manager Chris Scanlan said he was also pleased with the feedback regarding the new Diva jewellery collection – an extension of the Diva earring range launched a few months ago – as was Ken Abbott from Timesupply, which launched its latest Coeur De Lion range.

The Gold Coast fair also featured a number of first-time exhibitors that used the event as an opportunity to build awareness and get a “feel” for the market.

“The purpose for exhibiting was really to test the waters and explain to our existing customers the other services we offer,” Ray Mooney, Australian manager for precious metals supplier Morris and Watson, explained.

While Danish brand byBiehl has had no local representation since March 2014, new distributor Tribe Trading took the opportunity to exhibit at the fair as a way to mark the range’s official relaunch into the industry.

Tribe Trading managing director Robert Schuyff explained that the trade show provided him with a means to meet with retailers and explain his commitment to the brand as well as to showcase the new collection. He added that he had made a number of good leads throughout the two days.


Over the past few years, the jewellery fair’s organiser has also aimed to enhance visitor experience through interactive seminars and displays. This year was no different with a number of spotlight education sessions taking place as well as the Jewellers Bench exhibit – a live jewellery-manufacturing demonstration organised by the Young Jewellers Group.

Kerry Hall, owner of Inverell Jewellers, said she found the educational presentation by Magnolia Solutions’ Nancy Georges to be particularly useful.

Magnolia Solutions
Magnolia Solutions' Nancy Georges presented an educational seminar to retailers

“It gave me plenty of ideas on how I should be using social media to market my business. I’m a bit ‘technically’ challenged but Nancy was able to explain things in a really clear way,” she explained.

Hall also attended a motivation session by Steven Bradbury, the first person in both Australia and the Southern Hemisphere to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

Bradbury’s presentation on Sunday morning before the fair opened offered retailers constructive ways to achieve success from both a personal and professional perspective.

He told Jeweller that the number one piece of advice he had for a jeweller was that “success should always be about the process”.

“The true meaning of success isn’t defined by money or medals – it’s personal satisfaction. Work hard every day to achieve your best,” he added.

Important changes announced

Significant changes to the local jewellery fair schedule were also announced during this year’s event.

Fitz-Roy explained that while the program for the annual JAA International Jewellery Fair in Sydney would not be altered, a decision had been made to rotate the location for the Australian Jewellery Fair.

“After reviewing industry feedback from the last few years, it has been suggested that we alternate the Gold Coast and Melbourne fair. So it’s with this in mind that I’m pleased to confirm this trade show in 2016 will take place in Melbourne at the Royal Exhibition Centre.”

The fair will return to the Gold Coast in 2017.

Fitz-Roy added that buying groups Showcase Jewellers and Leading Edge Jewellers had agreed to schedule their conferences and buying days in line with the timing of the Gold Coast/Melbourne event.

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