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Despite being a smaller-sized show, the Australian Jewellery Fair was met with positivity
Despite being a smaller-sized show, the Australian Jewellery Fair was met with positivity

Brisbane jewellery fair: results are in

The Australian Jewellery Fair (AJF) has drawn to a close and although it was a smaller-sized fair, most exhibitors seemed to have set expectations accordingly with a general positive atmosphere reported on the floor.

The AJF, which marked the local industry’s first trade show of the year, took place in Brisbane from Sunday 26 February to Monday 27 February.

There was no denying the fair appeared ‘quieter’ than previous years and Gary Fitz-Roy, managing director of AJF organiser Fair Events, has since confirmed that visitor numbers decreased 8 per cent compared with the 2016 AJF that took place in Melbourne.

“On the whole, I think the decrease in visitors reflects the fact that the industry is currently going through challenging times,” he explained.

Nevertheless, the general consensus among exhibitors was that trading was in line with what they had anticipated leading into the event.

While Paterson Fine Jewellery managing director David Paterson acknowledged the smaller size, he said his business had benefited from exhibiting at the fair.

“There’s no doubt the Brisbane fair was smaller than previous fairs held during this time of year, but we were glad we exhibited because there were certainly customers who made the effort to attend with buying being front-of-mind,” Paterson explained.

The fair was held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
The fair was held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

“It’s also a good opportunity for us to hear from our customers as to what they are looking for at the moment, what is selling well for them and what is not performing as well. This helps us plan for the bigger fair in August,” he added.

When speaking with Jeweller on the final day of the show, Stones and Silver managing director Cheryle Roberts said she was pleased with results.

“It’s a small fair but we gained new customers on Sunday and the last few hours of Monday have been good, so we’re happy,” Roberts stated, adding that the supplier’s new uncut diamond offering set in black wax received significant attention.

It seemed Brisbane fair visitors were on the hunt for fresh offerings; Kagi sales manager Rachael McLeod also noted that the exhibitor’s latest range gained a favourable response.

“Our Confetti collection, which is set to launch in May, has done really well,” she said. “We have had lots of really strong feedback.”

New to the fair

Along with the more established suppliers like Peter W Beck, World Shiner and Timesupply – which distributes Coeur de Lion and Dansk Smykkekunst – there were a number of first-time exhibitors.

Portobello was one new stand that appeared to be busy throughout the show. Portobello director Astral Maheshwari explained that the supplier had introduced its personalised jewellery range Kameleon at the fair and that they had received lots of enquiries and positive feedback.

Another first-time exhibitor – and also the only watch supplier present – was Mulco Watches Australia. CEO Richard Ramos said most buyers were in search of jewellery; however, several were open to his range once they saw it on display.

The diamond and gemstone sectors were represented as well. DSM (Pacific), which specialises in diamonds, seemed to have steady traffic at its stand over the two days, as did The Gemstone Trading Company.

The Gemstone Trading Company’s Jack Sahagian said business on Sunday was particularly positive, with sapphire, morganite and aquamarine proving to be ‘hot’ gemstones.

Opal was also popular; Dennie Fickling Opals director Dennie Fickling reported that interest in his loose opal and opal jewellery was especially high on Sunday, while Paterson said the supplier’s Firegem Australian Opal range was well supported.

“Opal has never been more popular and the recent price increases in rough black and boulders has definitely seen triplet opals become an affordable option for many retailers looking to have an offering,” Paterson added.

Other notable mentions

Perhaps unlike previous years when there was a rush of visitors as soon as doors opened, buyers seemed to trickle in across Sunday and Monday.

One set of visitors that could not go unnoticed on the first day was a group of almost 30 jewellers that had travelled from Indonesia.

Senior sergeant Jason Hindmarsh discussed security related topics on Sunday
Senior sergeant Jason Hindmarsh discussed security related topics on Sunday

The group was taking part in an Australia Awards program – organised by Griffith University with support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – that aimed to boost trade between Indonesia and Australia.

Indonesian Ministry of Trade representative Pipit Roesfitawati said both countries had huge trade potential and that the AJF reflected a “global market view for [jewellery] product”. While the visit was primarily used as a networking opportunity, some visitors reportedly purchased jewellery at the show and others were considering exhibiting at future Australian fairs. 

Several education seminars were also held on the show floor. A presentation by QLD Police detective senior sergeant Jason Hindmarsh on Sunday was one notable session.

Organised in light of the spate of jewellery store armed robberies in Melbourne, Hindmarsh outlined crime trends in Australia and Queensland as well as target hardening strategies for jewellers. Advice included avoiding patterns and routines, ensuring CCTV was working and positioned correctly, as well as briefing staff on social media posts and the potential security threats they may pose.

A separate security-related session was presented by Mark Morrow, senior security consultant of Security Consulting Group.

The 2017 AJF was held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

 

Scenes from the fair

DSM (Pacific)
DSM (Pacific)
Timesupply
Timesupply
Soklich and Co
Soklich and Co
Sparkle Impex
Sparkle Impex
Harper Lane Jewellery
Harper Lane Jewellery
Group from Indonesia taking part in an Australia Awards program
Group from Indonesia taking part in an Australia Awards program
Mulco Watches Australia
Mulco Watches Australia
Portobello
Portobello




More reading
Melbourne fair attracts jewellers from far and wide

 











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