Hong Kong – The World’s Meeting Place for Gems & Jewelry
Taking more than six months to create, this 13-cm table ornament is in the form of a dandelion with full-grown parachutes, waiting for the wind to help spread the tiny seeds. Thin gold wires reflect the lightness and transparent nature of the dandelion flower. Diamonds (9.17 ctw) and yellow sapphires (27.66 ctw) create a glittering layer on the surface. The leaves are reproduced in diamonds set in yellow gold. A block of black spinel is the stand. By Maison Guan, Taiwan. (Photo: Maison Guan)
For more jewels and gems featured at the twin Hong Kong shows, see the slideshows below...
The results of the recent gem and jewelry shows in Hong Kong have proven once again the city’s importance as a global destination for gems and jewelry. Below is a glimpse into some of the products seen at these twin shows.
By Cynthia Unninayar
The twin shows organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) took place from 26 February to 2 March for the 6th annual International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show (IDGPS), and from 28 February to 4 March for the 36th annual International Jewelry Show (IJS).
More than 4,600 exhibitors welcomed a record number of 90,000+ buyers from 141 countries and regions, up 4% over the previous year for the two shows, with some 35,000 buyers attending the IDGPS and more than 55,000 visiting the IJS.
“By bringing together exhibitors from all corners of the world and showcasing the finest Jewelry and Jewelry raw materials, the two HKTDC shows serve not only as a one-stop promotion and sourcing platform for the industry, but also make Hong Kong a top jewelry trading and sourcing hub for buyers globally”, stated Benjamin Chau, HKTDC Deputy Director. “In the midst of the current economic instability, these jewelry trade shows help brace the industry for the challenges ahead.”
Chau goes on to add, “We are delighted that the buyer attendance at the two shows reached a record high, with a satisfactory growth in visitors from emerging markets such as Mainland China, India and ASEAN countries such as the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.”
Held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the IJS is a signature event of the global jewelry industry, and this year did not disappoint. With a series of themed and national pavilions, including the new Amber Jewelry pavilion, as well as the Antique & Vintage Jewelry Galleria and the always-interesting Designer Galleria, a lavish assortment of jewels could be found.
Among the most prestigious pieces were those on display in the Hall of Extraordinary. Exhibitors in this premium zone offered rare and luxury collections appealing to upscale buyers from around the globe. In terms of sales, the majority of exhibitors polled indicated that traffic and sales were up over last year, with new buyers coming from China, Taiwan and USA.
While it is difficult to discern trends at the show, given the large variety, a few design directions were nonetheless noted. Nature-inspired themes were again prevalent, with butterflies taking the lead, although there was no shortage of floral motifs in a variety of designs. This year, it seemed that jewels with a story were more prevalent, and included pieces ranging from polar bears, evoking concern for climate change, to Asian-inspired pictorial themes.
Titanium jewelry was seen at a number of booths while enameled jewels continue to be a significant segment of the global industry. Colored gemstone pieces formed the basis of most high-end jewels, while a minor “natural” trend was observed with the use of rough gems combined with gold or silver.
As is traditional, the design competitions incited a great deal of interest from attendees. The 20th Hong Kong Jewelry Design Competition showcased the skills of some of Hong Kong’s most talented young jewelers. This year’s competition spotlighted creativity and craftsmanship under the theme “Be Connected, Be United.” For more on this competition and the winners, click here.
Winners of the prestigious biennial 2019 International Jewelry Design Excellence Award (IJDE) were announced at an award presentation during the IJS. A total of 137 award-winning designers from 21 countries and regions participated in this year’s competition. For more information and the winners, click here.
Gemstones – Gorgeous Colors, Diamonds & More
The registration lines at the IDGPS were so long on the first day of the exhibition that many buyers waited up to two hours to get their badge. Was the wait worth it? Yes, was the resounding answer as buyers quickly spread out over the many halls at Asia World Expo, located near the airport, to see the products featured at some 2000 booths. From inexpensive gem beads to multi-million gemstone and diamond suites, there was something for everyone.
Colored gemstones were on display in a series of national pavilions as well as the ICA pavilion and the Treasures of Nature pavilion, which offered a wide variety of types, colors and qualities. According to a number of dealers, the hottest colors in the market now are pinks, mainly spinel, ruby (both Burmese and Mozambique) and sapphire, as well as morganite and peach-toned Padparadscha sapphire, which are said to be especially appreciated in Asian markets. Unheated stones of all sorts continue to be popular, with prices rising in response to diminishing supplies.
Blue and green gems were also appreciated by buyers, especially Paraiba tourmaline, aquamarine, emerald and green tourmaline, which were featured by many exhibitors. Less common bluish-green and teal sapphires also drew attention. Australian opal is as popular as ever, with prices approaching the peak levels seen during the 1980s and 1990s, according to several dealers.
In light of all the changes in technology, it was no surprise to see gems and diamonds being featured in novel takes on “smart” jewelry, as seen in a number of collections, which showcased lovely jewelry that can be tools for messaging or even emergency alerts. One company, Taiwan-based Wenwen, uses waterproof smart chips that can be embedded into high-density ceramics and gemstones, or set into jewelry pieces such as bracelets, necklaces and earrings.
In the diamond section, the mood was a bit subdued, although some dealers felt that this show was better than the event last September, which suffered as a result of the typhoon. Despite the heavy traffic, some dealers reported slower sales for lower-priced goods due to a surplus in this category. Others, however, indicated reasonably good results for the lower-value items, but noticed a hesitation by buyers for higher-priced goods.
On the more unusual side of the diamond story was the faceted “Buddha Diamond,” an original cut offered by Antwerp-based The Buddha Diamond Company. On the other hand, dealers in colored diamonds indicated a strong demand for pink, orange and blue stones with prices that are continuing their upward trend.
In the pearl halls, everything was on display, from inexpensive strands of freshwater pearls to very high-end South Sea pearls in a variety of colors. Japanese pearls had a large presence, both in loose pearls and in pearl jewelry and this year, Japan was the designated partner with the HKTDC for the twin shows.
Next year’s HKTDC-organized shows will take place 2-6 March 2020 for the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show and 4-8 March 2020 for the Hong Kong International Jewelry Show.