Statistics of the 28th Hong Kong International Jewelry Show, held between March 4-8, 2011, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, reveal a significant increase in the number of exhibitors and countries taking part in this annual prestigious show, the largest in Asia and the third largest jewelry show in the World. While in the 27th version of the event held in 2010, the number of exhibitors and countries taking part were 2,673 and 44 respectively, the corresponding figures for the year 2011 were 2,800 and 46. The number of buyers attending the show also increased from 32,000 in 2010 to 37,000 in 2011, representing an increase of 16% over that of last year. The number of overseas buyers attending the show also increased by 23%. A country wise breakdown in the percentage increase of foreign buyers, showed a 22% increase for the United States, 30% increase for France, and 6% for Switzerland, three major international jewelry markets in the World. Likewise the growing strength of the emerging markets in the world was clearly demonstrated by a 33% increase in Chinese buyers, 41% increase in Indian buyers, 27% increase in Russian buyers and a 29% increase in buyers from Brazil. There was also a 16% increase in buyers from the more mature market of Japan. These figures clearly reveal a further recovery of the global jewelry market after the recent worldwide recession, and the contribution made by emerging markets, such as China, India, Russia and Brazil towards this recovery. Any shortfall in the demand for jewelry in the West, was more than adequately compensated by an unprecedented demand in the emerging markets, particularly mainland China. The growing appetite for jewelry in the Chinese mainland was clearly demonstrated by the total jewelry sales recorded in the year 2010, which was reported to be 30 billion USD. Mainland China is expected to become the world’s biggest market for jewelry and other luxury goods over the next decade.
Among those who officiated at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong International Jewelry Show on March 4, 2011 were Andrew Wong, Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development; Lawrence Ma, Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Jewelry Advisory Committee, as well as Chairman of the organizing committee of the Hong Kong International Jewelry Show; and Fred Lam, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Lawrence Ma said, “the global jewelry market is back on its feet and times ahead are quite promising. The market is on the upswing, driven in good part, by the Chinese mainland and its growing appetite for jewelry. Last year jewelry sales on the mainland totaled some US$ 30 billion.” He further added, “there’s no better place to tap this vast consumer market than Hong Kong.”
A novel feature of this year’s show was that Italy, a major player in the global jewelry market was named as the Fair’s first “Partner Country” that necessarily resulted in a strong participation by a range of Italian jewelry companies, with over 120 exhibitors taking part, making the Italian Pavilion, the largest European pavilion at the fair. A program of seminars held in parallel with the show also included a special seminar on the “Jewels of Italy” on March 5, featuring Italian designs and technology, and market trends and intelligence. There were 16 other group pavilions at the show, representing the countries of Brazil, mainland China, Columbia, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the United States. Ethiopia took part in the show for the first time. Separate pavilions were also allocated to eight international trade organizations, such as the Antwerp World Diamond Center, the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICGA), the Platinum Guild International, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the Japan Jewelry Association, the Japan Pearl Exporters’ Association, the Israel Diamond Institute and the Israel Export & International Co-operation Institute.
Several buying missions representing major international jewelry retailers and department stores were also present on the occasion, such as Argentina’s Diamonds DC and Jose Peskin e Higos SA; Brazil’s Amsterdam Sauer, Folic and Vivara; Canada’s Ann-Louise Jewellers and Sears Canada Inc.; Japan’s GSTV; Paraguay’s Luxor SA; Saudi Arabia’s Farsi Jewellery; The United Arab Emirates’ Joy Alukkas and Malabar Jewellery LLC; Uruguay’s Brela Joyas and Laffitte Joyas and the United States’ Jewelry International Manufacturers Association and National Chinese American Jewelers Association.
There were eight special zone highlights at this year’s show that included the following:-
1) Hall of Fame – Showcasing esteemed international brands.
2) Hall of Extraordinary – Dedicated area for premium, luxurious and distinctive jewelry.
3) Designer Galleria – Housing fashionable designer collections.
4) Hall of Antique & Vintage Jewelry – Showcasing a magnificent selection of vintage pieces from different periods.
5) Hall of Jade Jewelry – A selection of high-quality jade pieces in a variety of colors.
6) Hall of Nature – Dedicated for loose pearls, diamonds and colored stones.
7) Exclusive Showroom – Buyers could source from a wide array of fine jewelry, South Sea pearls and diamonds, whilst enjoying private business discussions.
8) Hall of Time – Dedicated area for renowned branded watches and clocks.
Several special events were also held in parallel with the show, such as seminars, jewelry parades and networking receptions. The Seminars dealt with various aspects of design, technology, market trends and intelligence, and included topics such as “On-line diamond trading,” “High-end jewelry in Russia,” and the “Market for fancy-colored sapphires.”
Several international and regional jewelry design competitions and jewelry auctions have also been incorporated into the show, adding to the international flavor of the show and making it a truly full-fledged international jewelry extravaganza. The annual Hong Kong Jewelry Design Competition, promoting creativity, innovation and craftsmanship was held successfully for the 12th successive year and was worked out during the month prior to the show. The winning entries of this competition were placed on display at the Hall 1E Concourse of the show. Another competition held prior to the show, was the 8th International South Sea Pearl Jewelry Design Competition, and the winning entries from this competition were also displayed at the Hall 1D Concourse. The international jewelry design competition that was held in parallel with the show, was the biennial International Jewelry Design Excellence Award (IJDE Award) competition, in which more than 100 winners of jewelry design contests around the globe, were competing. The winner of this prestigious excellence award competition, literally “the Champion of all Champions” was announced at a networking reception in the evening of March 4, 2011. Several other prizes were also due to be awarded at this competition, such as the Aesthetic Award, Craftsmanship Award, Innovative and Uniqueness in Design Award, Distinction Awards and Merit Awards. All pieces designed for the competition were placed on display throughout the show at the Hall 1C entrance.
Apart from the jewelry design competitions three world-class jewelry auctions were also held during the period of the fair. These auctions are the Alrosa Diamond Auction, the Paspaley Pearl Auction and the Robert Wan Tahiti Pearl Auction.
The 28th version of the Hong Kong International Jewelry Show was indeed a tremendous success, judging by the record exhibitor turnout, the number of countries taking part, the number of buyers attending the show and the significant increase in the number of overseas buyers. The continued hosting of this prestigious annual event for nearly three decades, had served to propel Hong Kong to the status of a major international player in the gem and jewelry trade. Today, Hong Kong is the world’s 4th-largest exporter of fine jewelry, after Italy, the United States and Switzerland. In the year 2010 total value of exports of fine jewelry from Hong Kong amounted to HK$ 34.6 billion, equivalent to US$ 4.5 billion.