Sparkling array of options
Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair - June
The June Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair is a testament to the city's status as Asia's jewellery and gemstone trading hub.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the fair features 1,793 jewellery, pearl and gemstone manufacturers and specialists of other jewellery-related products and services from 36 countries and regions. With a 12 per cent increase in the number of exhibitors, this year's edition - from today until Sunday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) - is the largest ever, according to Celine Lau, director of jewellery fairs at UBM Asia, the fair organiser.
'Over the past five years, the numbers of exhibitors and buyers have achieved organic gains,' Lau says. This growth reflects a seismic shift in the purchasing pattern of the global jewellery sector: buyers now make more frequent sourcing trips, but purchase in smaller volumes due to more cautious cash-flow considerations. This shift has prompted jewellery manufacturers to deploy more efforts in design diversification to keep pace with the latest fashion trends, Lau says.
As the largest mid-year jewellery fair in Asia, the event will host 14 regional pavilions showcasing jewellery designs, loose diamonds, coloured gemstones and pearls from around the world. They are Antwerp (Belgium), Brazil, China, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and the International Colored Gemstone Association.
Grouping 415 diamantaires under one roof, mainly from Antwerp and Israel, the Diamond Pavilion at this fair is also its largest ever. 'They are drawn to explore business opportunities in Asia, being enticed by the region's robust economic growth,' Lau says. 'While diamonds enjoy strong demand from the jewellery trade, consumers in the region recognise the investment value of good-quality large diamonds.'
The fair's overall exhibition area has expanded by 14 per cent to 64,000 square metres. Because of its scale, the fair features themed exhibition zones by product category or price level to help visitors locate specific suppliers. They include the Hong Kong Premier Pavilion, launched in 2009 to promote the best original local jewellery designs and brands to overseas buyers. 'As this is a fair in Hong Kong, we would like to leverage it as the platform to help local jewellers heighten the awareness of their innovative designs and maximise their products' value addition.'
This year also sees more than 80 jewellers and premium-quality gemstone and pearl specialists showcasing upscale pieces at the Fine Design and Fine Gem pavilions. Ambiance and product selection in the two themed areas are tailored to meet the requirements of private jewellery and gemstone aficionados, and up-market retailers. 'Again, it reflects how attractive Asia is to these international master jewellers,' Lau says.
The fair attracts many buyers because it brings together a range of products. 'We benefit from Hong Kong's advantageous trading environment,' Lau says.
'The city upholds free-port policy and is free of any restriction over foreign currencies. It is also an established jewellery centre and has become more of a design and marketing hub.'
Funky, unconventional designs that enhance their wearers' individualistic styles are the prevailing trend, says Christie Dang, publisher and editor of Jewellery News Asia - Chinese edition. This trend features upscale designs that highlight sharp colour contrasts, interpreted with diamonds or gemstones in black and white combinations, and Tahitian pearls in greyish tones mixed with gemstones that add a special metallic chic.
'Ceramic material has made the leap from fancy watches to elegant jewellery designs accented with fine gemstones,' Dang says. Rose-coloured gold and nature-inspired design themes also dominate upcoming fashion.
Asia's Fashion Jewellery and Accessories Fair - June
Thanks to its status as the only mid-year international trade fair in Asia dedicated to costume jewellery and fashion accessories, Asia's Fashion Jewellery and Accessories Fair always attracts enthusiastic buyers.
Taking place between the March and September fairs and offering both autumn-winter and spring-summer products, the June fair is well suited for buyers looking to replenish inventory. It also offers a range of fashion jewellery and accessories of cutting-edge styling and innovative materials, Lau says.
'The make-up of buyers' attendance of the fashion jewellery fair is very international,' she says. 'More than 65 per cent of them are from outside Hong Kong.'
Buyers get added value when they visit the 15th Fashion Jewellery Fair, she says. By hosting it alongside the June Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair, the organiser enables visitors to glean the latest fashion trends in design and use of materials in fine jewellery and fashion jewellery.
They also have access to a broader range of materials, Lau adds. For instance, upscale fashion jewellery producers seek natural and organic-coloured gemstones and pearls available at the jewellery fair. Fine jewellery buyers, meanwhile, order silver designs from the fashion jewellery show, she says.
A new attraction at the fair is the Stainless Steel Jewellery Pavilion, which brings together a dozen specialist producers from Hong Kong and the mainland.
On view are stylish and diverse designs in the unconventional jewellery material. 'Steel jewellery has come a long way from the masculine watch-bracelet-like designs for men,' Lau says. 'It has diversified into funky pieces with leading-edge aesthetics accented with other materials and gemstones.'
More than 410 fashion jewellery and accessories companies will display new designs in an area of 16,000 square metres at the HKCEC from today until Sunday. The fair also includes seven group pavilions representing China, France, India, South Korea, the Philippines, Spain and Taiwan. More than 40 suppliers of fashion accessories, including handbags and scarves, will launch their latest offerings.