Glittering line-up on display

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 June, 2011, 12:00am



This year, the June Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair will be the largest, with more than 1,500 companies from 37 countries and regions exhibiting the latest designs, loose gemstones, pearls and other related products.

Occupying a total exhibition area in excess of 56,000 square metres, the fair will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from today until Sunday.

The 20 per cent surge in exhibitors from last year reflects the growing importance of the fair, says Celine Lau, director of jewellery fairs at UBM Asia.

'The June fair has developed in line with a new global jewellery buying trend. Prices have gone up considerably because of the soaring costs of precious materials, particularly gold and gemstones. To mitigate the risk of holding too much stock, many buyers prefer to make more frequent sourcing trips, but purchase in smaller quantities,' Lau says.

Strategically scheduled between major Hong Kong international jewellery fairs in March and September, the mid-year fair fills the gap perfectly, she adds.

UBM Asia is the organiser of this month's fair and September's Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair, the largest jewellery trade exhibition in the world.

Given stagnant economic growth in developed economies over the past few years, a growing number of companies exhibit at the fair to tap into the increasingly affluent Asian markets.

'The number of exhibitors has doubled compared with 2006. The fair has developed into an international exhibition showcasing a comprehensive range of jewellery and gemstones from top-end designs to mass-market items,' Lau says.

New attractions will be unveiled to create a more rewarding experience for buyers and exhibitors. In response to requests by some high-end jewellery and gemstone exhibitors, this month's fair will introduce the Fine Design Pavilion and Fine Gem Pavilion. Drawing a huge number of upscale jewellery collectors at the September fair, the themed exhibition zones showcase top-of-the-line jewellery designs and loose gemstones from some of the world's most exclusive jewellers.

'Many of the companies in these pavilions only exhibit at the September fair in Hong Kong once a year. Because they want to further explore the immense potential in the Asian and China markets, they have requested to exhibit in the June fair as well,' Lau says.

The Hong Kong Premier Pavilion was designed as a platform to promote local jewellery manufacturers who focus on design-oriented pieces of high-quality craftsmanship, but are available at competitive prices compared with top-end international brands. 'We aim to heighten the awareness among the trade and consumers of the design capability and high product quality achieved by local jewellers,' Lau notes. 'We also strive to assist Hong Kong jewellers in diversifying their sales in the vast mainland market. Products from Hong Kong carry quality assurance in the mainland market; the same applies to jewellery.'

The Jadeite Gallery is another of the fair's exhibition zones designed to cater for the specific needs of Asian buyers.

'Jadeite is the favourite of many Asian consumers. Many visit the June fair to purchase upscale jadeite jewellery. We will also organise a seminar on jadeite buying tips for enthusiasts,' Lau says.

Other themed pavilions include fine jewellery, antique and vintage jewellery, silver and stainless steel jewellery, and diamonds, pearls and gemstones.

'We strive to create a more visitor-friendly fair so that buyers can make their purchases more efficiently,' Lau says.

The 4th Gerdau Pearl Auction and the 52nd Robert Wan Tahiti Perle Auction will also take place during the fair. Participation is by invitation only.

The latest jewellery fashion trend is all about vibrant colour. The creative mix of shades is achieved through the juxtaposition of gemstones in multiple colours, shapes, cuts, and sizes, according to Christie Dang, publisher and editor of Jewellery News Asia Chinese edition.

'For example, diamonds and jadeite are set side by side with sapphires and other stones in blue, orange and red. To highlight the colour theme, jewellers also use precious metals available in different colours, such as gold in white, yellow and rose-tinted.' The magazine is a subsidiary of UBM Asia.

Pearls are not limited to pure white either. 'There are many pearl designs featuring golden South Sea pearls surrounded by multiple coloured gemstones. More consumers buy jewellery with Tahitian pearls, which are available in a broad range of shades,' Dang adds.

Jewellery for men is a fast-growing segment on the mainland. They favour diamond or jadeite rings, pendants and lapel pins, and jewellery with Tahitian pearls in trendy and unisex designs. 'Mainland men have more exposure to international fashion trends. They like to dress up and make a statement of their taste at social occasions,' Dang says.