City set to sparkle
Occupying two of the city's world-class exhibition venues, the September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair 2011 will be the largest ever, thanks to the organiser's efforts in strategic product categorisation.
More than 3,400 exhibitors from 46 countries and regions will showcase their latest products in a combined exhibiting space exceeding 130,000 square metres at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in Wan Chai, and the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) in Chek Lap Kok, according to the organiser UBM Asia.
Exhibitors at HKCEC will focus on a comprehensive range of finished jewellery, from top-of-the-line designs to trendy mass-market items. Suppliers exhibiting at the AWE will showcase precious materials, including loose diamonds, gemstones and pearls, and a variety of jewellery-making equipment and supplies, and other related products and services. In addition, the two venues will feature themed exhibition zones.
All features in the product categorisation have been developed to help with efficient sourcing by buyers.
The fair at AWE will run from today until Friday, while the one at HKCEE will take place from Wednesday to Sunday. More than 45,000 buyers from 135 countries and regions are expected to visit the fair.
Celine Lau, director of jewellery fairs at UBM Asia, says the event has grown to accommodate more material suppliers. At AWE, the fair will expand to occupy nine halls from eight last year.
'This year, pearl companies will exhibit in their own hall. Pearl suppliers shared a hall with gemstone companies last year. We will also feature the largest Diamond Pavilion ever, which will group over 430 diamond companies from major centres under one roof.'
The expansion has been driven by the strategic product categorisation. 'The emphasis among material suppliers on on-site trading of loose gemstones, pearls and other related products drives up the demand for more adequate exhibition space to display their merchandise properly,' Lau says.
The show schedules of the two venues have been designed to boost on-site trading among exhibitors because jewellery companies exhibiting at HKCEC make purchases of precious materials at AWE, she adds.
The themed exhibition zones at HKCEC cater for the needs of visitors, including upscale retailers, chain stores and top-end jewellery collectors from around the world. The Hong Kong Premier Pavilion showcases the best offered by Hong Kong jewellery manufacturers, Lau says.
'We aim to push Hong Kong companies to the forefront of the international upscale jewellery arena. This pavilion always attracts many retail chains and exclusive retailers, particularly those in Southeast Asia that seek to differentiate themselves from competition with diverse and creative designs of top-notch craftsmanship.'
Launched in 2009, the International Premier Pavilion features more than 50 prominent jewellers from around the world. 'Their innovative creations help expose exclusive branded retailers to the unique features of designs popular in major sophisticated jewellery markets,' Lau says.
The one-of-a-kind, top-end jewellery showcased at the Fine Design Pavilion is a magnet to many upscale collectors.
'We have stepped up strategic promotion, emphasising the investment value of exclusive jewellery with top-quality gemstones targeting sophisticated collectors in Southeast Asia and China,' she adds.
The schedule of the September fair is in alignment with the evolving sourcing pattern of international jewellery buyers.
'The production lead times have been shortened considerably, thanks to advanced jewellery-making technologies. Because of the soaring prices of precious metals and gemstones, many buyers have become more cautious and postpone sourcing to reduce risk. They prefer more frequent sourcing, but buy in smaller quantities so that they do not need to hold too much stock.
'The September fair is ideal for buyers to replenish stock and get ready for the major shopping period before the festive season,' Lau says.
Designed to inspire visitors to make the right selection, a series of jewellery parades will feature models resplendent with the latest creations at the Hong Kong Premier Pavilion.
Vibrant, strong colour is the dominant fashion trend for the coming festive season, according to Christie Dang, publisher and editor of Jewellery News Asia Chinese Edition. 'The rich palette features mixtures of bright-coloured gemstones, including amethyst, citrine and fancy-coloured sapphires, rubies and emeralds, multicoloured Tahitian pearls and golden South Sea Pearls.' The magazine is published by UBM Asia.
'Even precious metals have shed their monochrome look. The trend is for tri-colour combinations mixing white, yellow and rose-coloured gold components,' Dang says.
'Rising gold prices have prompted designers to innovate on designs with less gold content and in lighter weight.
'Many of these designs incorporate hollow features and have dangling fringes of gemstones that emphasise the overall volume.'