As the global luxury market gravitates towards Asia, jewellery fairs held in Hong Kong have become increasingly important for trade buyers to get a glimpse of fashion trends.
Many pieces crafted by designers and manufacturers in Asia, particularly Hong Kong, exhibit a unique blend of oriental aesthetics and international flair enhanced by exquisite workmanship.
These designs are appealing to buyers from the Asia-Pacific, according to exhibitors at the HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show.
'Jewellery shows in Hong Kong have grown in scale in terms of the number and quality of trade buyers and the diversity of exhibitors and visitors. They compare favourably with well-established fairs held abroad,' says Ivy Li, senior wholesale manager of IAD Jewellery.
In its 29th edition, the annual HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show hosts about 3,100 exhibitors from 48 countries and regions. It represents a substantial increase from the 2,870 exhibitors last year.
Located at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the fair begins today and runs until February 20. A broad selection of fine jewellery, together with loose diamonds, coloured gemstones and pearls, is showcased. To ease buyers' sourcing and let visitors identify specific trends in various product categories, the fair is divided into several themed zones.
In the Hall of Fame, upscale international brand names unveil their latest creations.
Opulent unique designs expertly set with some of the rarest gemstones captivate visitors' attention at the Hall of Extraordinary. Leading Hong Kong-based jewellers display their finest work at the exclusive World of Glamour. Hall of Chic groups creators of stylish designs in silver and other precious metals.
Meanwhile, visitors will find some spectacular loose diamonds, gemstones and pearls at the Hall of Nature.
Trend-setting designs are showcased by visionary designers at the Designer Galleria. Elegant pieces with timeless appeal are on display at the Antique & Vintage Jewellery Galleria, while exhibitors at the Hall of Jade specialise in traditional and contemporary designs with jadeite - the undisputed favourite gem of Chinese jewellery connoisseurs.
At the Hall of Time, a selection of fine watches and clocks are on display. Each of the sections will also be represented in Mini Parades held daily in various areas of the fair.
To further encourage buyers and exhibitors getting together, the organiser has arranged exclusive showrooms to let buyers view the latest designs and discuss business in private.
Joanna Hui, director of Be'vish Jewellery, appreciates the organiser's efforts to increase the fair's impact by orchestrating a wide array of activities, such as the jewellery parades.
'They are effective in helping exclusive designers promote their creations to an international audience,' she says.
Attracting a growing number of high-end retailers and consumers from the mainland and other Asian countries on top of regular buyers from developed markets, the fair is a great platform for brand building by ENZO Jewelry, according to Vicky Chan, director of sales and marketing. 'To enhance exposure of the ENZO brand, we will display our signature collections [of designs with multicoloured gemstones],' Chan says.
The proprietor of private jewellery design house Osatina Jewellery, Anita So, believes the fair enables independent small- and medium-sized enterprises to have a presence in the global market.
'We exhibit at the Designer Galleria to establish contacts with visiting affluent end-users,' So says.
Cautious optimism about on-site sales is shared by the exhibitors.
'Sales in the United States have shown signs of recovery, albeit slowly,' Li says. 'We have enjoyed stable sales in Southeast Asia and achieved growth in some markets, such as the mainland. Buyers from the country have made a strong presence at fairs in Hong Kong.'
Li's sentiment is echoed by Hui. 'More upscale end-users from the mainland favour exclusive designs by private designers in Hong Kong,' Hui says.
'The city's designers enjoy an advantageous position because their designs often blend uniquely Asian artistic sensibilities with international design flair. Upscale mainland consumers also appreciate the rare finesse of delicate craftsmanship in Hong Kong designs.'
So expects her jadeite and South Sea pearl jewellery will appeal to an international clientele.
'Sales to local Hongkongers should be good because their purchasing power remains strong. We also expect to meet with clients from Japan, the mainland and Europe. The pearl element in our designs captures the attention of Japanese consumers, who are also increasingly fond of jadeite,' So says.
Knowledge transfer will be achieved through a series of seminars, including one on the topic Outlook for Gold in Emerging Markets.
Committed to nurturing local creative talent, HKTDC organises the annual Hong Kong Jewellery Design Competition. With Soaring Dragon as its theme, the competition features Open and Student Groups.
Designs by winners and finalists are on display at the fair, together with winning pieces from the biennial Chuk Kam Jewellery Design Competition.
Paspaley Pearl and Robert Wan Tahiti Perles auctions will be held during the fair.