Strong jewellery design, originality and good manufacturing capabilities are the key factors that distinguish local exhibitor King's Mark from its rivals. King's Mark chairman Li King-hi said his company, which was established in 1979, manufactures and supplies unique jewellery to foreign retailers and store chains in the United States, Europe and Japan. 'Every year we get about 20 per cent new customers while the remaining 80 per cent are mostly repeat customers at the fair,' he said, adding that he expected this year's sales to be slightly lower than last year's due to the global economic slowdown. King's Mark produces a wide range of jewellery using diamonds from Africa, sapphires and rubies from Thailand, emeralds from Brazil and Colombia and precious and semi-precious stones from many other parts of the world. The company, which has manufacturing facilities in Hong Kong and the mainland with a total floor area of about 2,000 sq m for its jewellery production, introduces an average 2,400 new designs annually. About 10 of those designs enjoy particularly good sales. These items tend to be limited editions (such as brooches), or unique sets of jewellery. Mr Li, who started in this trade as an apprentice in Hong Kong in 1967 under master craftsman Lee Tat, said he used to work seven days a week, 12 hours a day to learn how to make jewellery manually. He has also learned the manufacturing processes, including hi-tech casting, and later developed his own style of jewellery production by using various materials, such as wood, plastics, acrylic, and precious and semi-precious stones. With more than 30 years of experience in the jewellery trade, Mr Li now heads a company that produces unique jewellery with innovative designs and production methods. Prices range from US$5 a piece to several million dollars. Mr Li noted a trend for professionals in their 40s and 50s to become interested in well-designed jewellery. King's Mark believes that this section of the market is not adequately served, and his firm is starting to develop jewellery specifically for this group. The average price of jewellery for this market is between US$35 and US$200 per piece. At this year's fair, King's Mark plans to showcase the range of products it has developed for the professional market. This jewellery, Mr Li said, uses unusual colour combinations and designs to appeal to this emerging market. 'There is no limit to what we can do in design terms because of our ability to use all kinds of materials and techniques to come up with something new,' he said.