Dubbed “the Pearl of the Orient”, Hong Kong has long been a global centre for jewellery and gem trade, where the glitter of diamonds and the sparkle of gold have not only withstood the test of time, but also that of COVID-19.
To meet the resilient demand, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) will offer its two flagship jewellery shows in a hybrid physical-online format this year.
The 37th HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show and seventh HKTDC Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show, organised by the HKTDC, will run from 25 to 29 July at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).
This year the debut in hybrid format, with both a physical exhibition and an online business matching service platform. The online platform will run until 5 August, allowing global jewellers more time to make business deals and build connections through online video conferences. The physical fairs welcome industry buyers and, for the first time, members of the public with a passion for fine jewellery.
Fine jewellery exports climb
The twin shows, the first two physical trade fairs to be staged by the HKTDC since the pandemic, have attracted more than 400 exhibitors, most of which are local companies as travel restrictions are still in effect between Hong Kong and other parts of the world. However, some overseas jewellers are sending their local representatives to participate in the fairs, with companies from Germany, Switzerland, the United States, Italy and India represented.
“The pandemic situation has remained stable in Hong Kong while quarantine and immigration control measures continue to be in place globally. I believe the physical-and-online hybrid format will become the new trend for trade fairs,” HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau said at a press conferences introducing the twin shows.
“This HKTDC-organised one-stop exhibition platform for sourcing is showcasing a huge range of quality jewellery to suit the needs of buyers from around the world, helping exhibitors to build connections and make more business deals.”
For more than a year since the pandemic first hit, the impact on the jewellery sector has been significant. However, global demand has begun to rise this year, boosting exports 29.4% in the first five months of 2021. This compares to a low base in the same period in 2020 but it is clear that the industry is showing signs of recovery.
Hong Kong’s exports of fine jewellery registered a sharp increase of 82.3% year-on-year to HK$28.65 billion (US$3.69 billion) for the period from January to May this year. Exports to the largest market, Mainland China, skyrocketed nearly 230% while Asian regions including Macao, Taiwan and Malaysia also showed a significant increase. For raw materials, the gross export value of pearls, gemstones and rough diamonds climbed 83.1% in the same period this year.
The figures clearly show the pandemic pressure on the jewellery sector is easing.
At the press conference, HKTDC Jewellery Advisory Committee Chairman Winston Chow said local companies may wish to take a more diverse marketing approach in the long run amid continuing global economic uncertainty. In addition to tapping into emerging markets, companies should explore online sales channels and sourcing platforms or participate in virtual fairs in order to capture new business opportunities. Meanwhile, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups need to seize opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as well as exploring markets in the mainland.
A number of product zones will be set up at the twin shows this year, including the World of Glamour at the Jewellery Show that has attracted several well-known jewellery companies to showcase a selection of refined and precious pieces.
Numerous modern design pieces will be available at the fair. The showpieces include a magnificent Jadeite and Diamond Pendant Necklace from On Tung Company (Booth 3E-A14). The g monogram collection from Just Gold (Booth 3E-B02) highlights the company’s intricate yet classic designs with fine lines and a delicate hollowed-out pattern. The sparkling Sapphire Waterfall Necklace from Legrand Jewellery (Booth 3E-C02) comprises an oval-shape sapphire necklace with diamonds set on 18K white gold. The waterfall design adds a sense of dynamism to this precious piece. The Amethyst, Diamond & Gem-set Puppet pendant from Young’s Creation Co Ltd (Booth 3E-D09) was inspired by famous fairytale character Pinocchio.
In addition, products zones such as Fine Jewellery, Antique & Vintage Jewellery and Silver and Finished Jewellery will highlight different kinds of accessories from high-end pieces to casualwear items, including jewellery made with rubies, Fei Cui jade, antique pieces, trendy designs and more.
The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show will showcase a fine assortment of raw materials including diamonds, gems and pearls. Theme zones include the Hall of Fine Diamonds, which will feature prime quality diamonds of different shapes, cuts, grades and rare colours. The Treasures of Nature zone will display various precious gemstones, semi-precious gems and other natural raw materials, while the Treasures of the Ocean zone will house the highest-quality pearls from Tahiti, the South Seas and other pearl-producing areas around the world.
Special exhibits include a fine-cut Paraiba Tourmaline with a water-drop shape whose reflection highlights the condition of the gem. The stone from RMC Gems Limited (Booth 3G-C02) has an extraordinary neon blue colour. CK Crystal Limited (Booth 3G-F18) will feature a meteorite ring that comprises genuine pieces of meteorite from outer space and displays a unique Widmanstätten pattern. SM Gems Limited (Booth 3G-E27) will display a Pink Morganite, also known as Pink Beryl, that highlights the beauty of nature. The exhibit is a very durable and dazzling gemstone belonging to the Beryl family.
A host of seminars will be held during the twin shows, including one hosted by a representative from leading diamond producer De Beers, who will share how the jewellery industry supply chain has evolved amid the pandemic.
Representatives from renowned Hong Kong jewellery Chow Tai Fook will share about online marketing, while speakers from the Gemmological Association of Hong Kong (GAHK) will talk about the internationalisation and testing standards for Fei Cui jade classification.
There will also be expert talks to meet the needs of the jewellery-loving public, including a representative from the internationally renowned jewellery college L’ECOLE sharing on the art and science of rubies.
Representatives from the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong and Jade Manufacturers Association will talk on how to appreciate rare-colour stones, while a representative from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) will introduce the its pearl evaluation methods
In addition, a Jewellery Smart Bidding session will be held on the first day of the Jewellery Show (25 July) with visitors invited to bid for their favourite jewellery items starting at prices about 10% of original ones. Various jewellery parades and lucky draws will also be held throughout the fairs. Lucky draw prizes include an 18K white gold pendant with a natural ruby and diamonds, an Italian 18K rose gold vermeil simple-cuff bangle, hotel dining coupons, and more.
On display at the Jewellery Show, in Hall 3E Concourse, will be winning entries from the 22nd Hong Kong Jewellery Design Competition, jointly organised by the HKTDC and four major jewellery associations in Hong Kong. The theme for this year’s competition was “Light. Shadow”, with about 150 entries between the Open Group and Student Group.
The physical part of the hybrid HKTDC International Sourcing Show, organised by the HKTDC, will be held from 26 to 29 July, running in parallel with the twin jewellery shows. The International Sourcing Show will take the form of a display showcase featuring thousands of the latest products. Themed “Your Source of Inspiration”, it will highlight a broad range of quality lifestyle products and solutions under four main categories.
Smart Home features an extensive selection of household items including indoor furnishings and home textiles.
Smart Play showcases a range of children’s products including dolls and figurines, car toys, interactive toys and educational games. Buyers can also source baby care and nursery products, gear and accessories, including strollers.
Smart Style highlights an eclectic mix of garments, fashion accessories, fashion tech and fabrics. Also featured are gifts and premiums for different budgets including handicrafts, beauty and healthcare products, travel and outdoor equipment, environmental protection and festive items, as well as printing and packaging solutions.
Smart Tech displays a wide variety of tech products, including electronics, medical, healthcare and lighting products, as well as gifts, fashion and household items employing the latest technologies.