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Thursday, August 22, 2019

September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair Will Be Held As Usual

The registration area at the 2018 September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. Will Hong Kong protests keep the crowds away this year

Despite the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, officials representing Informa Markets, the owner and organizer of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, say the show will be held during its usual dates and times, September 16 – 22. 

Considered one of the largest jewelry fair’s in the world, the event is held in two venues with staggered dates: September 16 - 20 at the AsiaWorld-Expo for jewelry making materials and machinery and September 18 - 22 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre for finished jewelry.

In a statement, David Bondi, Informa Markets senior VO – Asia, said the company is adopting a series of contingency measures that he says will “ensure a seamless flow of events throughout the show.”

“Our priority is to deliver the best September Fair ever, and the 2019 edition of the world’s best jewelry marketplace is shaping up to be a record-breaking one in terms of top-class exhibitors, collection launches and rich programming,” Bondi said.

Bondi claims that as of August 9, “99 percent of the September Fair’s more than 3,700 exhibitors from around the globe have confirmed their participation.” This includes the few exhibitors I spoke with. 

However, according to a recent report, three trade associations (The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Antwerp World Diamond Centre and Israel Diamond Institute) have asked Informa Markets to delay the show until the situation stabilizes.

Bondi also said that visitor pre-registration is “moving forward,” with visitor promotion campaigns in full swing. “We anticipate minimal impact on visitor turnout,” he said. “It remains to be seen how small that impact would be given today’s complex situation.” 

The protests began as peaceful demonstrations in March in opposition over plans that would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China. The protests escalated to the point where the bill was declared to be “suspended” but that didn’t stop the protesters, who said they want the proposal withdrawn. The demands of the protesters have also expanded. The response by the Hong Kong police force began turning violent in early June. Vigilante groups, seemingly loyal to the government, also attacked protesters. In response, the protesters turned to sporadic violence. Bondi noted that the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, a smaller version of the September fair, was held at the Hong Kong convention center June 20 - 23 and it “went off without a hitch.”

Despite the uncertainty, Bondi insists that the fair is too large and important not to be held.  

“The September Fair is the last international fair – and on a scale never seen before – on the jewelry trade show calendar,” he said. “We cannot allow recent incidents to cast a pall over the most eagerly awaited jewelry sourcing event of the year. Our task is to ensure that this show will be celebrated as it deserves to be celebrated, and that our exhibitors and buyers will get the most out of their September Fair experience.”

Friday, June 21, 2019

Finalists for the 2019 JNA Awards Unveiled

The press conference announcing the 2019 JNA Awards finalists

In just a few years the JNA Awards has grown to become one of the top awards programs in the jewelry industry. The shortlist of the 2019 finalists, known as honorees, across 11 categories for its eighth edition were unveiled during a press event Thursday during the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. This year the number of honorees has expanded to reflect the increased number of applicants and their diversity. 

Organised by Informa Markets, the JNA Awards recognizes and celebrates excellence and innovation in the industry. Since its inception in 2012, the awards has been dedicated to sharing its core values with the trade, inspiring the gemstone and jewelry industry to thrive and advance as a whole by sharing best business practices and encouraging high standards. This year, the JNA Awards received nearly 100 entries from more than 60 companies and individuals. 

(From left) Abhishek Parekh of KGK Group; Peter Suen of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group; Letitia Chow of Informa Markets; David Bondi of Informa Markets; Kenneth Scarratt of DANAT; Liu Zheng of Guangdong Land Holdings

“Of the 39 Honoree companies that were shortlisted, almost half of them are first-time entrants, indicating a growing interest among quality companies who recognize the importance of this platform,” said Letitia Chow, chairperson and founder of the JNA Awards, and director of Business Development -- Jewellery Group at Informa Markets. “We have also received a record number of entries from Thailand, second in ranking together with India and Hong Kong, reflecting the importance of this market which has been traditionally modest about its accomplishment."

The 2019 independent judging panel consists of industry experts: James Courage, former CEO of Platinum Guild International and former Chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council; Albert Cheng, former managing director of World Gold Council, Far East; Lin Qiang, president and managing director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange; Nirupa Bhatt, managing director of the Gemological Institute of America India and Middle East; Yasukazu Suwa, chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc.; and Mark Lee, research director of Asia Pacific Institute for Strategy.

The judges for the 2019 JNA Awards. (clockwise from top left): James Courage, Albert Cheng, Lin Qiang, Mark Lee, Yasukazu Suwa and Nirupa Bhatt

Several of the judges attended the announcement and noted that the two categories that saw the biggest growth were for young jewelry business owners and for technology achievements in the jewelry industry.

“The quality of this year's entries, along with its diversity in terms of size, type and geography, are worth noting. Despite facing challenges, the industry -- through these entries -- showed its focus and determination when it comes to investing in innovation, operating systems and consumer research," Courage said.

Cheng added, "Just like in the last seven years, Industry Innovation of the Year proved to be the most popular category. The Young Entrepreneur Honourees -- whose credentials, professionalism and innovativeness reflect on their outstanding businesses -- are equally impressive."

Qiang said, “It is surprising and inspiring to know that nearly 100 entries were received -- more than half of which are from first-time entrants. The influence and credibility of the JNA Awards is beyond question. It will be a rewarding journey for everyone involved.”

"Having worked with the JNA Awards since 2013, I noticed that the judging process grows more difficult as the entries reach new heights and push the boundaries of excellence year after year," Bhatt noted.”

Suwa noted, "Entrants to the JNA Awards vary from very big corporations to small ones. I kept in mind to judge them based on their mission and the long-term good they have been doing for people, regardless of the company's size."

Lee added, "The JNA Awards continues to strengthen its role as an excellent platform to showcase the industry's progress and success. The entries, particularly in the areas of innovation and marketing, are truly impressive."

The 2019 honorees are as follows:

Brand of the Year – Retail 
Mokingran Jewelry Group Co Ltd., China
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ), Vietnam
Shenzhen Sunfeel Jewelry Co Ltd., China

eSupplier of the Year 
BOJEM Jewelry, China
De Beers Group Institute of Diamonds, United Kingdom
Gübelin Gem LabSwitzerl, and
Kapu Gems, India
Shanghai Wisdom Jewelry Trading Co. Ltd., China

Industry Innovation of the Year 
Diamond Identification Diamond Services, Hong Kong

Jewellery Manufacturing Technology 
3D Kaiente Jewellery Co. Ltd., China
Christy Gem, Thailand
H.K. Designs, India
K.S. Jewelry International Co. Ltd., Thailand

Marketing and Marketing Services 
Picup Media, Hong Kong
Shenzhen MOVER Culture Co. Ltd., China  

Production Technology 
China Stone Ltd., Thailand
Pino Aliprandini (HK) Ltd., Hong Kong
Sahajanand Technologies Private Limited, India
Shenzhen Future Wisdom Jewelry Co. Ltd., China

Shared Services 
Kongfook Jewelry (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd., China

Manufacturer of the Year – Cutting & Polishing 
China Stone Ltd., Thailand
KGK DV LLC, Russia
Vaibhav Global Limited, India

Manufacturer of the Year – Jewellery 
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd., Hong Kong
Gold Star Jewellery Pvt. Ltd., India
ShangJinPin Jewellery (Shenzhen) Limited Corporation, China

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – China 
Continental Jewellery (MFG) Limited, Hong Kong
DECENT Gold Group Co. Ltd., China
Shanghai Kimberlite Diamond Group Ltd. Co., China

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – Countries/Regions outside of India and China 
Frank & co. Jewellery, Indonesia
YLG Bullion International Co. Ltd., Thailand

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – India 
H.K. Designs, India

Retailer of the Year  
Luk Fook Holdings (International) Limited, Hong Kong
Motisons Jewellers Ltd., India
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ), Vietnam
Poh Kong Jewellers Sdn Bhd, Malaysia

Sustainability Initiative of the Year 
Continental Jewellery (MFG) Limited, Hong Kong
Shenzhen Xingguangda Jewelry Industrial Co. Ltd., China

Young Entrepreneur of the Year (age 40 and below) 
Abhay Chordia, ASHOK JEWELS, India
Angelina Lau, SK Jewellery Group Ltd., Singapore
Nancy Wong, Luk Fook Holdings (International) Limited, Hong Kong
William Chu, Picup Media, Hong Kong
Raymond Chen, Shenzhen MOVER Culture Co.  Ltd., China

The JNA Award Winners will be announced at a gala dinner during the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Winners Announced at Inaugural 'JNA Jewellery Design Competition'

Some of the finalists for the JNA Jewellery Design Competition

The winners of a new competition dedicated to design were announced Thursday during the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.

The name of the awards program is the JNA Jewellery Design Competition for 2018/19.  The winners were named at a press event during the fair’s opening day attended by officials representing Informa Markets and JNA magazine, and corporate sponsors, Crossfor Co Ltd, Platinum Guild International (PGI) and the Tahitian Pearl Association Hong Kong (TPAHK).  The competition celebrates artistry, innovation and excellence in jewelry design and production.

Organizers and sponsors of the JNA Jewellery Design Competition during the announcement of the winners at the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair

The winners of the JNA Jewellery Design Competition 2018/19 are as follows:

* Dancing Stone Category – New Fashion Tech - “Heptagram” by Mami Ochiai of Japan

* Platinum Category – Platinum Attitude - “Star Lingers” by Liang Fan of China

* Tahitian Pearl Category – Asymmetric Perfection - “The Leonidas Man” set by Alessio Boschi of Italy

The winners will be featured at an awards presentation during at the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. Each winner will also receive a cash prize of $2,000, and have their creations showcased at the June and September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fairs.

The Leonidas Man by Alessio Boschi, one of the winners of the JNA Jewellery Design Competition

The competition’s judging panel was led by jewelry designer Fei Liu, who served as chair. He was joined by jewelry designer Robert Tateossian, visual artist Bradley Theodore, and publisher and editor-in-chief of the JNA group, Christie Dang. The three category judges were Hidetaka Dobashi, founder and CEO of Crossfor, Suzanne Wong, senior product manager of PGI, and Ida Wong, general manager of TPAHK.

The winners were selected out of 15 finalists across three categories, and evaluated against the criteria set by the organizers as well as the entries’ adherence to the respective themes. Of the 15 finalists, five were from China; three were from Taiwan; with the rest from Bulgaria, Egypt, Iran, Italy, Japan, Malaysia and the U.S.

The competition drew 2,588 entries from jewelry designers and students from 39 countries and regions.

U.S.-China Trade War is the Talk of the June Hong Kong Jewelry Fair

Hong Kong industry leaders talk about the issues at the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair
In September the Hong Kong Jewelry & Gem Fair was closed for a day for the first time in its long history by a typhoon. For the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, two other storms are brewing and both are man-made. The first is the threat by President Donald Trump to slap a 25% tariff on all goods exported from China to the U.S. The second is perhaps the largest protests in the history of Hong Kong, which may continue. 

During the opening day press conference, leaders of the trade organizations from Hong Kong spent a great deal of time talking about the first issue while not mentioning the second at all. 

Lawrence Ma, president of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, says U.S.-China trade tensions are putting pressure on the world economy. 

“Trade uncertainty is what we don’t like,” he said Thursday. “If they agree to something everything would change in a moment. But I think we have to live with this uncertainty for the next few months.” 

Sze Ho Yin, president of the Hong Pearl Association said the increased infrastructure improvements between Hong Kong and China have made it easy for Hong Kong wholesalers and retailers to do business with those from the mainland. 

“About 40% of our buyers are from Mainland China because it is very convenient for buyers from China to come to Hong Kong,” he said. “They are pretty much supporting the jewelry industry (in Hong Kong). It’s very convenient to sell directly to China. Because of this the trade war between the U.S. and China hasn’t had a dramatic effect.” 

Ken Lo, chairman of the Hong Kong Jade & Jewellery Manufacturers, says Hong Kong’s strength as a trading center will mitigate much of the detrimental impact of a trade war. 

“Hong Kong is the number one city in the world in terms of ease when it comes to setting up a business,” he said. “And it has an advantage because of its proximity to China and its ease of trade between the two markets. I think because of this Hong Kong will remain a very important trading center for the entire world.”

The leaders also talked about issues important for the jewelry and gem industry in Hong Kong. For example, Ma spoke about some of the myriad of issues the diamond industry is facing. They include the difficulty of financing for much of the diamond trade, the effect of lab-grown diamonds and the steady decline of sales among Hong Kong retailers. 

He said diamond imports in Hong Kong are down 2.8% for the first three months of the year compared to last year. Meanwhile, exports are up by 9.1% for the same period. On the retail level, there are more Chinese tourists visiting Hong Kong but they are spending less, he said. 

“The good news is that there are more Chinese coming,” he said. “The bad news is spending has come down significantly. Overall, it’s a good trend.”

Lo spent much of his presentation talking about how technology is changing the jewelry industry. The items he covered included:

* Lab-grown diamonds and how it has taken up some jewelry industry sales.

* CAD-CAM technology is speeding up the process from design to finished jewels and is a catalyst when in terms of allowing retail customers the ability to design their own jewels.

* The decline of distributors because manufacturers are using the Internet and social media to go directly to retailers and consumers.  

Yin said the Hong Kong pearl industry is working with China to develop a freshwater pearl industry to replace the Akoya pearl. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

June Hong Kong Jewelry Fair Opens to Big Crowds

Buyers crowd one of the registration areas at the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair
The June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair opened its doors Thursday and buyers have come in large numbers to view products and services from more than 1,900 exhibitors from 40 countries and regions of the world. 

Looking at the crowds of people at several registration desks it hard to believe that this is the smaller of the two trade fairs in Hong Kong owned and operated by London-based Informa Markets, a tradeshow and publications company that acquired UBM Asia in 2018.  But it is. The main difference is that this show is held in one facility while the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair is so large that it is held at two locations.

Occupying 70,000 square meters of exhibition space at the Hong Kong Convention & Exposition Centre, the fair is divided into 21 theme and 18 group pavilions for easier navigation. New this year are two thematic zones – Technology and Lab-Grown Diamonds – and the Australia Pavilion under the national and group pavilions category.

“The June fair occupies a unique position in the industry,” says Celine Lau, director of Jewellery Fairs at Informa Markets. “It literally brings the jewellery world under one roof, and it is perfectly timed for wholesalers, retailers and distributors who are building up their seasonal essentials.” 

Celine Lau, director of Jewellery Fairs at Informa Markets, added, “This show brings together the jewelry and gemstone industry in its entire breadth and depth, making it the ideal sourcing destination for wholesalers, retailers and distributors.” 

This includes jewelry technology and equipment providers, diamond and gemstone dealers, a complete assortment of fine jewelry and collectible high jewelry.

The June Fair’s signature programming will include three seminars organised by the Colombian Association of Emerald Exporters, The Gemmological Association of Hong Kong and the Japan Pearl Promotion Society, which will highlight developments in the colored gemstone and pearl sectors.

Invitation-only events are being held on the fair’s sidelines, including a Media Gathering, where the winners of the JNA Jewellery Design Competition 2018/19 were announced and the JNA Awards revealed this year’s finalists across 11 categories.

This is the 32nd year for the June fair and it has become an important part of the international annual tradeshow calendar. The four-day event will run till June 23. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Bradley Cooper to Wear Unique IWC Watch at Oscars Being Auctioned for Charity by Sotheby’s

Bradley Cooper in an IWC advertisement. Photo credit: IWC

IWC Ambassador Bradley Cooper will wear a unique IWC Big Pilot’s Watch to the Oscars ceremony on Sunday with a special engraving. The watch is being offered by Sotheby’s in an exclusive online auction with all proceeds going to benefit the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation. Bidding opened $16,000 Friday and will run till March 4

A personal letter from Cooper to the new owner will accompany the watch. IWC is donating all proceeds from the sale to the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation with all funds going to "Arrimage," a charitable organization that focuses on teaching visually impaired children how to read drawings using their sense of touch.

Big Pilot’s Watch single piece with a special engraving (Ref. IW500923), Bidding for the watch will open at $16,000. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s and IWC

The IWC watch Cooper will be wearing at The Oscars is a Big Pilot’s Watch single piece with a special engraving (Ref. IW500923). The timepiece features a midnight blue dial and is housed in a case made of 18k 5N gold. It is powered by the IWC-manufactured 51111-caliber movement. On the caseback there is an engraving of an iconic quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly."

A triple Oscar-nominee in 2019, Cooper co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in A Star is Born. The film has received eight Oscar nominations: “Best Actor in a Leading Role,” “Best Actress in a Leading Role.” “Best Picture,” “Best Adapted Screenplay,” “Best Actor in a Supporting Role,” “Best Original Song,” “Best Cinematography” and “Best Sound Mixing.” He previously earned Oscar nominations for his performances in Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and American Sniper. Bradley Cooper became a brand ambassador for IWC in 2018. 

The unique IWC Pilot's Watch with special engraving: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly." Courtesy of Sotheby’s and IWC

“The support of disabled children and adolescents is one of the cornerstones of our CSR effort,” said Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. 

“IWC Schaffhausen’s master watch-makers have produced a complex and beautifully crafted symbol of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s pioneering spirit. After witnessing dreams come true on the stage of the Oscars this Sunday, it will be a privilege for us to offer this one-of-a-kind watch in our upcoming sale and to support the important work of the foundation,” added Mikael Wallhagen, head of the Watch Division for Sotheby’s in Geneva.

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet, the Forbes website and on Instagram @JewelryNewsNetwork

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Celebrate The Year Of The Pig In Style With These Six Watches

By Tiziana Agnati
Accredited journalist and influencer specializing in luxury jewelry 

Usher in the Lunar New Year with these six watches in red. In Chinese culture, red is considered auspicious, which is why the color is so popular every Chinese New Year, adorning everything, from the lanterns that you hang in the patio to the clothes that you wear.

With the festive season being celebrated right now, look toward these six timepieces in this striking hue in order to attract more of that positive energy.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Celestial
If you fancy having the entire constellation on your wrist, this Rendez-Vous delivers an irresistible feminine expression of it. Dressed up in red with the different constellations enameled on the dial, the pink gold case also matches a bezel set with pink sapphires.

Breguet Marie-Antoinette “Dentelle”
The Dentelle watch evokes elegance with its distinctive lacework set with 89 diamonds around the 18K white gold case. A red ruby weighting about 1.3 carat and a red satin strap add fire to an otherwise icy mien that includes a white mother-of-pearl dial.

Franck Muller Watchland SA Long Island Peony
Known as the flower of riches and honour, the peony comes in a variety of soft pastel colours. Its loveliness - 8 of them in fact - now decorates the svelte rectangular profile of the Long Island with a rose gold case and a diamond-set bezel.

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
The timeless Art Deco shape of the Tank get an uplift with a pink gold case, diamond-set bars on either side of the dial, the 8971 MC movement and, of course, a chic red leather strap.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Manchester United
This special edition chronograph celebrates TAG Heuer’s third season as Manchester United’s Official Timekeeper. Naturally the club’s color stands out from the logo positioned prominently at ‘9’ and the flange of the 60-second scale, to the hour, minute and chronograph central second hands. Paired with a perforated rubber strap in, what else, red.

GRAHAM Chronofighter Oversize Superlight Carbon
The red of the rubber strap decorated with Clous de Paris pattern makes an eye-catching contrast against the shiny black of the carbon composite case, a material that makes the watch extremely light despite its large 47 mm diameter. Red also appears on the central seconds hand and chronograph counters’ hands as well as the “Superlight Carbon” print.

Tiziana Agnati is a journalist and influencer specializing in luxury jewelry with digital expertise. Learn more about her on her Linkedin profile where she communicates regularly with 100,000 followers.