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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Hini Star Unveils Three New Diamond Cuts At September Hong Kong Fair

Indian diamond manufacturer, Hini Star, used the opening ceremony of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair to unveil three new diamond cuts that the company says further enhances a diamond’s brilliance and appeal.

The three new cuts are named Stelo, Rozo and Floro. They are the first three diamond cuts that are part of the company’s new collection named “The Optica Series,” which consists of 18 new diamond cuts. The others will be announced gradually at later dates, according to Smit Virani, Hini Star chief operating officer.

Virani says the new diamond cuts feature symmetrical optical patterns that intensify the movement of light in the diamond. “We leveraged advanced digital design and manufacturing technologies to develop a patented process that creates unprecedented brilliance and significantly enhances overall light performance,” he said.

In addition, he said the diamond cuts are designed “to meet modern consumers' demands and how they experience a diamond.” Each one is strongly aligned with symbols – star (Stelo), rose (Rozo) and flower (Floro). He said each cut “reflects the personality, passion and philosophy of a new generation of diamond owners.”

Officials representing Hini Star and Informa Markets, which organizes the September Hong Kong jewelry fair, at the unveiling of The Optima Series of diamond cuts

The diamonds are available in 0.23 carat and up, D to H colors and VS2+ clarity grades.

“We will continue to grow The Optica Series with research-driven designs to reflect self-purchase and social media trends that attract younger buyers,” he said. “Consumers want an experience that goes beyond standard certifications. Each stone in The Optica Series tells a unique story that captures the values of socially conscious and highly individual consumers.”

Millennial and Gen Z consumers now account for two-thirds of diamond jewelry demand in the world and are more educated consumers when it comes to diamonds, he said. “They want something unique, natural and authentic that reflects their values. Consumers want to own and experience the most beautiful diamond they can.”

The industry is also rethinking traditional business models and marketing and sales strategies to better align with its target customers, he said.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

JNA Awards Honors Accomplished Jewelry Industry Professionals

The eighth annual JNA Awards was held Tuesday in the main ballroom of the Intercontinental Hong Kong. The annual event has quickly grown to become one of the most highly-acclaimed award programs in the international jewelry and gemstone industry.

Organized by Informa Markets, the awards celebrates and recognizes entrepreneurs and companies that set high standards for excellence, innovation, and outstanding business performance. A total of 45 companies and individuals were among the finalists and were feted by industry leaders in a sold out ballroom for their accomplishments in the past year. Among them, 16 were honored as recipients across 11 award categories by a highly-respected and experienced panel of judges.

Three outstanding leaders from the retail sector, Cao Thi Ngoc Dung, Hung Ming Li and Wang Chun Li were the recipients of this year’s highest accolade, the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 16 Award Recipients across 11 categories are:

Brand of the Year – Retail
Shenzhen Sunfeel Jewelry Co Ltd – China

eSupplier of the Year
Kapu Gems – India

Industry Innovation of the Year
Industry Innovation of the Year – Diamond Identification
Diamond Services Ltd – Hong Kong

Industry Innovation of the Year – Jewellery Manufacturing Technology
Kaiente Jewellery Co Ltd – China

Industry Innovation of the Year – Production Technology
Sahajanand Technologies Pvt Ltd – India
Shenzhen Future Wisdom Jewelry Co Ltd – China

Manufacturer of the Year – Cutting & Polishing – Creativity & Innovation
China Stone Co Ltd – Thailand

Manufacturer of the Year – Jewellery
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd – Hong Kong
Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – China
DECENT Gold Group Co Ltd – China

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – Countries/Regions outside of China and India
FRANK & co – Indonesia

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

Retailer of the Year
Luk Fook Holdings (International) Limited – Hong Kong

Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company – Vietnam

Sustainability Initiative of the Year
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 – Singapore

“Tonight, we are celebrating a milestone in the jewellery and gemstone trade. These companies have demonstrated that with perseverance and forward-thinking, even in times of challenges, our industry can adapt, transform and continue to make positive impacts to the growth of the business. For that, they truly deserve our sincere congratulations and applause,” said Letitia Chow, Chairperson of the JNA Awards, and Director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at Informa Markets.

Headline Partners for the awards program are: Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, the Shanghai Diamond Exchange, and DANAT, together with Honoured Partners KGK Group, China Gems and Jade Exchange, and Guangdong Land Holdings Limited.

Table sponsors include the following:

Anders Diamond B.V.B.A, Belgium
Beijing Caishikou Department Store Co Ltd, China
Chii Lih Coral Co Ltd, Taiwan
Continental Jewellery (Mfg) Ltd, Hong Kong
De Beers Group Institute of Diamonds, United Kingdom
DECENT Gold Group Co Ltd, China
Diamond Producers Association Belgium ESV, Belgium
Diamond Services Ltd, Hong Kong
GIA Hong Kong Laboratory Ltd, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Manufacturers Association, Hong Kong
Ithra Dubai, Dubai
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company, Vietnam
Shanghai Kimberlite Diamond Group Co Ltd, China
Shenzhen Sunfeel Jewelry Co Ltd, China
SK Jewellery Pte Ltd, Singapore

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Colored Gems and Diamonds Sparkle at September Hong Kong Jewelry Fair

A rare 2.5-carat pink diamond from VMK Diamonds
Everything seems to be the largest in the world at the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair and this includes the colored gem and diamond pavilions. In addition to quantity there’s also quality on display among the hundreds of vendors. In fact, there are very few places on earth where you would see gems of that are as rare and beautiful. Handfuls of these stones may even end up on the auction block commanding millions of dollars. 

An 8.37-carat brilliant-cut emerald from Panjshir Valley, a company that specializes in emeralds from Afghanistan
But in the booths these items are sold with care and discretion. The Fine Gem Pavilion, in Hall 9 of the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE), alone has more than 70 of the world’s top suppliers of colored gemstones. Several of these dealers will also be exhibiting in the Fine Design Pavilion at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, where finished jewels are being shown beginning Wednesday. These dealers will showcase their valuable gems and diamonds set in jewels and will be joined by dealers in vintage and antique jewels as well as contemporary high jewelry artists. 

A rare 20-carat natural Burmese sapphire from Caram

Meanwhile, in the Gemstone Pavilion, where colored gemstones in virtually every hue of the rainbow are showcased, occupies five Halls in AWE as well as the Hall 1 Concourse. The International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) has 40 exhibitors. All totaled, there are approximately 800 gemstone companies exhibiting and approximately 560 diamond suppliers. 
A layout of well-matched colored gemstones from Paul Wild
“The September Fair has always been known for its rich and diverse selection of colored gemstones from top dealers, cutters and mine-to-market suppliers,” Celine Lau, director of Jewellery Fairs at Informa Markets, said in a statement. “This is the sourcing event for classic stones; exotic and hard-to-find gem material; and commercial-grade to mid-range quality gemstones. This fair offers a world-class experience to buyers.”

Monday, September 16, 2019

Pearls Once Again A Major Draw at the September Hong Kong Jewelry Fair

Pearls of virtually every type, quality and price point imaginable is once again an important part of the the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. The world’s largest jewelry trade show includes a dedicated area filled with loose pearl suppliers who are presenting pearl parcels, pairs, strands and layouts at the AsiaWorld-Expo.

In addition, a number of design houses will be showcasing high and fine jewels using pearls at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, when this portion of fair opens Wednesday (but that’s another story).

The pearl pavilion at AWE is one of the largest spaces dedicated to a single product category at the fair. Loose pearl dealers from all over the world are exhibiting including suppliers and from Australia, China, France, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Singapore, the UK and the US.

“Pearls are universally loved for their classic simplicity and timeless beauty,” said Celine Lau, director of Jewellery Fairs at Informa Markets. “They personify refined elegance and are impressively versatile at the same time.”

According to the Tahitian Pearl Association Hong Kong (TPAHK) round 8mm to 10mm pearls are the hottest items under the Tahitian pearl category in the first half of the year.

“However, with the continued efforts of the association and by joining hands with leading jewelry design competition organizers in the promotion of asymmetrical shapes – drop, oval, circle and baroque pearls among others – we anticipate pearls in fancy shapes to further grow in popularity,” the association said in a statement.

Despite global economic uncertainties, the Tahitian pearl auction held in July netted encouraging results, according to TPAHK. “Top-quality pearls were in great demand but supply was inadequate. There were fewer commercial-grade pearls displayed at the auction. Thus, the average price increased by almost 48 percent when compared with the auction results in March of this year,” according to the association. “Total sales were approximately 35 percent higher than anticipated. Hong Kong and Japan continued to be the top buyers, accounting for 75 percent of sales.”

TPAHK members are presenting commercial- and high-quality pearls sourced from the recent auction at the September Fair. “The timing is ideal for the coming peak selling season,” the association noted.

The portion of the fair that includes loose pearls and other jewelry making materials at the AWE will run till September 20; while the finished portion of the jewelry fair opens at the HKCEC Wednesday and runs till September 22.

It was Business As Usual At The September Hong Kong Jewelry Fair

The September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair began as it has done for 36 previous years. There was the traditional lion dances for good luck, buyers were queuing to enter and overall there was nervousness and anticipation among exhibitors and the organizers of the trade fair. In fact there was more nervousness as usual due to the highly publicized violent clashes between protesters and police (including the night before). However, the political crisis in Hong Kong had little relevance during the opening day of the fair. 

The number of buyers will no doubt be down from previous years as David Bondi, senior VP of Informa Markets, which organizes the fair, already said publicly. But overall the aisles were bustling with buyers doing business with vendors. 
Buyers in queue waiting for the fair to open

Canceling and postponing the show was never an option, according to Bondi. For Informa Markets, the world’s largest jewelry fair was too big and too important to the worldwide jewelry industry to postpone. It’s so big it’s held at the two largest convention venues in Hong Kong with staggered dates: The AsiaWorld-Expo, September 16 - 20 for raw materials and machinery; and the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre for finished jewelry, September 18 - 22. Rescheduling such a large fair for two venues would have been a logistical nightmare.
In 2018, the fair attracted more than 54,000 buyers and 3,700 exhibitors. Few vendors have opted out. One of the reasons was that under the contract signed with vendors Informa Markets was under no obligation to provide refunds and they were sticking to this policy. Instead, the organizers invested in a number of incentives for both exhibitors and buyers. To bring more buyers to the fair, the organizers developed aggressive initiatives to make the fair more attractive. 

The crowded pearl pavilion

The first was a telemarketing campaign in which Informa Markets staff personally contacted 50,000 buyers throughout the world. 

The second initiative was providing 10,000 complimentary hotel room nights for buyers. Each exhibitor was asked to submit the names of three significant buyers who should be entitled to two free consecutive hotel room nights during the September Fair show dates. It proved highly popular, according to the organizers. 

There were a number of softer incentives as well. For example, there was a mid-afternoon tea break and happy hour drinks as the fair ended the first day. In addition, show organizers delivered champagne and chocolate to every booth inside the fair.

Azzurra Cesari, holds up a collection of colored gems from her company, Futurgem

Perhaps even more of a factor in lower traffic among buyers is the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, which now includes jewelry industry products. Several exhibitors anticipate that buyers from Mainland China will be down because of this.

Vendors interviewed ranged from expressing hesitation in exhibiting to never considering canceling. 

“My only thought was how to cut my costs,” said Mishael Vardi of VMK, which deals in rare fancy colored diamonds. This is primarily due to a range of issues within the diamond industry and not so much the protests in Hong Kong, noting that outside the rarest gems “It’s a buyers’ market.” Pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia, which will close in 2020, and rare colored diamonds, such as blue and green remain popular. 

Happy hour drinks and snacks following the show

Olivier Duran, sales manager of Avlas Diamonds, which specializes in high-quality colorless diamonds in fancy shapes, said his company was undecided. “There was some hesitation,” he said. “Thirty to 40% of our clients told us they were not coming to the show. We waited until the last moment.”  

For some colored gem dealers they already do a great deal of their business in China and the rest of Asia and since they are already in the region, it made sense to exhibit as usual. 

“I’m already trading in Asia,” said Charles Abouchar of Abouchar SA, a high-precision cutter of gemstones, “As long as security is okay I don’t have a problem. The buyers from the bigger companies are here.

Alexander Stufflebeam, president of Panjshir Valley, a company that deals in emeralds from Afghanistan, said he had no hesitation in coming to the fair because he does business in China and because it attracts buyers from all parts of the world. 

The day ended as it has done in recent years with the annual reception of the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) as buyers and exhibitors crowded the ballroom at the SkyCity Marriott Hotel.

The big test will be Wednesday, when the show opens at the Hong Kong Convention Centre for finished jewels. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

JNA Awards Focuses On Women and Newcomers, Among Events At Hong Kong Jewelry Fair

From left: Cao Thi Ngoc Dung of Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Co; Wang Chun Li of Beijing Caishikou Department Store; and Hung Ming Li of Chii Lih Coral

The JNA Awards, which has grown to become one of the top awards programs in the jewelry industry, is putting a special focus on women and young entrepreneurs this year. The three lifetime achievement award honorees are all women and the finalists for other awards is dominated for the first time by new applicants. 

“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 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 JNA Lifetime Achievement Award is going to three women who “have each transformed the retail sector and influenced the industry in their own respective way,” according to JNA judging panel. They are: Cao Thi Ngoc Dung, founder and chairperson of Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ); Hung Ming Li, founder and chairman of Taiwan-based Chii Lih Coral (Chii Lih); and Wang Chun Li, managing director and general manager of Beijing Caishikou Department Store.

In addition to the special tribute to the lifetime achievement award recipients, the winners will be announced at the JNA Awards gala on September 17 at the Intercontinental Hong Kong. It is the highlight event at the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, the largest jewelry trade fair in the world. It will be held September 16 – 20 at the AsiaWorld-Expo for jewelry making materials and equipment and September 18 – 22 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre for finished jewelry. 

2018 JNA Awards gala

The JNA Awards is one of a number of special events, seminars, auctions and exhibitions that will be held throughout the seven-day show. They include the following:

* Alrosa Diamond Preview organized by Alrosa, the Russian mining company, September 16 – 20;

* GIA 88th and GIA Hong Kong’s 25th Anniversary Reception organized by the Gemological Institute of America, September 16;

* GIA GemFest 2019 organized by GIA, September 17;

* September Hong Kong Jewllery & Gem Fair Opening Fair Reception organized by Informa Markets, September 18;

* The unveiling of two fine jewelry collections by British luxury carmaker Bentley, which is celebrating “100 extraordinary years” in 2019, through an exclusive partnership with Heinz Mayer, a family-owned manufacturer dating back to 1599, in the Grand Foyer of the HKCEC. The limited-edition collections – “Wings” and “Everlasting” – were inspired by the car’s logo, the “Bentley Wings.” The handcrafted pieces are made of gold and platinum with diamonds, September 18 – 22;

* Jewellery Design Competition for Hong Kong Secondary School Students Award –Winning Piece Exhibition organized by the Gem & Jewellery Alumni Association, September 18 – 22;

* JNA Conference, “From Inspiration to Innovation – the Designer’s Journey to Creativity organized by Informa Markets, September 19;

* Gubelin Gem Lab Seminar organized by Gubelin Gem Lab, September 20;

* Shanghai Kimberlite Diamond Jewellery Parade & Gala Dinner organized by Shanghai Kimberlite Diamond Jewellery Co.,  September 20;

* GAHK 40th Anniversary Seminar organized by The Gemmological Association of Hing Kong, Gem-A and Informa Markets, September 20;

* The 68th Paspaley Pearl Auction organized by the Australian Pearl Centre, September 21 – 23.

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.”