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Leibish & Co

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2015 JNA Awards Honors Leadership And Innovation

The JNA Awards, one of the world’s most prestigious honors in the gemstone and jewelry sector, celebrated enterprises and individuals whose ambitions have helped elevate the industry and inspired others. 

The top recipient this year was Ou Yang Chiu Mei, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award, JNA’s highest honor. This tribute is presented to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the gemstone and jewelry industry.

Ou Yang is an internationally acclaimed gemologist and mineralogist whose research, scientific discoveries and knowledge application have contributed to the growth and development of the jadeite trade.

Her long list of accomplishments includes identifying a new mineral in the Burmese jadeite group, defining the official terminology for jade, identifying the presence of enhancement and treatment of jade in Hong Kong and producing a set of criteria for identifying and grading different jade types. Her passionate pursuit of knowledge has earned her the title “Jade Lady” among industry insiders.

Organized by the jewelry industry publication, JNA (Jewellery News Asia), the awards gala dinner was the centerpiece of a year-long effort to recognize individuals and companies that have distinguished themselves in the jewelry industry. The event—which included cocktails, dinner, speeches by industry leaders, entertainment and the award presentations—was attended by more than 500 industry stakeholders at the Regal Airport Hotel in Hong Kong, and was held on the sidelines of the world’s No. 1 fine jewelry B2B show, the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.

The JNA Awards honors exceptional leadership and world-class innovation in the jewelry and gemstone industry. The 18 award recipients across 15 categories were:

1. 3 Decades of Excellence: Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Manufacturers Association
2. Brand of the Year – Retail: Chii Lih Coral Co Ltd
3. Employer of the Year: Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Co
4. Industry Innovation of the Year:
China Stone Co Ltd
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd
Shenzhen United BlueOcean Technology Development Co Ltd
Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt Ltd
5. Manufacturer of the Year – Gemstone Cutting & Polishing: RMC Gems India Ltd
6. Manufacturer of the Year – Diamond Cutting & Polishing: Hari Krishna Exports Pvt Ltd
7. Manufacturer of the Year – Gem-Set Jewellery: Lorenzo Jewelry Ltd
8. Manufacturer of the Year – Precious Metals-Only Jewellery: Shenzhen Ganlu Jewelry Co Ltd
9. Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – ASEAN Countries: PANDORA Production Co Ltd
10. Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – India: J. B. And Brothers Pvt Ltd
11. Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – Mainland China: Shenzhen Batar Investment
Holding Group Co Ltd
12. Retailer of the Year (450 outlets and below): Golden dew Co Ltd
13. E-tailer of the Year: KELA
14. Sustainability Initiative of the Year: Shenzhen Xingguangda Jewelry Industrial Co Ltd
15. Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Age 40 or below): Sit Kwan - Shenzhen Bofook Jewellery Co Ltd

“As you can imagine, going through the rigorous judging process and be named as one of our honorees is an outstanding achievement in itself,” said Letitia Chow, founder of JNA, director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at UBM Asia and chair of the JNA Awards judging panel. “Each year, the honorees demonstrate how we can do business in a smarter, more creative and efficient way. They refuse to be complacent by displaying great resilience and forward thinking, and embracing challenges with an open mind.”

She continued, “With the JNA Awards, we help create a new culture of encouragement, recognition and celebration rather than competition. Collectively, we can reach higher grounds, and we want the world to understand us–the jewelry industry–better.”

The fourth annual JNA Awards was supported by Headline Partners Rio Tinto Diamonds and Chow Tai Fook, together with Honoured Partners Diarough Group, G├╝belin Group, Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies, Shanghai Diamond Exchange and Guangdong Land Holdings Ltd. 

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Tissot, NBA Sign Groundbreaking Marketing Deal

This NBA shot clock will soon include the Tissot logo

The National Basketball Association and Tissot announced Monday a new multiyear global partnership that makes the Swiss watch brand the first Official Timekeeper of the National Basketball Association, Women’s National Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League. 

This marks the first official timekeeping partnership for Tissot with a major North American sports league and the largest marketing partnership in the company’s 160-year history. With the agreement, Tissot adds to its portfolio of international sports and sporting event partnerships.  

The watch company will work with the NBA to develop a “state-of-the-art integrated timing system.” The new precision timekeeping system, inclusive of Tissot-branded shot clocks, will be implemented across all 29 NBA arenas beginning with the 2016-17 NBA season.  
As part of the agreement, Tissot receives global league licensing rights for timepieces, watches, clocks and watch accessories for all NBA teams. The company will provide support for the partnership at its retail stores around the world.

The partnership tips off this week during NBA Global Games 2015-16, which will feature six NBA teams playing seven regular-season and preseason games in six countries. Tissot will also become the Official Timekeeper and Official Watch of several marquee league events, including the NBA All-Star, NBA Draft presented by State Farm, Samsung NBA Summer League and NBA Global Games.  

In addition, Tissot will make investments across all NBA teams and league broadcast partners. Finally, Tissot and the NBA will partner on a global basis through events, marketing, media, and NBA-themed creative and advertising.  

Tissot is the top selling Swiss traditional watchmaker in terms of volume and is part of the Swatch Group—the the world’s largest watch producer and distributor. 

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Baume & Mercier Awards Elizabeth Holmes With A Classima Watch

Luxury Swiss watch brand, Baume & Mercier, brought its pedigree to the millennial crowd Monday as a sponsor of the Forbes Under 30 Summit held in Philadelphia.

Rudy Chavez, president of Baume & Mercier North America, presented a Classima stainless steel watch (pictured above) engraved with a congratulatory message to Elizabeth Holmes, who received the Forbes Under 30 “Doers Award.”

Holmes, 31, holds the distinction of being America’s richest self-made woman and youngest female billionaire. She is the CEO of Theranos, a $9 billion blood testing company that she founded in 2003 at age 19 while a chemical engineering major at Stanford University. She developed a method to provide blood testing at a fraction of the time and cost that US healthcare providers now do it. It’s predicted to change medical screening throughout the world.

“I recently became a grandfather and when I look at my granddaughter, I am motivated to remain healthy and aware of what may affect my future well being,” Chavez said while presenting the watch. “Elizabeth Holmes is making it possible for people like me to help detect a variety of medical conditions with a prick of the finger and a drop of blood.”

The presentation by Baume & Mercier serves as a way to introduce the world of Swiss luxury watches to young people. Classima is marketed as a way for millennials to celebrate their first success, such as graduating college or landing that first job.

To further the Classima message, in July, Baume & Mercier launched a social media contest asking young professionals to celebrate their achievements by sharing #MyMomentofSuccess on Baume & Mercier’s social channels. The grand prize went to Skyler McCurine, founder of Le Red Balloon, for conducting a TED talk about the power of selflessness, inner beauty and personal strength. McCurine was awarded a Classima watch and an invitation to the Forbes Under 30 Summit.

The watch brand also launched a video, screened at the summit, titled, “Celebrate Life’s First Successes with the Classima,” which shows a young man celebrating his first professional achievement by treating himself to a Classima watch. It also sponsored one of several dinners held in Philadelphia area restaurants for attendees.

In its fourth year, the Forbes Under 30 Summit provides a forum for more than 2,000 entrepreneurs, many among the most successful in the world. The summit, which opened Sunday, will run till October 7.

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Harry Winston Art Deco Collection

When Harry Winston founded his eponymous jewelry brand in 1932, the Art Deco scene was in its heyday and its signature designs personified the luxury and glamour of the period.

For its latest collection, Harry Winston continues this heritage with six colorless diamond and platinum jewels that underscore the distinctive architectural style of the 1930s. Titled, “Art Deco by Harry Winston,” the collection evokes the iconic elegance of the period with combinations of round brilliant and baguette diamonds set in a symmetrical geometric shapes and angular forms. All of the pieces represent a singular sculptural motif, whether it is used as a central design element or repeated.

The collection consists of a diamond sautoir, single and multi-motif diamond bracelets, single motif diamond earrings, a diamond pendant and a ladies jewelry timepiece using the same motif. The pieces represent the refined and colorless version of the Art Deco design period.

The collection is available at Harry Winston salons worldwide. 

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Collectible Jewelry, Watches In Demand At Hong Kong Jewelry Fair

The “Antique & Vintage Jewellery” section of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair is perhaps the least talked about area of the world’s largest jewelry trade fair. This year, from my perspective, it was among the busiest, if not the busiest, section of the show. This is despite the fact that prior to fair there was a sense that sales would be down based on recent headlines concerning the turbulence in China's stock market. 

“The world press exaggerated the negative business in Asia,” Edward Faber, co-owner of Aaron Faber Gallery, said at his very active booth. The retailer specializes in vintage and period jewelry and timepieces and in contemporary collectible jewelry. 

Faber said for both jewelry and watches, buyers are looking for unique, unusual pieces at a good price.

“Value is winning out in watches and motivating buyers,” he said.

Patricia Kiley Faber, the other half of the husband and wife team, said buyers are looking for jewelry they can “easily resell”. Also, one-of-a-kind pieces that are a bit different. 

This didn’t surprise specialists in the international auction houses I contacted prior to the show.

“Many collectors that we work with in the mainland are still buying. If anything the pressure on the financial markets pushes collectors to invest more of their wealth into a hobby that they love and enjoy,” said Sam Hines, Phillips International Head of Watches, who is based in Hong Kong. “They also feel more comfortable having something with intrinsic value rather than a piece of paper that can suddenly be worth much less. Many collectors also say to us that they prefer having something to wear and enjoy which is hopefully increasing in value.”

Graeme Thompson, Bonhams Asia director of Jewellery, added, “Colored stones are doing incredibly well. Vintage (pieces over 100 years old) and period jewelry (representing a specific time frame and style) markets are up. There are opportunities to be had.” He also notes that wealth is being created in China “unlike anywhere else in the world. That’s going to have a clear impact on collectible market in the next five to 10 years.” 

The bottom line is that in good times or in bad, there always seems to be demand for collectible jewelry and watches. 

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Mixed Results For Diamonds And Gems At Hong Kong Jewelry Fair

Registration on opening day at the materials portion of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. Photo Credit: UBM Asia
Final figures for the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair haven’t been released yet but it appears that visitor numbers for the portion of the fare dealing with jewelry making materials, equipment and packaging will be flat or slightly down. 

This portion of the show (which is held at two venues) was hosted at the Asia World-Expo. It hosts the largest diamond pavilion in the world, the largest gemstone marketplace in Asia and a pavilion representing all of the major pearl regions. It also includes jewelry-making equipment and displays and boxes for jewels.

The diamond industry has had a difficult year and going into the show expectations were low. 

“The diamond industry in general, like a lot of other commodities, was geared toward rapid Chinese growth. Now things have slowed which created a lot of inventory,” Russell Shor, senior industry analyst with the Gemological Institute of America, said prior to the fair. “What you’re going to see is cautious buying and hard bargaining on prices. They have an idea of what they can sell for the year and they are not going to take a chance on buying anything extra…. It’s a buyer’s market.”

However, during the fair, he said most dealers “did better than expected.”

Ernie Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, said in a statement the fair turned out to be good sign for dealers.

“The Hong Kong show, due to the global nature of its exhibitors, buyers and visitors, serves as a useful barometer of industry sentiment, so it is very promising that demand at the fair was stable.”

In the colored gem area, Gary Roskin, executive director of the International Colored Gemstone Association, said about 100 members exhibiting in a pavilion managed by the organization, another 100 vendors in the 22 country pavilions and about 200 members attending as buyers.

“With the Chinese economy slowing down, our ICA members came in with modest expectations. However, like any trade show, some of our ICA exhibitors had very good shows despite the economic news. There were also a number of our members who were happy to see established clients return to place good orders, while a few ICA members mentioned actually meeting new clients who saved the show.”

He adds, “As an exhibitor, you have to be at the shows consistently, in good times and bad, so that you establish yourself as a reliable company.”

The most crowded part of the show was the equipment area, where throngs of people were viewing everything from 3D printers to finishing and polishing equipment.

Wolfram Diener, senior VP of UBM Asia, said this was promising for the industry because it shows that jewelers and manufacturers expect to do more business. If not, many wouldn’t be looking to upgrade their equipment. 

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Hong Kong Jewelry Fair Exceeds Expectations

Inside the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre where the finished fine jewelry portion of the fair was being held. Photo credit: UBM Asia

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, economic instability, geopolitical tensions and outright war has factored into the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. But world’s largest trade fair proved to be resilient and kept growing.

This year, the fair (which ran from 16 - 22 September) may have faced its biggest challenge with a slowdown in the China market. For the show that bills itself as the “gateway to China,” this could have easily meant fewer visitors. However, the fair is on pace to achieve another year of record (although modest) growth, perhaps eclipsing 60,000 visitors. It should be noted that this is in comparison to a very strong 2014, when attendance grew by 12 percent.

Wolfram Diener, Senior VP of UBM Asia, which owns and operates the trade fair, acknowledged that not only China, but all the other BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are struggling this year. However, he also notes that jewelry sales grew 5.2 per cent for the first half of 2015 and the country's Gross Domestic Product grew by 7 per cent for the same period.

“I just came back from Shanghai furniture show and it had a 15 to 20 percent increase in buyers,” he says. “It’s not the market has perished but it’s a mixed picture.

In terms of sales it’s a little early but Diener says that business was better than the modest expectations going into the show.

“Most notable is that many exhibitors saw a more diverse buyer activity,” Diener says. “There were more orders from Japan, Korea, Philippines, US, whilst Chinese visitors appeared to buy more than earlier in the year.”

The number of vendors exhibiting this year totaled 3,748—53 more than last year—at the show’s two venues: The Asia World-Expo where jewelry making materials and equipment vendors are located; and the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, for fine jewelry exhibitors. The small increase is because both convention facilities are full. Any growth is due to the creative use of the 135,000 square meters of exhibition space.

“It’s a small increase but it reminds you that the show is worldwide and it reflects our constraints,” Diener says. “If we have more convention center facilities we could grow much more.” 

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