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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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