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Leibish & Co

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Early Reports at Hong Kong Jewelry Fair: Moderate Sales, Moderate Optimism and Diverse Offerings

Buyers crowd around a Japanese Pearl dealer.

HONG KONG — Acres of diamonds, miles of pearls and nearly every gemstone on earth were on display during the second day of the SeptemberHong Kong Jewellery & Gem tradeshow.

I arrived for the second day and while the show had a slow comfortable pace early, by afternoon the aisles were jammed with buyers. This is the first part of the two-tier tradeshow. The first being held now (September 19-23) at the Asia World Expo Centre for raw jewelry making materials along with technical equipment and packaging. The finished jewelry portion of the show, which attracts the most attention, will open Thursday and run till September 25 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre near the center of this bustling, business-minded city.

An assortment of gemstones from Marcel Poncet.

Jewelry manufacturers from around the world are the primary buyers at the Asia World Expo portion of what has become the world’s largest fine jewelry show, finding equipment and materials to meet their diverse needs.

One person representing a Filipino-based gold jewelry manufacturer said he was happy with the compact size and technological advancements in the new laser soldering machines at the show and was ready to purchase.

A pearl jewelry manufacturer from Hawaii said she was easily able to find the types of pearls she needed for her market. Hawaii depends on tourism, particularly from Asia and the U.S. She said in recession has left only the high-end Asian market and the low-end U.S. market.

“The middle has disappeared,” she said. She was also a bit perplexed by the cost of pearls these days. All pearls have risen in price dramatically she said, noting as an example that an average-sized golden South Seas pearl costs about $3,000.

Coral art displays from Lucoral's of Taiwan.

According to reports, the first day of the show was on the moderate side but diamond dealers are cautiously optimistic, citing recoveries in both the China and U.S. market. Leibish Polnauer, founder and CEO of Leibish & Co., a fancy-colored diamond company, said one- to three-carat fancy light yellow diamonds have been popular lately because they present a value.

“The world is not coming to an end,” Polnauer said. “They (Chinese consumers) maybe making less money then they made a couple of months ago but they made money and they’re happy and they’re looking forward to enjoy what they made. The American market altogether is improving.”

He continued, “I think the show has a better momentum than the last one (held in June). “The prices (of diamonds) are settled and with the fancy colored stones, there’s no downturn at all…. In general the mood in America is not bad and in China, it’s getting back from the temporary slowdown they experienced in the summer and I think the jewelry consumption will go up.”

Diamond dealers at the show and on the flight arriving to the event said large statement diamonds continue to be popular as an investment for wealthy consumers.

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