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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where the bill was declared to be “suspended” but that didn’t stop the protesters, who said they want the proposal withdrawn.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.”