March 2016 Hong Kong International Jewellery Show
I just got back from the March 2016 International Jewellery Show in Hong Kong – an event of over 2,500 exhibitors spread over 2 venues.
Our Hong Kong and Chinese mainland based subsidiary Goldenage International, exhibits at all the Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan and Las Vegas JCK fairs. At the March fair, we have to have 2 stands (one in each location) to be able to cater to demand.
The general feeling was very subdued. Buyers from mainland China were notably down – an interesting comment on the strength of the local Chinese economy. In addition, the number of Australians, Europeans and Americans visiting the fair was also substantially down as a result of the weakening of the Euro against the US dollar. Quantity orders for Goldenage International came predominantly from the Middle East, India, Thailand and South East Asia. Contrary to industry sentiment, sales were up on the prior period last year with a heavy bias towards gold findings and custom mountings in 18 carat Gold and Platinum.
Amongst lots of others, I met this magazine’s Publisher Jeremy Keight who was impressed by the scale of the Hong Kong Jewellery Fair. I also took the opportunity to talk to clients from around the world to discuss the state of the international jewellery market. The general consensus was that diamond sales were very slow across the board and that volume mass produced jewellery sales were down on last year. The bright light seemed to be the continued demand for customisation in line with the move away from the “one size fits all” approach.
Our Pallion Asian director Aaron Chan made the following comment, “It was very pleasing to see a sustained demand for custom jewellery manufacture by clients of Goldenage International. In order to cater to increased demand, Goldenage International has significantly increased the size of its Hong Kong based custom jewellery team.”
I think that this sustained demand is all part of a resurgence in what people traditionally associate with the word “jewellery”. They want precious and they want “uniqueness”. Australian retail and manufacturing jewellers are in a great position to take advantage of this shift. From a simplistic viewpoint, local jewellers benefit from their ability to produce to order – they can keep their stock levels to a minimum and produce what their clients want when they need it.
The combination of handmade jewellery skill and improvements in CAD/CAM technology give the jeweller a great advantage over their competition in other areas of wholesale and retail. These factors give jewellers true power. They are not reliant on huge manufacturing corporations that dole out “one size fits all” product. Jewellers have the ability to create unique products for themselves and their clients - even in units as small as “one”.
I’ve said it before, but jewellers are in the unique position of being able to give their clients the feeling of being part of the process of the construction of bespoke items that they want to wear. That is a connection that very few other businesses are able to make with their customers. It’s a connection that Australian jewellers need to make sure they exploit.
Chief Executive Officer
Pallion (ABC Bullion, ABC Refinery, Palloys, AGS│PJW, A&E Metals, Regentco, Goldenage International & Custodian Vaults)