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The JNA Awards has quickly grown to become one of the most prestigious award ceremonies in the international jewellery industry. However, it is still looking for a permanent home.


This year the event was held in the ballroom of the Regal Airport Hotel. While the location was different the show retailed its elaborate stage setting, congratulatory atmosphere, variety of international acts, speeches from industry leaders, and of course the award presentations.


2015 JNA Awards was held in the ballroom of the Regal Airport Hotel.
2015 JNA Awards was held in the ballroom of the Regal Airport Hotel


JNA Awards 2015 Entertainment

It was another night in which the glitz and glamour of the Asian jewellery industry was well represented. In its fourth year, the award program is organized by the jewellery industry publication, JNA (Jewellery News Asia), the awards gala dinner was the centrepiece of a year-long effort to recognize individuals and companies that have distinguished themselves in the jewellery industry. The event was attended by more than 500 industry stakeholders and was held in conjunction with the world’s largest fine jewellery B2B show, the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.


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


Lifetime Achievement Award: Ou Yang Chiu Mei
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ou Yang Chiu Mei


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.


The JNA Awards honours exceptional leadership and world-class innovation in the jewellery and gemstone industry, said Letitia Chow, founder of JNA, director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at UBM Asia and chair of the JNA Awards judging panel.


Letitia Chow, founder of JNA
Letitia Chow, founder of JNA


“As you can imagine, going through the rigorous judging process and be named as one of our honorees is an outstanding achievement in itself,” Chow said. “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 jewellery industry–better.”


The JNA Awards honours exceptional leadership and world-class innovation in the jewellery and gemstone industry.
The JNA Awards honours exceptional leadership and world-class innovation in the jewellery and gemstone industry.


The 18 award recipients across 15 categories are as follows:

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


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


Everything is in place to make the awards a permanent part of the international jewellery industry. All it needs now is a home.

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It’s been a couple of weeks since you came back from the show. You have completed your after the show tasks. You’ve priced your new goods and displayed them in their own feature showcase. You had a private showing for your best customers. Pictures from your trip are uploaded to your website and posted on your social media page. If you have your own blog, your travel story and new items are already mentioned and promoted. So what is left?  Is that all there is to do?  Not at all, here is one more very important task.

This venue is easy to navigate, consisting of two long side by side exhibition halls and two other halls in a different part of the building.  All of the exhibition spaces are on the lower level of the building and the upper level held support services such as food, information and security. 

Pull out all of the business cards you collected at the show. Hopefully you made notes on why you kept them and what that person or company has to offer. Sort them into three piles. The first pile contains things really interest you and you want to start on immediately. The second stack is for things that you may want to think about in the near future. The third stack is the “why do I have this card” stack.



Send a detailed e-mail to everyone in your first stack. Outline your interest in their product or service and request further information. They just met thousands of buyers and probably need a bit of help to know who you are so if you can, try to include something about your interaction with them to help them remember you. This could be the start of a good long term relationship so put some effort into these contacts.


The second stack can have a boiler plate message.  You just want to establish a basic contact. It can be something as simple as “Hi, this is Dave from XYZ corp. I have a jewellery store located in ABC city. It was a pleasure to meet you at the show. I may be interested in what you have to offer in the near future so please include me in any of your mailings or email lists. If you have a catalogue, please send it to my address.” Just be sure to copy and paste each one in an individual e-mail rather than just listing all the email addresses in one message. That is a sure way to end up in their spam filter.


The third stack can be handled a few different ways. If you know you took a card just to be polite, dispose of it now. If you are unsure why you took the card, you send a quick email asking for more information. It might be something you really want but it totally slipped your mind.  If they have a web address on the card, look it up. It may remind you of why you have their card.


Communicating with your new contacts is important. After all, that is one of the reasons to went to the show so don’t forget this important task.


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India has once again proved its commitment towards clean and transparent diamond business by enforcing a ban recently on trading of synthetic or lab-grown diamonds within the premises of Mumbai based Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB). Henceforth, all traders will deal only in natural diamonds and strict action would be taken against those who are caught with synthetic diamonds.


Ban, a timely decision taken by the BDB
Ban, a timely decision taken by the BDB


Mr. Anoop Mehta, President of the BDB says, "A circular has been issued to all the office holders of the bourse to strictly observe the ban. A strict vigil will be maintained to ensure that no synthetic diamond enters the bourse from now.  Moreover, it (the synthetics deal) was tarnishing the image of Indian diamond industry globally. With this we have sent a message to the world bourses that we are dealing in natural diamonds only."


Thus BDB has now become the second bourse in the world to ban the synthetic diamonds trading. Earlier last year, the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) was the first to officially ban trading of synthetic diamond. IDE is also the first exchange to ban trade in conflict diamonds. The global image of Indian diamond industry has been battered during last one-and-a-half-year after many revelations were made on the detection of undisclosed mixing of synthetic diamonds with natural diamond parcels. Even gemological laboratories world-wide had raised an alarm on the unauthorized mixing of synthetic stones, found from the parcels sent from Mumbai and Surat.


Industry sources say that the action was a timely taken measure as the erection of a Special Notified Zone (SNZ) for conducting global rough trading is nearly complete in the BDB where mining giants like De Beers, Alrosa, Rio Tinto etc. are eager to start auctions from November, 2015. According to an official estimate, India which was importing synthetic diamonds worth USD 4 million in 2004-05 had imported  the lab-grown diamonds worth USD 86 million in 2013-14, which is 21-times increase in 10 years. So it had become necessary to put a strict vigil on the speedily increasing inflow of such diamonds and to create a congenial atmosphere within the premises of the BDB for transparent global trading.


Moreover, at the request of some Indian processing companies, De Beers plans to set up a synthetic diamond detection centre either in Surat or in BDB, Mumbai soon that will detect diamonds even studded on jewellery. Recently in March, De Beers had set up a grading and inscription facility in Surat, at an investment of Rs 60 crore. Of course, there are some synthetic diamond-detecting machines at BDB but none of them can identify synthetic diamonds in ornaments. The BDB machines have a long waiting list for testing. Other mining companies like Alrosa and Rio Tinto are also expected to start the same facility in India soon.


Mr. Dinesh Navadia, Regional Chairman of India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) says, "Diamond trade of about USD 23 billion is done within the bourse annually. So we want to build a clean image of India’s diamond industry and this is the beginning."


Mr. Alex Popov, President of Moscow Diamond Bourse (MDB) says, “I believe that the reported mixing of synthetic diamonds with natural ones is scandalous if not plainly criminal. Since this is done mostly with small goods, it is obvious that the focus has been on reported incidents in India and I am encouraged by the unequivocal condemnation that I have heard from our counterparts in India. Of course, all bourses need to take the measures needed to stamp out these practices.”


Industry circles here feel that this is an aptly taken decision by the BDB as it would bear a major impact on enhancing the deteriorated consumer-confidence to a great extent.


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With the slowdown in the Chinese jewellery market and other BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia and India), there was a focus on value among jewellery exhibitors at Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.


“Affordable luxury” and “fun” collections using gold and small diamonds starting at $200,” was one of the major selling points at this year’s fair, says Marie Feliciano, editor-in-chief of Jewellery News Asia.


“Stackable rings, stack bracelets, ear climbers and multi-layered necklaces are trending,” she said. “I’ve seen some really attractive over-sized rings with coloured gemstones. With regards to coloured stones, tourmaline, tanzanite, topaz and fancy sapphires are quite popular. Some Hong Kong companies are using carved jade in their contemporary collections.”


It also helped to provide variety.


Inspired Jewellery, a contemporary jewellery design firm, exhibited examples of its modern diamond-based jewellery, a line of delicate bridal rings for the Japanese market, and an affordable silver jewellery collection with satirical statements about the state of the world today. It’s called “Deception ... A Collection”.


“We’re really well-positioned with our product mix,” said Chris Benham, CEO of the New Zealand-based firm.

Inspired Jewellery makes a statement about the financial people on Wall Street with this silver pendant necklace.
Inspired Jewellery makes a statement about the financial people on Wall Street with this silver pendant necklace.

The company was located in “Designer Avenue,” a new area on the fourth floor of the Hong Kong Convention & Exposition Centre dedicated to smaller design-focused firms. Benham said he was “really pleased with the crowds” from a variety of Asian countries and regions.


It’s not only the size of the show that makes it arguably the most important in the worldwide jewellery industry but its scope. The variety of jewellery available at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre includes low-end silver products, designer items, haute couture, and collectible jewellery and watches.

Sarah Ho Royal Plume Earrings in 18k white gold with pink and blue sapphires, aquamarine, diamonds and pearls; from her Couture collection.
Sarah Ho Royal Plume Earrings in 18k white gold with pink and blue sapphires, aquamarine, diamonds and pearls; from her Couture collection.


Sarah Ho Numerati Rings in 18k rose gold with diamonds.
Sarah Ho Numerati Rings in 18k rose gold with diamonds.


So while value was the focus for many exhibitors, those who deal in high-end jewellery brought their best items with them, no matter the cost.


“It’s the hub of the jewellery industry all over the world,” said Henri Istanboulian of Zorab Atelier de Creation, which has been exhibiting at the fair for 20 years. The family owned firm specializes in unique and limited-edition high jewellery made with combinations of rare gems. “The Hong Kong show became more interesting and better than any other show.”


During opening day at the convention centre (the third day of the fair), fine jewellery designer Sarah Ho said buyers haven’t yet made it to the back of the main hall where her booth is located. She was featuring a couture line of jewellery and the “Numerati Collection” of rings based on the numbers 1 through 9 made in 18k rose gold with diamonds.


“The numbers are visible when the ring is held but as soon as the ring is worn the number becomes a hidden secret, known on to the person wearing it,” she said.


It’s her second year at the show and she says a long-term goal is to move closer to the front of the hall.


“Once you start a show you have to give it a few years.”

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In good times or in bad, there always seems to be demand for collectible jewellery and watches. These items are valued for their beauty, history and rarity. They also serve as investments, particularly as hedges against adverse price movements.


This last point seems to be particularly important as turbulence in the Chinese stock markets this summer presented uncertainty to the world’s fastest growing economy and fastest growing jewellery and watch market.


The Antique & Vintage Jewellery Hall in September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair
The Antique & Vintage Jewellery Hall in September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair


“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. The current market conditions I believe effect the buyer whom would only purchase one watch they see while browsing for other luxury goods. I think the current markets make those collecting a lot more focused and spend a little more wisely.”


Graeme Thompson, Bonhams Asia director of Jewellery, added, “Coloured stones are doing incredibly well. Vintage (pieces over 100 years old) and period jewellery (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 “Antique & Vintage Jewellery” section of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair is perhaps the least talked about area of the show. This year, from my perspective it was among the busiest, if not the busiest, section of the show.


The Antique & Vintage Jewellery Hall in September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair


Prior to fair there was a sense that sales would be down based on recent headlines, but the exhibitors seemed to do quite well.


“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 jewellery and timepieces and in contemporary studio jewellery.


Mr Faber said for both jewellery 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 jewellery they can “easily resell”. Also, one-of-a-kind pieces that are a bit different.


So when times are uncertain, collectors look to quality and uniqueness at a good price.

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