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Attendance for the first two days of the September Hong Kong Jewellery Fair improved by 11.2 percent year-over-year, according to UBM Asia, the company the owns and operates the world’s largest B2B fine jewellery trade fair. The numbers are from the portion of the show dedicated to jewellery making materials, equipment and supplies held at the AsiaWorld-Expo.


Wolfram Diener, UBM Asia senior vice president, shared these numbers with me during a brief interview Wednesday at the opening of the portion of the show dedicated to finished fine jewellery at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. Fair organizers predicted very modest growth this year, and judging from the first two days of the finished jewellery portion of the fair, this may still happen. But an attendance figure of 33,606 unique visitors had to be a welcome sign for the organizers. Particularly during a time of political turmoil and violence in the Middle East, sanctions against Russia, and still sluggish economies in the western portion of the world, particularly in Europe and the US. Not to mention a category 8 typhoon off the coast of Hong Kong.

The crowded registration area at the AsiaWorld-Expo during the second day of the fair.

The crowded registration area at the AsiaWorld-Expo during the second day of the fair.


One of the buyers I saw Tuesday was Steven Lagos, founder of the jewellery brand, Lagos, who says the annual fair has grown to become “best show in the world.”


“You used to be able to see all of these little companies in Basel, but it has gotten too exclusive and expensive,” he says. “I always find interesting ideas and suppliers in Hong Kong.  It really offers a global perspective into the business.”


Mayuri Vara, owner Vara of London, a new luxury jewellery brand, says she has been coming to the Hong Kong fair for three years to source her materials and to network. Next year, she plans to be an exhibitor. This year, her focus will be coloured gemstones, such as rhodolite garnet, pink sapphires, morganite, grey and champagne diamonds.


“The demand of colored gemstones at the fair is set to continue,” she says. “(The show) attracts a great number of influential international buyers and is a gateway to doors into luxury Asian markets. We will be looking forward to exhibiting next year.”


Leibish Polnauer, founder of Leibish & Co, a dealer of fancy colored diamonds to consumers and the trade primarily online, brought some of his more special gems with him to exhibit, including a 50-carat yellow diamond and a 3.37-carat pinkish-purple diamond, known as “The Purple Orchid,” that has an asking price of $4 million. His booth like many at the show was crowded with people milling about and with appointments. When I asked him about business, he shrugged saying “typhoons, whatever, we do most of our business online.”


It is the largest B2B fine jewellery show in the world in terms of the number of exhibitors and the amount of exhibition space. Baselworld – The World Watch and Jewellery Show (primarily a watch show open to the trade and general public) attracts more visitors.



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You have some very specific products you are looking for? THE set of gemstones… a type of coral… a hard to come by set of pearls? There is a new service for you at the upcoming September Hong Kong Fair, helping to deal with special requests more efficiently!


The show is a heaven for browsing, meeting old and new exhibitors. It is most likely the place where you will be able to cover your sourcing needs whatever they are.  The exhibitor lists and the Mobile Buyer Guide  are essential tools to sort and categorize potential suppliers. But even then, you might want to zoom in on even further to ensure you maximize your options while managing a busy schedule.


At JewelleryNetAsia we are now launching a new sourcing feature just in time for the opening of the September Hong Kong Fair: At our Product Locator Kiosks positioned throughout the fair venues you can place Trade Lead messages. These Trade Leads will be published to suitable suppliers. Only targeted exhibitors can see the offers and can respond while you are at the fair. Just approach the Product Locator Kiosks and place your sourcing request as detailed as possible.


With a number of suitable replies you will save so much time you can expand casual browsing, networking with your contacts or even see a bit more of Hong Kong.


Have a great show!


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Just in case you haven’t heard, RapNet announced it will no longer list diamonds with EGL reports on their trading platform to eliminate possible confusion over grading standards. This action is, in part, due to the high profile lawsuits over grading discrepancies between different gemmological laboratories. Most people in the jewellery trade have strong opinions about the validity and reliability of grades from all labs and particularly the worldwide group of EGL labs. Many feel this ban comes as a welcome step in the right direction. This is not a new point of contention. More than a decade ago EGL USA unsuccessfully requested the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to block the importation of stones with EGL International reports.


GIA created the grading nomenclature but never applied for copyright or trademark protection. This is understandable. If the terminology was proprietary and protected, GIA would need to license its use and continually re-certify the licensees; a logistical and expensive quagmire. So the nomenclature is open for anyone to use with needing to conform to the GIA grading standards. I can call a stone a G and someone else can call it an M and we both have the right to our opinions. This leads to confusion within the trade and an absolute nightmare to the poor consumer.


Diamond grading reports are based on human evaluation and are subject to human errors. They are an opinion and not a hard fact. Virtually all labs have disclosure statements that state they are not responsible for errors or differing opinions and will not stand behind their grades. The final burden of responsibility falls on the seller of the stone and not the lab. As in the Genesis Jeweller’s case, it is the retailer that gets sued while the lab gets off the hook.

"Diamond grading reports are based on human evaluation and are subject to human errors."


Perhaps it is time to hold gemmological grading labs responsible for their opinions. We pay good money for their opinion and make financial decisions based on that opinion; decisions that could have tens of thousands of dollars difference over a few grades. Yet in the long run the reports are only worth the paper they are printed on. If they are wrong it is your problem, not theirs. You pay your money, you take the chances.


There is talk about establishing international diamond grading standards but that leads to other problems. We need to answer the questions of whose standards and who will enforce those standards before we can even think of correcting this situation.


Automated grading and new nomenclature could be an answer. We are part of the way there with laser mapping of diamond dimensions. We have colorimeters to help determine a colour grade but they are not completely consistent and can be fooled rather easily. So far there are no working devices to grade clarity. Technology will eventually get us there but we still have a long way to go.


Until then it is up to the jeweller to educate their customers on different grading standards at different labs. They also need to educate themselves enough to have confidence in their own grading abilities. After all, the jewellers are the ones holding the final responsibility... not the labs.



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If India’s Q1 export figures are any indication, a conducive atmosphere for the growth of global gem & jewellery industry has been created with constant improvement in economy of Europe and the US. According to the latest figures, India’s jewellery exports have increased by 23% during Q1 of the current year in comparison with the same period of last year.


Although the above figures may be encouraging for the industry leaders, it has brought some worries for the government as the jewellery exports from India’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs for jewellery) on the contrary have drastically reduced recently. According to figures provided by the government sources, exports from SEZs have significantly gone down to Rs. 60,000 crore or 44% in 2013-14.


IT consultancy firm Accenture which was hired by the India government to look into the matter, has recently come out with some suggestions to boost jewellery exports from SEZs. Accenture spoke to a number of India’s exporters, customs authorities and government officials to frame a roadmap to revive exports from SEZs. One of the prime areas of concern found by the Firm is the 80:20 rule as jewellery exports from these SEZs are not counted under 80:20 rule which makes procurement of gold from nominated import agencies difficult for them.


Under the 80:20 rule introduced by the earlier government, the gold-providing agencies have to safeguard that 20% of the gold they import is again exported after adding value (turning them into jewellery). But because exports from SEZs are excluded under this rule, the gold importing agencies charge high premium on the yellow metal from such SEZs. This problem is found to be prevalent in Noida and Kolkata based SEZs, the Firm observed in its report.


The report further observed that SEZ-based jewellery manufacturers who require only small quantities of gold - for example, makers of diamond studded jewellery - are adversely affected as they find it quite difficult to get gold from nominated agencies. Directly importing small quantities of gold proves very expensive to them.


A follow-up done by India’ Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) reveals that SEZs have surrendered major share of the jewellery export business to Domestic Tariff Areas (DTAs). Sources from the Council say that gold jewellery exports from DTAs jumped up higher by 173% to Rs. 6,973.95 crores during Q1 this fiscal year in comparison with Rs. 2,553.38 crores of exports made during the same quarter a year before.

India worried about low jewellery exports from SEZs

The Accenture report comes at a time when the recently elected Narendra Modi government in India is trying to give a fresh boost to the SEZs. There are eight SEZs in India which export jewellery viz. Noida, Mumbai, Jaipur, Surat, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata and Vizag. The 100 page report by Accenture has also warned the government that the said move by Indian jewellers to set up jewellery units in China and Dubai may slow down India’s gem and jewellery exports.


Major hurdle against the dwindling exports from jewellery SEZs is, as put by the report is the prevailing 80:20 rule. Ball is now in Indian government’s court which is expected to act on the suggestions made by the Accenture.



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For reasons unknown the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. was held on a Monday night at the end of August, where people are either on vacation or busy with their return to school. Despite this, the television ratings were respectable. Most award shows in the US are held on a Sunday during the fall and winter months. This event is normally held in September, I was told by an official that television networks often have the final say when it comes to date and how it fits their schedule.

Jessica Pare wears Fred Leighton platinum and diamond pendant necklace from the 1950's
and platinum and diamond stud earrings (two carats each).

Lucy Liu wears Lorraine Schwartz yellow gold and canary yellow diamond earrings and ring.
The jewellery was provided by


The strange timing brings a bit of confusion for those on the red carpet and their designers. Do you go with summer fashion or work in fall style for the upcoming season. In the end, it turned out to be a conservative year on the red carpet. 

Christina Hendricks in 18k Yellow Gold Jewellery by Neil Lane that includes:
a diamond and gold lovebird bracelet; a rose-cut mogul diamond gold bangle;
a pair of ornate gold bangles; a garnet, pearl, and gold Victorian bracelet;
a  crimson garnet, diamond, and gold ring; and carved gold girandole earrings.
The jewellery was provided by


Classic diamond jewellery on white gold or platinum that, like a wedding, is always part of the red carpet, was even more prevalent this year. The De Beers diamond brand, Forevermark, may have made the biggest impression for the evening with their jewellery lines created by diamond manufacturers and designers.

Laura Prepon sparkles in Simon G Diamond Jewellery that included the following:
18k white gold earrings with 3.16-carats of round white diamonds;
an 18k white gold bangle with 7.98-carats of round white diamonds;
an 18k white gold ring with 1.37-carats of princess diamonds and 1.53-carats baguette diamonds;
An 18k white gold bangle with 2.17-carats of round white diamonds;
an 18k white gold bracelet with 1.63-carats of round white diamonds and 5.84-carats of baguette diamonds;
and an 18k white gold ring with a 1-carat round white diamond.

Yellow gold, thanks to the efforts of, the fashion forward jewellery division of the World Gold Council, also was in high demand this year. After many years of growth on the red carpet events, coloured gems took a bit of a back seat. When colour did appear it was in the form of colourful cocktail rings or hanging earrings. Again, not exactly earth shattering. Fashion forward pieces came in the form of ear climbers and multi-finger rings, which are commonplace these days.

January Jones wears Jack Vartanian diamond ear climbers.

There were the usual familiar faces and familiar designers along with new faces and new designers. Fred Leighton, Lorraine Schwartz, Martin Katz and Neil Lane were among those whose jewellery adorned the actresses. However, names not as well known also made their mark on the red carpet, including Ana Khouri, Suzanne Kalan and Kallati.

Downton Abbey actress Joanne Froggatt wearing Brumani earrings.

When it came to representation by television show stars, the women of “Mad Men” and “Orange is the New Black” share the award for looking the best with their jewellery adornment.

Zooey Deschanel wears Forevermark diamond jewellery by Maria Canale Aster Collection that incldues ring, earrings and bracelet adorned with round brilliant Forevermark diamonds set in 18k white gold.



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