In 2014, the raw materials section of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair experienced large numbers of visitors. Final figures for the show haven’t been released yet but it appears that visitor numbers will be flat or slightly down for this section.
Held at the Asia World-Expo, this part of the show hosts the largest diamond pavilion in the world, the largest gemstone marketplace in Asia, a pavilion representing all of the major pearl regions. It also includes jewellery-making equipment and displays and boxes for jewels.
Opening day at the raw materials section of the show in the Asia World-Expo.
The diamond industry has this past year with a number of issues, including the difficulty of receiving credit, lower prices for diamonds and most importantly the slowdown in jewellery consumption in China. Going into the fair there were low expectations.
“The diamond industry in general, like a lot of other commodities, was geared toward rapid Chinese growth. Now things have slowed which created a lot of inventory,” Russell Shor, senior industry analyst with the Gemological Institute of America, said prior to the fair. “What you’re going to see is cautious buying and hard bargaining on prices. They have an idea of what they can sell for the year and they are not going to take a chance on buying anything extra…. It’s a buyer’s market.”
However, during the fair, he said most dealers “did better than expected.”
Ernie Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, said in a statement the fair turned out to be good sign for dealers.
“The Hong Kong show, due to the global nature of its exhibitors, buyers and visitors, serves as a useful barometer of industry sentiment, so it is very promising that demand at the fair was stable.”
The most buzz among was around any exhibitor selling synthetic melee detectors.
In the coloured gem area, one observer said there appeared to more buyers from the US and Europe and fewer buyers from China.
Gary Roskin, executive director of the International Colored Gemstone Association, said about 100 members exhibiting in a pavilion managed by the organization, another 100 vendors in the 22 country pavilions and about 200 members attending as buyers.
“With the Chinese economy slowing down, our ICA members came in with modest expectations. However, like any trade show, some of our ICA exhibitors had very good shows despite the economic news. There were also a number of our members who were happy to see established clients return to place good orders, while a few ICA members mentioned actually meeting new clients who saved the show.”
He adds, “There were exhibitors who left without doing much business – but they expected that coming in. As an exhibitor, you have to be at the shows consistently, in good times and bad, so that you establish yourself as a reliable company.”
The most crowded part of the show was the equipment area, where throngs of people were viewing everything from 3D printers to finishing and polishing equipment.