After what was unquestionably a challenging 2016 for the luxury market, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) must have been pleased to announce these results: The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show and the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, which ran Feb. 28–March 4 and March 2–6, respectively, are growing. Combined, the two shows brought some 4,480 exhibitors and more than 85,000 buyers from 144 countries and regions—a 6 percent bump from the previous year.
“2017—we’re optimistic,” declared Kent Wong, chairman of the HKTDC advisory committee, at an overseas journalist breakfast on Day Two of the jewelry show. The volatile gold price, global economy uncertainty, and U.S. presidential election were certainly “burdens” in 2016, admitted the Chow Tai Fook managing director. But “disposable income will continue to increase,” he said. “Donald Trump wants to rejuvenate the U.S. market.”
Meanwhile, Lawrence Ma, chairman of the show’s organizing committee, was pleased with an influx of new exhibitors from locales including Nigeria and the British Virgin Islands and the visible increase in foot traffic. (In total, more than 33,000 buyers attended the Diamond, Gem & Pearl show, held at the airport-adjacent AsiaWorld-Expo, and about 52,000 visited the jewelry show at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.) “I think Hong Kong is in a good position to be a thermometer” for the industry, said Ma.
On the floor, we saw an abundance of rubies—many, not unexpectedly, Mozambican, but also Burmese and Thai. “We are quite focused on rubies at the moment,” said Humphrey Wong, general manager, diamond division, of the Hong Kong–based Queen and I Jewellery Co. Ltd., showing off a spectacular diamond and ruby statement necklace. “About 60 percent of our jewelry is rubies.” There was also no shortage of bright blue stones: Indeed, blue topaz and amethyst were the most popular colors in the fashion collection at Peter Lam Jewellery. And pink, not surprisingly, continues to be a top seller—as we expected for 2017. At Lorenzo Jewelry, among a set of cases boasting a rainbow’s worth of colored stones, morganite emerged as a top choice.
Sutra’s 18k rose gold opal and coral bib necklace (11 cts. t.w. rose-cut diamonds, 107 cts. t.w. white opal, 208 cts. t.w. pink coral) sold to a notable client in the Middle East.
“Our coral and pink tourmaline collections did really well,” said Divyanshu Navlakha of Houston-based Sutra (the brand also has a secondary office in Hong Kong). “We noticed a trend of many clients seeking statement coral earrings, and moved several gemmy pink tourmaline pieces.”
Pink gold proved to be quite popular as well. Bangkok’s Artinian Fine Jewellery “did quite well” with its boutique brand, Sartoro, according to marketing manager Paris Kouyoumdjian. “Clients found the rose gold grouping of collection pieces quite eye-catching and unique, loving the simplicity, wearability, and accessibility,” said Kouyoumdjian of the unfussy but luxe diamond pieces. “They wanted uncomplicated designs for their everyday sellable inventory.” Sartoro’s curvaceous rose gold and diamond Venus styles (ring pictured, inset) range from $2,500 to $17,800.