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India, China buyers fuel sales at Jewellery & Gem ASIA Hong Kong

More than 1,600 exhibitors from 33 countries and regions showcased their latest products and services at the four-day fair.

Exhibitors said they mostly entertained buyers from China, Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea and India, but there were also a few customers from Australia, Europe and the US.

Saumil Shah, director at diamond dealer Gemasia (Hong Kong) Ltd, said the company liaised with its regular customers and met a few new potential buyers from China, Cambodia, the Philippines, Japan and South Korea.

He noted, “Surprisingly, several buyers from Japan turned up for the show. All the buyers we met were looking for smaller diamonds, which are the bread-and-butter of jewellery manufacturing. In the last six months, demand has been soft for higher-value goods such as certified stones and diamonds of 1 to 2.99 carats.”

Excellent Diamonds Ltd senior sales executive Jai Sethia meanwhile said majority of the buyers he saw at the fair were from India who asked for diamonds of 3 carats and up in KLM colours. “We also did business with some buyers from the Philippines who were also after these bigger diamonds but in a wider range of colour grade,” added Sethia.

Based in Hong Kong, the company specialises in Gemological Institute of America-certified goods of 1 carat to 10 carats.

Vendors also attested to JGA’s solid reputation as a top sourcing platform for trade buyers. Francoise Izaute of Italian pre-owned jewellery dealer and first-time JGA exhibitor Costruendo Srl said the show had been “very productive” for the company. “We met a lot of very serious buyers on the first few days of the show. We made several valuable contacts, particularly representatives from the important stores,” remarked Izaute.

Zaheer Ansari, director of Zals Ltd, shared this sentiment. “While sales were not as robust at the show, there were a lot of serious buyers in attendance. We managed to meet new potential clients from China and Japan with whom we could eventually forge strong business relationships,” he noted.

Visitors were particularly drawn to Zals’ expansive selection of Paraiba tourmaline from Brazil while others expressed interest in alexandrites, Kashmir sapphires, emeralds, rubies and sapphires, added Ansari. The company specialises in rare, important and top-quality gems.

The company official also highlighted increased market interest in coloured gemstones, particularly in China, post-pandemic. “Prices have increased substantially though, and we foresee these to continue on an upward trajectory for high-end gems,” explained Ansari. “In fact, we are actually buying back some gem-quality stones we sold to clients before and continue to source for important goods as we expect demand to remain high.”

Colourful alternatives

With prices of coloured gemstones skyrocketing by 30 per cent to 50 per cent, buyers are on the lookout for more affordable but equally stunning alternatives, according to Tony Wong of opal dealer Aldoria.

“Our most popular product at the show was the opal doublet, which sells for US$40 to US$80 per carat. These prices have remained stable unlike other coloured gemstones,” shared Wong. “Opals are gaining steam, largely in China. Chinese buyers used to prefer black opals, but these are harder to come by. Five years ago, they would not even look at opal doublets. Now, everyone is asking for it.”

By comparison, Wong said some top-quality black opals could sell for about US$5,000 to US$10,000 a carat.

Lustrous pearls

Exhibitors also observed solid demand for pearls at the fair. Pierre Boite, general director at French pearl dealer Alain Boite, said white South Sea pearls in sizes of 15mm and up alongside pearl necklaces and multi-colour pearls were among the fastest-moving products at his booth. The company offers a wide variety of top-quality Japanese Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian and freshwater pearls.

“The show was okay for us. We were able to meet new clients, mostly from mainland China,” noted Pierre.

While prices have gone up by 20 per cent to 30 per cent, Pierre said gem-quality pearls remain attractive to serious buyers, especially from China. “There is a strong pearl culture in Asia. We believe China is now a very important market for pearls,” he added.

Candy Wong, assistant general manager of Grace Pearl (HK) Co Ltd, meanwhile, said her company showcased a wide variety of products at JGA. “We did well at the show. As prices of Akoya and other saltwater pearls have become too high, we offered alternatives such as high-quality freshwater pearls. These are competitively priced and come in a broad range of colours, which was appealing to buyers.”

Annie Tsoi, senior sales manager at Yee On Gems & Jewellery Fty Co Ltd’s pearl department, also witnessed the market’s robust appetite for pearls. She said, “The pearl business has kept its momentum since March this year. Traffic at JGA was satisfactory. We were able to entertain international clients from the Philippines, Turkey and China.”

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