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Gem of a jewellery market

 Photo: From Hong Kong to the world: AVA Jewels collection.
 From Hong Kong to the world: AVA Jewels collection.
Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland were among the top five markets for consumer sales of jewellery, gold bars and coins for the tough 2012 year, with rising demand of between 6% and 13% in Greater China, according to the UK-based World Gold Council (WGC).

Hong Kong sales of jewellery were tightly tied to the Mainland for the full year, and largely based on brand and high quality gold products sold to Mainland visitors, who shopped for their products in the territory due to its quality assurances and price differentials, according to industry reports.

Hong Kong's five-year sales average for jewellery also rose above most other markets while the world's largest sales advances last year for jewellery and physical gold were in Egypt and Russia, rising 41% and 12% respectively, according to the WGC survey. The Egyptian figure was said to be an anomaly due to high tensions and fear of holding other assets.

Italy's renowned jewellery trade show organiser Fiera di Vicenza has been taking part this week at the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show 2013 in a bid to develop ties with Asian traders.

Attendees at the Vicenzaoro Winter event in Vicenza last January underlined China's demand for jewellery as a highly significant factor this year.

Photo: China's major sales for branded jewellery.
 Photo: Vicenzaoro Fair, internal view.
China's major sales for branded jewellery. Vicenzaoro Fair, internal view.

At a summit meeting in Vicenza, Jenny Jing, Editor-in-Chief of Harper's Bazaar on the Mainland said: "for 2012, jewellery bought in China reached Euros45 billion, Euros12 billions of which were in the higher segment, especially for 24 carat gold and diamonds."

Jing said Mainland consumers bought major brands, with Beijing and Shanghai as the largest centres of consumption. "There are good opportunities for coloured stones, with the percentage of demand growing by 30%, especially for tourmalines and rubellites, sapphires, rubies and emeralds."

China market strength

While India and China together generated 56% of total annual jewellery sales last year, India had the greater influence on year-on-year falls in jewellery demand, due to global uncertainties early in 2012, said WGC.

Photo: Aesthetic value as shown by Nardelli-Annelli Rosario. 
Aesthetic value as shown by Nardelli-Annelli Rosario. 
The implicit, strategic importance of Hong Kong in market globalisation with a "localised" approach was one of the messages at the summit, according to Italian jewellery and lifestyle photo journal, Trendvision.

According to Nadia Swarovski, Executive Board Member of Austrian-based Swarovski, globalisation and localisation are vital. Brands now find it necessary to diversify sales channels to penetrate the most promising markets.

One of the most promising markets is Russia and Artak Udumyan, Vice President of Estet, one of the leaders in that market, said Russian consumers either attached huge importance to the value of the gold or looked for aesthetic value in the jewellery.

Production value and material traceability count for a great deal in Russia, said Udumyan.

Top trends

 Photo: Garden of Eden presentation.
 Garden of Eden presentation.
At Vicenzaoro Winter, one trend was for so-called "natural" colours, inevitably meaning green.

Also, US firm Yvone Christa New York presented its Garden of Eden collection, with filigree and baroque pearls, taking inspiration from the "Mix'n'Craft" theme, which puts old and new together.

A new theme is the use of alternative materials, to counter the volatile prices of precious materials: leather, silver, plated bronze, 9K gold, rubber and ceramic were best-sellers at Vicenza.

But there were also many references to China styles, particularly with the present year dedicated to the snake.

Photo: Golden snake by Espinosa. Photo: Li: Brazil the best market.
Golden snake by Espinosa. Li: Brazil the best market.

Ronnie Li, Manager of AVA Jewels Limited of Hong Kong rated Latin America and especially Brazil as the best markets for this year, with slower returns in Europe.

AVA's new lines take inspiration from nature, with bulky pieces made from yellow or pink gold, diamonds and semi-precious cabochon-cut stones,with prices ranging from US$1,000 to US$15,000.

A-1 Jewelry Manufactory Ltd focuses its business on Russia and Eastern Europe. Chris Lo, Sales Manager for the Hong Kong firm, added: "in the US the market is not going well, because no money is circulating for jewellery purchases."

He said classic or fashion collections in gold, diamonds and semi-precious stones were the company's main lines, with wholesale prices ranging from US$1,000 to US$10,000.

Photo: A-1 Jewelry Manufactory collection. Photo: Peter Lam Lollipop Collection.
A-1 Jewelry Manufactory collection. Peter Lam Lollipop Collection.

"In 2013 our business is expected to be better than in the previous year," said Andrew Law, Business Development Manager of Hong Kong's Peter Lam Jewellery Ltd.

Lam's main market is the US, followed by Eastern Europe. "In South Africa our business focuses on very selected retailers and wholesalers," said Law.

The company's new Lollipop collection features white or yellow gold pieces, with diamonds and precious stones.

Emerging markets for growth

 Photo: Bentner: recovery in Europe.
 Bentner: recovery in Europe.
Arnd Bentner, President of German-based Silhouette Schmuck, said that 2013 is expected to be better than last year, with a recovery in European countries.

Among emerging markets, Asia is the most interesting area for growth, said Bentner.

He said Hong Kong is a jewellery hub, not only for the Mainland and countries like Indonesia, South Korea and Singapore, but also for Australia.

Bentner showed novelty pieces at Vicenzaoro, particularly ceramic matched with gold and diamonds, at average consumer prices of between Euros500 and Euros2,500.

Manuel Sánchez, from the Export Department of Bohemme, a brand owned by Blue Ocean Concept SL of Spain, said he expected sales to advance between 15% and 20% this year.

Photo: Bohemme piece. 
Bohemme piece. 
Sánchez explained that Russia was the company's only improving market last year.

The Bohemme offering was for a black, rhodium-plated silver collection enriched with zirconia and large-sized natural stones, on retail price between Euros350 and Euros500.

By contrast, Italy's Graziella Group looks to Nigeria and South Africa for emerging market growth despite being present in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland and the Middle East, said Massimo Citernesi, Senior Vice President for Marketing.

Italy's Karizia, specialising in silver jewellery and boosting a new international patent called It Pro Lux, claimed its product could prevent metal oxidation, and expected major sales in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, said Luigi Marostica, CEO.

Photo: Citernesi: into Africa. Photo: Karizia specialisation.
Citernesi: into Africa. Karizia specialisation.

 Photo: Coin bracelets.
 Coin bracelets.
Top-end Italian jeweller Roberto Coin closed 2012 positively said President Roberto Coin. He said he expects a jewellery market recovery as from June 2013, with top markets being the US, Russia and the Middle East.

The company is also present in Hong Kong at department store chain Lane Crawford and in Singapore. "Hong Kong, where the brands are cheaper for Chinese consumers is a good launching pad for [the Mainland]," said Coin.

His company presented jewellery with gold and diamonds, fretwork and chains featuring hammered links.

Hong Kong's Good View Jewellery Mfy Ltd is focusing  on Europe and UK for export this year, but is also developing its Mainland links. "The two markets are very different from each other," reported Henry Wong, Marketing Manager.

The company showed gold collections with diamonds and coloured precious stones, on wholesale prices from US$400.

Photo: Wong: Europe, UK, China. Photo: Mazloum: platinum is not supported any longer.
Wong: Europe, UK, China. Mazloum: platinum is not supported any longer.

The major problem of volatile precious metals prices was addressed by Claude Mazloum, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Collection Pan-Arab Luxury Magazine: "the prices of gold and platinum have now dropped and are very similar to each other, in that platinum is not supported any longer by the necessary promotional campaigns and consumers are losing their affection to this precious metal. The price of diamonds also consistently dropped in trades, whereas it remains constant for consumers."

from special correspondents Cristina Bellavista and
Clara Dodino, Vicenza

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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