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Growing US, China demand for jewellery
- report from Vicenzaoro Fall 2012, Vicenza

  Photo: Global demand rising.
  Global demand rising.
Global demand for gold jewellery in the first quarter of 2012 was up 9% compared to the final quarter of 2011 and 14% up compared to the same quarter last year, according to a study at Verona University and presented during Vicenzaoro Fall 2012.

The fair brought together 1,320 exhibitors and attracted more than 20,000 visitors.

China and India are the top countries for gold jewellery demand, with more than 59% of the total, said the study. China has just over 30% of global demand, followed by India, with 29%.

India's drop from top was said to be due to new taxes on jewellery, a weak rupee and growing customs duties.

According to the World Gold Council, gold jewellery volume demand in Hong Kong in the second quarter hit 7.3 tonnes, up 8% over year-earlier levels.

For Italy's jewellery trade, China ranks fifth as an export market. In particular, jewellery made in the Vicenza district had the best export record in China.

Photo: Stefan Hafner bracelet.  
Stefan Hafner ring.  
Until a few years ago, Italian products had unrivalled leadership worldwide. Now Italian firms are suffering a fall-off in turnover. That's due to a drastic drop in domestic and European consumption as well as heavy falls in the US, where Italian firms have lost almost 70% of market share over the past 10 years, said the Italian Jewellery Association.

Also, there's fierce competition from Asian countries. "Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia are growing and ranking now among the 15 top jewellery exporters," said Licia Mattioli, President of the Association.

Leading Italian Jewels has brands Stefan Hafner, Nouvelle Bague, Valente Milano, Porrati, Io Sì and Giantti and distributes worldwide, including to China, Japan and Malaysia. Said Stefano Solaro, CEO: "in Asia, classic jewellery is the most requested; however, there is also interest in jewellery made of ebony, with gold and enamels. In China, we are present in a number of shops and big chains. Our future expansion will be in the ASEAN markets and in Brazil, even though the export to the latter is penalised by very high import duties."

  Photo: Solaro: classics in demand.
  Solaro: classics in demand.
Leading Italian Jewels' retail prices vary depending on the brand: Stefan Hafner starting from Euros6,000, while Nouvelle Bague prices rise from Euros1,200 to Euros20,000.

Giantti (whose basic product is made in India) quoted prices ranging from Euros500 to Euros3,000.

Strategic gateway

This year, Italian brand Rubinia Gioielli will start exporting to Singapore and Japan, and considers Hong Kong as a strategic gateway to the Chinese mainland.

The new Rubinia collections feature hand-made jewellery combining precious stones and other materials, such as bone and wood, with a fashion-oriented design. Very trendy is its cameo jewellery. Retail prices range from Euros300 to Euros400.

Kelly Amorim, CEO, and Rosana Otani-Warner, Marketing Manager of Carla Amorim, whose collections are already sold at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, intend to expand distribution in China. So, they are to participate at the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show next March.

Photo: Rubinia Gioielli pendants.   Photo: Amorim (left) with Otani-Warner.
Rubinia Gioielli pendants.   Amorim (left) with Otani-Warner.

They also pointed out that the US is recovering, with consumers preferring smaller jewellery than previously. The Philippines is an emerging market for the company.

Carla Amorim's new collection features rings in black and pink gold.

Photo: Carla Amorim pieces.   Photo: Espinosa de los Monteros: gold plated pieces.
Carla Amorim pieces.   Espinosa de los Monteros: gold plated pieces.

Daniel Espinosa Jewelry is distributed in Hong Kong at Harvey Nichols. "Customers often come from the Mainland," said Daniel Espinosa de los Monteros, Director and Head Designer. "In China, it's not just famous brands which are appreciated, but also the niche ones, provided they feature good design. Our brand produces 18 Kt or 22 Kt gold-plated silver or bronze jewellery."

According to the business study from Verona University Russia is now the third largest global market, with a good performance expected in 2013, particularly for gem sets and mid-priced jewellery.

"Eastern Europe and Russia are important markets for us," said Jennifer Chan, Marketing Manager for Hong Kong's E&V Jewellery.

Photo: Jennifer (left) and Vivien Chan.   Photo: Dazzle Wave Collection.
Jennifer (left) and Vivien Chan.   Dazzle Wave Collection.

In Vicenza, Chan presented a new Dazzle Wave Collection, which features jewellery in yellow, white and pink gold, with semi-precious stones (such as coloured quartz and agate) as well as diamonds. Retail prices range from US$6,200 for rings to US$9,840 for chains.

Photo: Lo sees US recovery.  
Lo sees US recovery.  
Concerning Western Europe, "uncertain business is expected for 2013, because of the economic crisis," said Naïrée Leung, Sales Manager in Europe for Hong Kong's Aaron Shum Jewelry.

Better US market conditions

There's some good news, though, with the US recovery. "At the moment the US jewellery market has more demand than the European one," said Ken Lo Chung Fai, Managing Director of Hong Kong's Eternity Manufacturing Ltd.

Eternity too sees Russia as an important emerging market.

The company's new collection features small gold and diamond items to compete in the marketplace, given the high prices for gold and precious stones.

"The US is the second most important market for our company," said P Rupchand, Managing Director of Hong Kong's Kinetic Artwork (HK) Ltd. Its bespoke service to retailers offers hand-made jewellery of high quality. Prices range from US$3,000 to US$20,000.

Photo: De la Paz: selected markets.   Photo: Arzy pieces.
De la Paz: selected markets.   Arzy pieces.

"Not only in the US, but also in South America, Asia and in the Caribbean we do good business," said Riza de la Paz, Manager of US-based Arzy. The company presented its Life is Color collection, with precious metals in 15 different colours.

  Photo: Giovanni Raspini skull, medals and feathers item.
  Giovanni Raspini skull, medals and feathers item.
Buyer Masaki Murata, President of Murata Co Ltd of Tokyo, said the company has 27 shops in Japan, but South Korea is a particularly interesting market for jewellery.

"South Korea and Indonesia are strategic, but at the moment China is the most exciting market," said one European buyer who declined to be named. "The jewellery made in Hong Kong has improved in terms of quality and design."

So, to that buyer, it was no surprise that last month Hong Kong designer Wallace Chan was invited to exhibit at the world-renowned Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris together with other international brands like Bulgari, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Winter trends

Photo: nake studded with emeralds, from Utopia.  
Snake studded with emeralds, from Utopia.  
The coming months will see historical and ethnic roots featured in rings, with brooches featuring cameos, plenty of baroque pendants with religious motifs and tribal elements, if observations of the fair were anything to go by. There'll also be plenty of hammered silver and gold pieces.

A presentation called Without Borders was a tribute to old China. The collection featured slithering snakes and fire-breathing dragons. Emeralds, jade and diamonds were the dominant gems.

Natural pearls - despite prices increasing dramatically due to product scarcity - were still big sellers.

  Photo: Sachets from Pubblieffe.
  Sachets from Pubblieffe.
Golden Tahitian as well as multi-coloured pearls seemed to be picking up. Fresh water pearls from China provided a fun trend and such pearls were used for cheap and bijoux pieces.

One new design shop showed cases and jewellery packaging. Large or small "sachets" in paper or tissues with fun or elegant decorations were major sellers at Vicenzaoro.

The fair ran from 8 to 12 September.

from special correspondents Cristina Bellavista and
Clara Dodino, Vicenza

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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