HONG KONG: The Jewellery & Gem ASIA Hong Kong (JGA) successfully concluded its first big event since 2019 on 25 June, setting the stage for renewal and transformation as the industry undergoes a massive transition.
In a format similar to its pre-pandemic editions, JGA, previously known as the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, brought together 1,688 exhibitors from 33 countries and regions, representing every facet of the jewellery supply chain. Against the backdrop of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from 22 to 25 June, the impressive roster of suppliers showcased the latest products, trends and innovations in the business, reaffirming JGA’s reputation as Asia’s biggest and leading mid-year B2B platform for the jewellery industry.
“JGA had an impactful edition and now that the dust has settled, we have the chance to reflect on what a momentous, eye-opening event this was for our community. The show floor provided insight into the complex reality of today’s market, with softer demand for certain types of polished goods, tight pearl supply and the lingering standoff between buyers and sellers on gemstone prices. We also observed less-than-strong demand from Mainland China, which we expect to be temporary, and slower pick-up on long-haul travel. These new market realities have prompted everyone to readjust their expectations accordingly,” said David Bondi, Senior Vice President of Informa Markets in Asia.
“As we look back on the show, we can appreciate the positive influence it has on the industry and the realisation that we all have to innovate, adapt and evolve in the face of new challenges, and to embrace change. With this fresh perspective, we, as an industry, can move forward with renewed energy.”
To say it was refreshing being back on JGA’s Hong Kong show floor after a three-year break is an understatement, Bondi continued.
“The jewellery industry is amidst one of its most exciting transformations, and while it won’t be an easy road ahead, JGA’s return was met with optimism and hope, and will undoubtedly build momentum for the biggest jewellery show in the world, Jewellery & Gem WORLD Hong Kong (JGW), which is celebrating its 40th edition this September. We are ready to take on the challenges and opportunities that await us with confidence and determination,” he said.
JGA’s show floor offered buyers an array of attractions and endless possibilities to explore, with over 30 pavilions and signature sections. The CORE Pavilion, a popular mainstay, celebrated Hong Kong’s strengths in jewellery craftsmanship, manufacturing and design. Other highlights included the Fine Design and Fine Gem Pavilions (FDP/FGP), as well as the Fine Jewellery, Fei Cui Gallery, and Antique & Vintage Jewellery sections, and the Diamond, Coloured Gemstone and Pearl zones. Trade association-led and themed sections provided attendees with access to an extensive range of offerings.
In addition to the exhibits, attendees had the opportunity to engage in three panel discussions, featuring industry leaders discussing topics such as the future of the jewellery industry and lab-grown diamonds. The panellists were Lawrence Ma, founding President and Chairman of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong; Noy Elram, Managing Director of Sarine Asia Pacific; Ioannis Alexandris, Founder and CEO of GEMOLITHOS; Victor Yiu, Director of ZURI Jewellery; Devansh Shah, Partner at Venus Jewel; Smit Virani, Managing Director of Ethereal Green Diamond (HK) Limited, and Zulu Ghevriya, CEO and Co-Founder of Smiling Rocks.
Exhibitor and buyer participation:
Compared to the 2019 fair, the 2023 edition was slightly smaller in scale, with exhibitor figures accounting for 87% of the 2019 show. Additionally, visitor attendance was down by 16% compared with the pre-pandemic edition. The fair’s attendees were predominantly from Asia, with 96% of the visitors coming from the region, which can be attributed to various factors. Mainland China and Hong Kong were the top represented markets, followed by the Philippines, India, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, the USA, Malaysia and Australia, in descending order of buyer representation.
The decrease in attendance by both exhibitors and buyers was not entirely unexpected since the industry is currently experiencing softer market demand and significant pricing and supply adjustments. In addition, much of the world is still adapting to a new reality where travel is not the same as before, which further impacted attendance.
“The 2023 edition of the show was truly one-of-a-kind, with a set of circumstances that was vastly different from those of the 2019 event. As the world continues to navigate the effects of COVID, it’s important to recognise that this year’s June exhibition cannot be directly compared to its pre-pandemic predecessor,” said Celine Lau, Director of Jewellery Fairs at Informa Markets Jewellery.
Nonetheless, it is important to keep an eye on the learnings that emerged from the June gathering, Lau continued.
“From our one-off show in Singapore last September to the March fair in Hong Kong this year, we noticed consistently high material prices. While traffic at the events was good, we noticed that there were fewer business deals and orders written than expected. We believe that both the supply and demand sides in the industry are currently seeking a ‘new normal’ price, and this was something that we witnessed at JGA, where both parties were testing and determining acceptable price ranges going forward,” she said.
Set in this context, all eyes are now on JGW, previously known as the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, which is returning to its traditional format for the first time since 2019 with 3,000+ exhibitors. JGW will be held in two venues: the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) where jewellery materials, such as loose diamonds, coloured gemstones and pearls, will be exhibited from 18 to 22 September, and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), where finished jewellery, packaging solutions, tools and equipment, and jewellery industry-related technologies will be unveiled from 20 to 24 September.
“We have much to look forward to and celebrate in the coming days. The upcoming 40th anniversary of JGW and our flagship jewellery publication, JNA, this September is a testament to the enduring strength and vitality of our industry. It is also an opportunity to recognise and honour those who have made exceptional contributions to our field,” Lau said.
To commemorate JGW and JNA’s 40 extraordinary years, Informa launched the “Extraordinary 40” Awards programme, which is held under the auspices of the Jewellery World Awards. This initiative aims to pay tribute to 40 individuals who have gone above and beyond to shape and transform the jewellery industry. Thus far, Informa has announced 24 of the Awardees in two sets, which include visionary pioneers, creatives, gemmological experts and industry leaders. The third and final list of industry champions will be revealed in the coming weeks. All Awardees will receive personalised announcements across Informa Markets Jewellery’s channels. They will also be invited to participate in a prestigious seminar series during JGW’s show days and featured in a commemorative book that will debut at the fair.