There are 3 main gem and jewelry shows in Hong Kong every year. The largest is generally considered the September show, which draws crowds from around the world looking both to source from the Asian market, and to sell their goods in perhaps the worlds most vibrant emerging market.
Expectations this September were however extremely low. For the past several years, the Asian market for gems has been booming, bolstered by a robust Chinese economy, whose citizens seemed to have an insatiable appetite for every sort of gem. From basic tourmalines, to the rarest of diamonds, the world looked to China as their main consumer. In turn, prices went up, as demand increased. These price increases had a detrimental effect on the gemstone and jewelry business in the West. With an already weak market caused by the 2008 financial crisis, price increases worldwide priced many consumers in the west out of the market.
However, since the beginning of 2015, the Chinese gemstone market has been slowing. The biggest effects were felt through the diamond market where prices have been dropping precipitously. This culminated in terrible sales at the Hong Kong March and June gem and jewelry exhibitions. And so last week's exhibition had extremely low expectations. But guess what? IT WAS A GOOD SHOW!
With low expectations, many dealer just didn't show up. But those that did were pleasantly surprised. It was a busy show, with long registration lines, lots of customers mulling around. Booths were busy. The main issue were prices. Since many dealers have been pushing up prices they have been getting stuck with lots of goods. There was a noticeable spread between the asking price and the selling prices of most goods - meaning, dealers had to move stock and could not just stand by and keep up their inflated prices. This bodes well for the Western markets, as prices come more in line with what consumers expect.
While prices have moved up quite a bit, there seems to no shortage of goods. The show was awash in Emerald, with huge stocks of stones in every conceivable size. Much of the goods was of Zambian origin, but there were many Colombian pieces as well.
Something very useful which, I saw for the first time, were precision cut Emeralds with excellent color and luster. Typically, I use Tsavorite (green garnets), when I need a rich green accent stone. But these amazing little guys come in sizes from .6mm up to 1.5m with great saturation and shine.
And in my hand it's really easy to see how small these stones really are.
In addition to all types of emeralds, there were, of course, many many sapphires. Some of the most beautiful that I had seen in terms of sheer color were from this parcel. While far from perfect stones, and all needing a re-cut and re-polish, they had great color for their 8ct average size. (click to play Video)
I also had a long look at diamonds that were available. I'm a lover of unique colored diamonds. Typically, strong individual colors are the most popular, however mixed tones and various color blends can create amazingly beautiful, and unique diamond jewelry pieces. This piece below I fell in love with. A fancy brownish pink, with a slight peach color. Simply amazing!!
In addition to the random things I thought were generally beautiful and interesting, I did have a few things I was shopping for to make some custom pieces for clients. I've been working on a diamond link necklace with rose cut marquise shapes and some rubies to fill. I found a great manufacturer who specializes in putting together these types of things.
Overall it was a much better show than expected for just about everyone. I personally accomplished quite a bit, as well as catching up with some old friends, and a little free time to run around the city.