INTERNATIONAL record visitor attendance and busy trading for the
IJL provides the industry with an unrivalled business platform and has gone from strength to strength since its launch in the Royal Albert Hall in 1956. Visitors were inspired by the very best in jewellery, finely crafted watches, precious and semi precious gems and the jewellery related products on show. Visually the show was very strong with new corporate colours and an easy to navigate layout.
The new look Design Pavilion showcased 95 of the very best hand selected designer collections, including 31 new exhibitors.
Another popular IJL initiative was the Bright Young Gems, a group of young British jewellery designers, nominated by an independent panel of discerning fashion and lifestyle editors, who were given the opportunity to showcase their inspiring collections at IJL 2006.
The 700 exhibitors (190 being first-timers) were from the UK and 25 other countries including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong – which had an exclusive pavilion , Israel, the US, Thailand, South Africa, the European sector comprising Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Denmark, Austria and India. A very big advantage was that all the exhibitors were kept in one big hall which made things easier for both exhibitors n visitors. Visitor traffic on the opening day was heavy in morning (there was a long entry queue for a couple of hours) but slowed to moderate by afternoon. Being a Sunday, most were retailers. Also lot of individual clients were also present. The Indian exhibitors like Sur Gems, Shah Gems, etc were kept busy by local retailers though they said there were no major buyers. They have quite high expectations from the show as the UK market seems to have just picked recently.
Buyer interest was mainly for fashion jewellery, which has traditionally done well in the UK market. The fashion jewellery section attracted a decent visitor traffic while the gold and diamond jewellery sections were comparatively low. There was a mixed response from the Indian exhibitors. The general opinion is that the show has been slow. Most of the regular Indian exhibitors were of the view that the business generated is literally half of what it used to be at previous IJL shows.
The cutting-edge seminars at the show venue on subjects including retailing, marketing, display & merchandising developments and designs trends, as well as a review of the state of the diamond industry by Martin Rapaport, evoked a very good response. In general, it covered all aspects of the jewellery trade. The other key speakers included Dan White, the DTC’s sales & marketing business director. The twenty seminars fell into two streams this year. The Retail Business Programme and The Jewellery Trend stream. There were other speakers like Paola De Luca - Creative Director/Trends Forecaster TJF Group provided a seminar on jewellery design trends from 2007 onwards, Michael Allchin,- Chief Executive and Assay Master of the Birmingham Assay Office spoke on the technical and commercial benefits of Palladium. IJL’s ever popular seminar programme doubled in size this year. Palladium, the new ‘white metal’ that offers new opportunities and potentially higher margins to the UK jewellery trade was a topic of one of the seminars. Palladium took the recent Las Vegas show by storm. Palladium allows the industry to exploit the continuing popularity of the white metal but because it is less expensive the margins can be better. Next year’s show has been scheduled to run between the 2nd and 5th of September – coinciding exactly with India’s IIJS 2007 show dates – and only a couple of Indian exhibitors have shown a willingness to join the India pavilion.