The JCK Las Vegas Show, which has by now burgeoned into a bouquet of events covering the entire spectrum of the jewellery market, is the fair to get a barometer reading of the industry and feel its pulse, specially for the US marketplace, which despite all the turmoil remains the largest in terms of sheer size.
With the participation of over 2,500 exhibitors, the Show authorities reported a 20 per cent increase in buyer attendance across the various events, including Luxury by JCK, Swiss Watch by JCK and JCK Las Vegas.
Participants have been reported to have achieved a 5 per cent increase in business compared to the last show.
Committed to JCK-11 Too :
“This has excited suppliers and industry associations who have already committed their support and business for JCK 2011 and its new home at the Mandalay Bay complex,” announced the organizers of the show.
Apart from the regular 20,000 retailers who usually attend JCK, “over 600 VIP retailer stores were on the show floor” the organizers stated. “International participation increased by 23 per cent with the largest concentration from India, Russia, Canada, UK, Mexico, and South America.”
This year saw buying delegations from Russia, China, Dubai and India. As these emerging economies represent the future power centres of the jewellery market, this was good reason for cheer, as much as their commitment to attending next years event in stronger numbers.
The Luxury and Antique Shows, held prior to the JCK Las Vegas, did well and set the mood. The Luxury Show saw more companies participating, with an emphasis on design. Retailers responded enthusiastically as it offered unique products, and the chance to differentiate themselves from the competition.
“We have both domestic and international retail partners from around the world," said Charlie Rosario, Lazare Kaplan. "We find that JCK and LUXURY give us an opportunity to meet with so many of our existing customers, but more importantly, find new partners to fuel our growth."
Swiss Watch by JCK offered a line-up of fine watch brands including Bedat & Co., Bulgari, Carl Bucherer, Chopard, Harry Winston, Hermes, Raymond Weil, Tag Heuer and Versace. No wonder buying was brisk on the show floor.
Quality Buyers :
“The show has been good for us,” commented Milan Parikh of Mahendra Brothers, India. “The traffic was less but there were quality buyers. Retailers have a positive outlook and are looking forward for a better season this year.” Parikh said that generally a price range from US$ 500 to US$ 2500 was moving fast. “Design is a key in jewellery,” he emphasized “as every retailer is looking for something different to attract his buyer.”
India, Far-East Strong :
Abrahm Fluk of YDI LTD, Israel, a company which mainly deals in one pointers to 2ct. round diamonds with special assortment, felt that they did well at the show. “The US market looks much more confident but not on the same levels as below,” commented Fluk. “I think India and the Far East are strong markets and they have compensated somewhat for the loss of business in the US.” He felt, however, that the prices of rough diamonds were “getting crazy” and that people were paying too much which seemed impractical to him. “Polished prices have to go up in near future if markets remain good,” Fluk said. The company also works with the watch industry. “They are picking up, but slowly,” was his comment.
Commenting on the trends at the Show, one of the buyers, Helain Pesis, Continental Diamonds, St. Louis Park, MN, said "Mixed metals are very popular, as the price of gold is extremely high, but what is successful for us is purchasing merchandise that is affordable and interesting." She added that "Stacked rings and bracelets are very popular along with big cuffs . . . real statement pieces are key right now. I've been buying black metals for the past five years and the popularity has increased, JCK carries many different and interesting designers in this category and JCK is the place to see it all!"
Daily Dose of Seminars :
On the sidelines of the show are the various seminar events that take place daily. One of the interesting ones was presented by ace industry research analyst Ken Gassman entitled "Managing Your Inventory While Maximizing Your Bridal Opportunity".
Gassman asserted that the bridal industry remains a large business for jewellers. “Bridal jewellery can increase your revenues, but only if you have the goods to attract the customer,” he added.
Recession-proof Bridal Demand :
He pointed out that the recession has not affected the number of marriages in the United States. He predicted bridal demand would grow dramatically, and cited an estimate of 2.6 million marriages a year in the future. The current bridal jewelry market is $12 billion, he said, representing 20 per cent of all jewelry sales, predicting that it will grow to $15 billion by 2016. “Engagement rings are a $7.7 million business, and wedding bands account for $3.3 billion,” Gassman emphasized. “Currently, 76 per cent of brides get a diamond engagement ring, with an average ticket of $4,500 to $6,000.”
Pruning for Packing the Punch :
The JCK Las Vegas was reduced from a week long Show to a four day event, a fact may have helped pack the punch, and added to the buzziness and busyness of the event which by all reports saw participants doing much better business than in the recent years.
The only slight dampener to an otherwise positive event was the relatively slow AGTA Show, following the ban on Tanzanites exports from Africa, and the raised prices by 5-10 per cent.
Not only is the industry looking forward to the coming season with greater optimism, it is also waiting for the JCK Events’ move to Mandalay Bay in 2011.
The new dates are: LUXURY by JCK May 31-June 2; Swiss Watch by JCK June 2-6; JCK June 3-6, 2011.
IDCA Honours Industry Stalwarts :
For well over two decades now, the Indian Diamond & Colorstone Association has been holding an Annual Awards Night coinciding with the JCK Las Vegas Show at which leading lights of the gems and jewellery industry are felicitated..
The San Polo Ballroom of the Venetian Hotel with its regal splendour formed the fitting backdrop to the significant event hosted during the JCK Las Vegas Show. On June 5, 2010, the Indian Diamond & Colorstone Association, the New York based premier association of jewellers, diamantaires and colored gemstone dealers, hosted its 26th Annual Awards Night, as has been its custom over the years.
Each year the gem of gems of the industry are honoured and felicitated at this function, which has become a must attend event on the calendar of those attending the Las Vegas Show.
Notably, the event has kept pace with developments worldwide and this year’s honorees gave ample proof of “the enormous strides and achievements made by the Indian community globally,” said the organizers.
The IDCA’s prestigious “Retailer of the Year” Award, 2010, went to Mehul Choksi, Chairman & MD of the Gitanjali Group - “The world’s largest integrated conglomerate of diamonds, jewellery and lifestyle brands with a presence in five continents” The award was accepted by Chetan Choksi and Nehal Modi on behalf of Mehul Choksi. Speaking on the occasion, Modi said they were humbled by the honor bestowed upon them by IDCA.
Manhar Bhansali, Chairman, Goldiam International Limited was proclaimed the “Pioneer Awardee” of the year for being pioneer in the precious industry and taking his company from strength to strength. Thanking the governing body of IDCA for the honour bestowed upon him, Bhansali said he had always believed that success is backed by service and this was the reward for it.
Indian Jewellery Lauded :
The “Doyenne of the Year” award was bestowed upon Pamela Mortensen, Sr. V.P. and GMM, Fine Jewellery, J. C. Penney. On receiving the award she said, “I am honored to receive this award. Throughout my career, I have had the great pleasure of working with the Indian community to bring exceptional jewellery to customers across the United States. The Indian jewellery industry has evolved into one of the most dynamic and innovative groups in the jewellery industry (worldwide).”
In the firm belief that the bankers were the backbone and lifeline of any industry, the IDCA did not forget to include that segment of the industry in its honors list. Victor H. van der Kwast, CEO, International Diamond & Jewellery Group, ABN AMRO Bank N.V. - a pioneer and market leader in this industry for many years - was declared “Business Banker of the Year”. Kwast said the award was a reflection of true partnership between the industry and the bank.
Melodious End :
The event began and concluded with a Bollywood style bang --. Manasi Scott, a well known singer was specially flown in from Mumbai, to entertain the 500 plus crowd. Her mix of fusion songs concluding with the Pussycat Dolls’ version of the famous “Jai Ho” was a fitting end to the evening.
SRK Lite Launched at JCK Las Vegas
An innovative touch was added to Shree Ram Krishna Export’s participation at the JCK Las Vegas Show 2010, with the launch of its mobile website, SRK Lite on 5 June. The company believes that this will “help enhance customer access to SRK’s live inventory and drive greater engagement with existing users”. The beta version of mobile website was launched on 21 May, 2010. Customers can now access Shree Ramkrishna Export’s website on their mobiles by going to m.srkexport.com on their web browsers.
World First :
The company says it is the first Diamond Manufacturing Company in the world to introduce a WAP page for B2B diamond trading. SRK Lite is a “lighter and faster” version of the company’s original website, specially engineered for hand surfing..
“Mobile website ‘SRK Lite’ has helped us to further eliminate the need for the customer having to physically go to the manufacturers for buying diamonds,” said Shreyans Dholakia, Director of Information & Technology, SRK. “We are trying our best to provide more and more such tools which enable our valued customers to conduct businesses with utmost ease.”
Shree Ramkrishna Export plans to widely advertise SRK Lite both online as well as through print, to encourage customers to use it.