COMMENTARY: Strong orders seen at IJL; trade initiatives, and insightful seminars
By David Brough
LONDON, September 4, 2019 – Order flow appeared buoyant at International Jewellery London (IJL) with a wide cross-section of exhibitors reporting strong results at the September 1-3 event.
IJL, the UK’s number one jewellery, gems and watches trade show, also hosted key new initiatives, such as a meeting between UK and Indian delegates to explore trading opportunities between their two countries.
On the first day of the event Simon Forrester, CEO of the UK’s National Association of Jewellers (NAJ), met with Rohit Vadhwana, First Secretary (Economic), Indian High Commission, at IJL to open a direct dialogue looking at how to expand bilateral trade.
UK manufacturers said they welcomed initiatives to open up export opportunities to the vast Indian market, especially in light of Brexit.
India has a rapidly growing middle class, representing a big market opportunity for UK jewellery exporters, notably in platinum due to its sizeable price discount compared to gold.
Despite high Indian import tariffs, branded UK platinum jewellery exports have great potential to flourish in the upper echelons of the Indian market, where the white metal has made inroads over the past decade, including in men’s jewellery.
This year’s IJL presented a full and vibrant seminar programme, including “In Conversation” events featuring senior executives from De Beers, focusing on the global diamonds market, and Sotheby’s, analysing high-value jewellery auctions.
Other seminars included insightful panel discussions about buying trends, and how to help make design graduates become more commercially aware.
The Indian diplomat Rohit Vadhwana attended a seminar about the British Asian jewellery consumer, a segment of the UK market that punches above its weight due to the high disposable incomes of many British Asian professional and business people and their tastes for 22-carat gold jewellery.
In terms of sales, exhibitors such as Domino Jewellery and Hockley Mint, two leading Birmingham-based jewellery manufacturers, as well as designers such as Fei Liu, and Isabella Liu, spoke of a brisk order flow.
Jewellers spoke of trends in the UK market for lighter weight gold jewellery pieces, in large part due to soaring gold prices and the softer pound.
Jewellery analyst Paola De Luca, in a seminar about design trends for 2020, discussed a “celebration of imperfection”, with increasing tastes for rough cut and organic gemstones.
Designer Lukas Grenewig, one of the vanguard of talented young designers based in the UK, presented a necklace featuring salt and pepper diamonds, underscoring an increasing acceptance of inclusions by jewellery buyers.