PANYU, China, May 6, 2009 – The ICA Congress opened its doors to nearly 1,000 attendees, including 160 foreign delegates, the largest in ICA’s history, according to Barbara Wheat, executive director of the International Colored Gemstone Accociation (ICA).
Opening the six-day event at the Chime Long Resort Hotel in Panyu, a number of high-level Chinese officials detailed the rapidly expanding Chinese market in terms of exports, imports, and domestic jewellery consumption (nearly $30 billion).
Speakers also explained how foreign firms can gain access to the increasingly important Chinese domestic market, which is the world’s largest consumer of platinum, second largest consumer of diamonds, and third largest consumer of gold.
Coloured gemstone jewellery currently represents approximately five percent of total domestic jewellery sales but continues to grow as Chinese women increasingly see jewellery as a fashion statement rather than an investment vehicle.
The largest selling coloured gemstones in China are jade, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds although other types of gems are increasing in popularity as consumers become more educated about these stones.
The dominant focus of the conference was the presentation of a project for the standardization of coloured gemstones in China, to improve quality, industrial competitiveness, and consumer awareness.
In this regard, ICA has signed a memorandum of agreement with China’s National Gemstone Testing Center (NGTC) to work together for the implementation of nomenclature and quality standards.
Organizers and premier sponsors include: Gem & Jewelry Association of China (GAC); National Gemstone Testing Center (NGTC) in Beijing ; China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Panyu Branch (CCPIT); Worldmart Jewelry & Gems Emporium (HK) Ltd.; Jewellery News Asia; UBM; Guangzhou Mickey Weinstock & Co. Diamonds Manufacturing Ltd, Panyu , China ; China Gold News; and Guangzhou Panyu Jewelry Manufacturers Association.
The ICA Congress continues through May 10, in Panyu , China’s largest jewellery manufacturing area.