Reporting from jewellery industry HQ

Well, yesterday was my first ever JAA international jewellery fair. This is open only to members of the jewellery trade: designers, retailers, suppliers, etc. Turning up to Darling Harbour’s Exhibition Centre, I felt like I’d somehow ‘arrived’ – I’m in the industry!

The jewellery fair is really a forum for showcasing: retailers want to demonstrate their wares, to show smaller jewellers who might stock them; casting and findings services want to sign up more jewellery clients to use their services. There are packaging suppliers, casing suppliers – every possible connection with the jewellery industry.

My jewellery backer had organised entry for me, but there had been some communication breakdown along the way: the girl at the registration desk had to call in for backup from “Organiser #5”. He duly came along and to be fair, was just doing his job – I wasn’t on the list, it was the riskiest time of the show, with just a couple of hours left until exhibitors started to pack up their valuables. I explained that I was happy to surrender my handbag and – wait for it, my PHONE – and be chaperoned around if it made him feel better?

And at this point, I have to point out to my dear readers how I am SO not a threat to security. Apart from looking the antithesis of whatever a security risk might look like, any agility/nimbleness/likelihood of stealing some lovely baubles and doing a runner is totally hampered by a) my inability to run b) my dodgy back and c) my dodgier knees. Not to mention aforementioned handbag which weighs at least 4kg on a good day.

Anyhoo, my jewellery investor came along and started what can only be described as a masterclass in negotiation. Organiser #5’s boss was called on, the ridiculousness of the situation was highlighted – yes, I was a security risk BUT for $75 you can get in! – and general male chest beating was had.

Some time later, I was in and walking around the fair. It was a great opportunity to see who else was exhibiting – Thomas Sabo, Peter W Beck, Mark McAskill, Najo among others. Also showing was UberKate, whose name has popped up many times among StyleRocks market research participants, and even readers commenting on this post.

I liked the ‘back to basics’ display shown below in this photo, it makes me think of how jewellery as a precious commodity started, which I covered in this post here:

There were some beautiful pearls on display, as seen in this photo here:

But the display I thought was best was Peter W Beck, who had not only a little bar set up for schmoozing clients:

But also little booths so the business of discussing important jewellery purchases could be done in comfort, accompanied by champagne and chocolates.

Other than drooling over beautiful jewellery, I sorted out some logistics on the StyleRocks front, to do with packaging and distribution, so that was worth the price of admission alone!

In terms of attendance, apparently numbers were down this year – a reflection of the economic environment at the moment. I should point out though, that this is not like the Home Show, or anything like that where you may see 1000s of people pass through the exhibition…the numbers the international jewellery show might see are more in the hundreds. Quality, rather than quantity, in this case.

Will StyleRocks be showing at next year’s jewellery fair? What are your thoughts?

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