The jewellery market has changed significantly in the past five years, and International Jewellery London in early September provided a glittering snapshot of the new world of jewellery.
The Show looked better than ever with an aura of quality driven by Reed Exhibitions and by exhibitors keen to differentiate their product. Change has been driven by higher gold and silver bullion prices and long gone are the myriad of lightweight earrings, pendants and chains in 9ct gold. Less than 2.5m 9ct gold articles have been hallmarked this year to date, compared with a total of 13.3 million in 2007 and a peak of 27 million in 2001.
While 18ct gold continues to hold its value share of the market, 9ct gold has been replaced by a range of new options. Silver was the alternative from 2007 onwards but higher silver prices have pushed that into reverse and in its place has come stainless steel, tungsten, leather, chord and crystals. These new pretenders have no intrinsic value and the move towards intensive branding to create a desirable product was apparent at the Show.Â Itâs all about promotion, with expensive displays and packaging exceeding the manufacturing cost of the product in many cases.
The top end of the market has held up well and diamonds and platinum were well represented.
Designers continue to be creative with Platinum, encouraged by the Platinum Guild, and Palladium is also beginning to come through as an alternative precious metal. The Show also demonstrated that retail jewellers are behaving differently. The two big buying groups Houlden and The Company of Master Jewellers have become keen supporters of the Show. They encourage their members to visit and have stands to welcome them.
Â Their members, owners of well established independent jewellers, are now less inclined to source everything at European fairs due to poor exchange rates. At IJL they bought non precious jewellery ranges that they may only have considered suitable for a department store previously but fashion jewellery brands are the new must haveâs and retailers know they need to move with the times.Â As Christmas looms there is no doubt that the jewellery industry is in good shape and well prepared to fight for its share of the market during the next all important three months.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="448"]
Marion Wilson and Michael Allchin on the BAO stand at IJL[/caption]