The Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) Autumn Trade Event, one of the most anticipated events for the UK jewellery industry, abruptly ended on September 10th, due to a security breach that left exhibitors, attendees, and organisers confused and concerned.
The event, held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole was in full swing when the breach occurred. According to reports, at least three attempts were made by unidentified individuals to breach the event’s security. One incident involved an attempt to steal badges from the show’s registration desk.
The CMJ Autumn Trade Event, known for showcasing the latest collections and products from 80 exhibitors, had an estimated £10 million worth of jewellery on display. With the potential risks to stock and the safety of CMJ staff and attendees, the event’s organisers, CMJ managing director Emmet Cummins and chairman Michael Aldridge made the difficult decision to cancel the event immediately after consulting with the police and event security.
Michael Aldridge says, “Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision to cancel today’s event following a serious security breach. This includes tonight’s evening function and tomorrow’s Trade Event. This decision has been made in the interest of the safety and security of all attendees, exhibitors, and staff, including hotel staff. We recognise this is going to cause inconvenience to suppliers and retailers and many of you will have made previous travel and hotel arrangements, but your safety and wellbeing [are] paramount to us and the threat is too severe to ignore. Having taken advice from [the] police, this is the safest course of action.”
John Rose, the chief executive officer of West End Collection was in attendance showcasing the brand, Georgini. “At lunchtime, an announcement was made that there had been a security breach, so the doors were sealed with no one allowed to enter nor leave for about one hour. Later in the day, at 4.45 pm all exhibitors and retailers were asked to assemble in the Ballroom where it was announced that the Event had to be cancelled due to the security threat, a sound decision when considering the risk to all involved,” he tells Jewellery World Magazine.
“This is the first time that a security concern such as this has happened at a CMJ event. There was both hotel and CMJ security in attendance from the beginning, so there was no question of safety. I feel that this heightened security ensured that the risk was out to a stop before anything serious could have happened and I commend the CMJ for their diligence,” he adds.
John also assured that even though Georgini did not have a lot of time exhibiting due to the closure, the brand was able to spend great quality time with CMJ members and secured a great deal of business and networks.
As the investigation into the security breach continues, the CMJ and its members are left to assess the impact on their businesses and the future of trade events in the jewellery industry.