Despite gloomy reports about the British economy, London’s premier jewellery event, IJL 2008, literally sparkled with the latest designs from more than 800 English and international jewellery exhibitors.
Visitors to the show enjoyed a dazzling display of exhibitors’ displays across three expansive levels – the Boulevard, the Avenue and the new mezzanine level devoted to the Design Gallery.
Apart from searching for that something special to capture their customers’ hearts and wallets, jewellery retailers at the Fair also had the opportunity to educate and/or entertain themselves at an array of thought-provoking seminars and events.
The 10 ‘Jewellery Trend’ seminars covered topics as diverse as ‘The challenges of niche marketing’ by fragrance retailer and distributor Jill Hill of Aspects Beauty Company to ‘Building a luxury brand online’ by Bec Clarke of Astley Clarke while the ‘Retail Business’ seminars covered an equally varied selection of subjects including ‘Marketing on a shoe string’ by Benjamin Smart and ‘Our businesses’ responsibility to our people and to the world’ by Beaverbrook’s Daniel Brown.
In addition, four jewellery designers – Dan Hall (Dower & Hall), Sarah Jordan, Sarah Ho (SHO Fine Jewellery) and Fei Liu – spoke about their design philosophies at a special Designers Forum while PromoSTYL, a trend research and fashion forecasting company, outlined the main fashion colours, shapes and materials for 2009 at a Trends Showcase.
There was even a ‘Great Debate’ chaired by Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham, the British trade and investment minister.
Michael Rae from the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices introduced the motion that “the global jewellery industry will deliver an ethically responsible supply chain in line with consumer demand” which was opposed by English jewellery journalist Gordon Hamme.
Michael Allchin, chief executive of The Birmingham Assay Office, which staged ‘The Great Debate’ in partnership with IJL, said the event had been very worthwhile.
“The motion, that the global jewellery industry will deliver an ethically responsible supply chain, was carried, which demonstrates encouraging optimism that the trade can overcome some of the obvious issues which it faces” said Allchin.
“We have also had some excellent feedback and appear to have achieved our objective which was to provoke thought, engage people in discussion and prompt even more positive action towards establishing an ethical supply chain.”
Overall visitor numbers to IJL were slightly down on last year but exhibition manager Syreeta Tranfield believes 2008 has nonetheless been an excellent Fair as the level of business transacted was of “premium quality and unexpectedly high”.
“The Show has been a real success and the overall feeling from exhibitors is that it has been extremely productive,” she said.
“IJL 2008 proved that this event is the key place to network, source new product and enhance the success of any jewellery related business – retailer or manufacturer.”
For example exhibitor Bob Rontaler from Goldmajor Group said the show was much better than he had expected.
“There were a lot of people here placing orders,” he said.
“I think that though they’d held back earlier in the year, they realised that Christmas was nearly here and it was time to buy.”
Similarly John Coupland, the managing director of the Saunders Shepherd Group, said the company had enjoyed an “excellent show”
“(We) have made a number of new contacts with stockists of real quality,” he said.
Raoul Sagal, managing director of Marco Bicego, was equally impressed with the Fair.
“We have had a very good show with considerable interest from good quality jewellery retailers and buyers – all of whom importantly were the actual decision makers,” he said.
Jeweller Shaun Leane also said the show had been “very good”.
“Even though the economic news isn’t good currently there’s still been a really positive feeling here, a really upbeat mood coming through from the retailers.”
IJL 2009 was held from September 6 to 9. For more information visit www.jewellerylondon.com