Platinum Guild International (PGI) took centre stage on day four of Jewellery and Gem WORLD Hong Kong on 9th October 2023, staging a landmark conference on future trends in jewellery and platinum’s position as an important innovator and premium value creator in a jeweller’s business portfolio. From a wealth of impassioned speeches delivered by key industry players, a prime takeaway was the precious metal’s unrivalled ability to meet growing consumer demand for sustainable, responsible jewellery.
The PGI Conference was a resounding success, attracting more than 150 jewellery professionals at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 21 September 2023. It was the first conference to be held by PGI at the influential Hong Kong jewellery show and a signal of the organisation’s continued mission to provide market support and intelligence to jewellery producers globally and specifically here in the burgeoning China region. PGI also hosted a booth at the Jewellery Fair this year.
Nine speakers stepped up to share their insights on the theme of ‘Trends Shaping the Future of Jewellery: The Role of Platinum’, including international experts invited from the US, the UK, Italy, and China. They addressed such pertinent topics as consumers’ evolving tastes and desires and how they perceive value; technological innovation and the value it creates; the essential drive for sustainability and responsibility; and the progressive trend of platinum as not only the metal of choice but also of goodwill that is helping pave a better future for humankind.
Striving for a Sustainable Future
Increased transparency in the jewellery supply chain as the world moves to more ethical and sustainable business models was central to speeches by Gaetano Cavalieri, President of the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO); Tiffany Stevens, CEO and General Counsel of the US-headquartered Jewellers Vigilance Committee (JVC); and Wesley Tucker, CEO of De Beers’ blockchain-based diamond-tracing platform Tracr. The majority of platinum used to make jewellery is produced according to robust sustainability standards, and speakers stressed that more can and should be done to meet the greener expectations of the new generation. PGI contributes here by hosting and coordinating the website responsibleplatinumjewellery.com.
This showcases the sustainability initiatives of the leading producers in South Africa, who are actively driving a wide range of activities that put the environment and local communities at the heart of what they do and provides additional links for jewellery consumers to explore this topic in further detail.
Benefits of platinum new technology breakthroughs
Tony Chen, Anglo American’s Head of PGM Market Development for Asia-Pacific; Chloe Cunningham, Program Manager – Precious Metals of next-generation alloy and process design technologies firm Alloyed; and platinum expert Josh Helmich, CEO of Helmich Luxury Group, were among the respected industry figures assembled who focussed on the benefits for the jewellery sector of platinum’s increasing use in new industrial and green technologies. Platinum group metals’ enabling role in clean energy, emissions control, sustainable chemistry, and life-saving medical breakthroughs has the knock-on effect of boosting innovation in platinum. It also adds further lustre to platinum’s reputation as a feel-good material contributing to the betterment of society.
Conference speakers described how international luxury brands and small-scale producers in China alike can leverage these advancements in customised platinum alloys, alongside pioneering platinum innovation in powder metallurgy and additive manufacturing, to solve production issues, maximise their business potential, and push novel platinum pieces onto the global jewellery market.
In his enlightening address, Yongwoon Sim, General Manager of China at International Gemmological Institute (IGI) China, emphasised the importance of diamonds and coloured gemstones – acknowledged by the industry as best set in strong, resilient platinum – in the future of jewellery in China and the necessity of product diversity for sustainable growth. The Conference also highlighted the advantages of the diamond and gem sector aligning with platinum to complete the narrative of responsibly sourced jewellery.
Platinum jewellery artistry and innovation on display
To facilitate growth in all levels of the market, PGI has long encouraged diamond setters, designers, manufacturers and retailers through new and ongoing collaborations and initiatives to make platinum their white metal of choice. Evidence of these efforts was displayed at the PGI Booth, which was prominently located in the Hong Kong Jewellery Fair exhibition hall, including a preview of pieces crafted by independent Chinese brands as part of the Pt® Edition Co-create Project. Conceived by PGI, with the assistance of Ontimeshow and MetaMedia Group, the annual initiative fosters talent and ingenuity in an area of the market that is fashion driven in non-traditional jewellery. Expressing this year’s theme of ‘Looking in, looking out’, these platinum collections will be launched at 2023 Shanghai Fashion Week, held from 8-16 October.
Serving as a platform to showcase platinum novelty and innovation, the booth caught the imagination of all comers. It exhibited the artistry of PGI’s luxury international partners, such as Scottish designer Maeve Gillies, whose new collection, Tusaire, trailblazes 3D-printed-articulated chains and hollow structures juxtaposing polished and raw printed surfaces. Headlined by a two-band ring linked by a central knot, London jeweller Stephen Webster’s No Regret Chapel bridal line is another PGI collaboration. The platinum collection is currently launched in Korea, with plans to roll out into other markets including China.
Platinum icons from German wedding ring specialist Niessing’s 150-year heritage were displayed, while Brimelow of Australia showed its state-of-the-art automation prowess in machine-made, hand-finished tennis bracelets. Bringing exciting technical achievements to the attention of the jewellery industry, PGI presented Alloyed’s intricate craftsmanship in superior platinum alloys, expert in the chemistry of precious metals, Pino Aliprandini’s breakthrough electroformed pieces – in a new technique allowing thickness of up to 250 microns, and industrial partner WuXi ITP that has the capability in producing pre-made casting alloys, platinum wires and extruded PtRu tubes, that enable superior quality in CNC platinum rings.
Successful exchange of ideas for ethical growth
With the trends driving the future of jewellery outlined by erudite industry experts and the presentation of cutting-edge platinum pieces by partner designers, the PGI Conference and Booth at Jewellery and Gem WORLD Hong Kong achieved its goal of providing valuable market insights and enrichment. The event also underscored platinum’s vital role as a champion of innovation and sustainability in the industry and a significant value creator.
“PGI was proud to present this illuminating exploration of trends that will enable the jewellery industry to win the consumers of the future,” said Pui P. Poon, Managing Director of PGI China. “I would like to thank our eminent speakers for sharing their expertise and our friends in the industry for their overwhelming response and support. By highlighting platinum’s innovative spirit and sustainable ethos, the Conference clearly demonstrated why platinum is the best white metal choice for jewellery.”
“Being consumer-centric and driving innovations and responsibility are the duties of industry leaders in building a future that is ethical, transparent and sustainable for long-term growth,” added Tai Wong, PGI’s Global Director of Innovation and Product Development. “We believe in this grander vision of the future. This is an important reminder and a beacon for us to develop long-term opportunities for our partners operating in all levels of the market.”