The UK’s largest dedicated international jewellery show, The Jewellery Show at Spring Fair International, smashed previous attendance figures by drawing over 20,000 buyers through the doors at this year’s event*, its biggest-ever audience.
Along with hoards of specialist independent retailers, The Jewellery Show 2010 saw the return after a 20 year absence of major jewellery buying group the Houlden Group.
The Jewellery Show was comprehensively re-edited for its 2010 re-launch, following extensive consultation with customers on both the retail and supply side. This resulted in the best-ever exhibition trading experience for companies that included Clogau Gold, Gecko and HS Marsh.
The MD of Gecko, Barry Bennett, enthused on day one of the show (Sunday February 7): “We’ve written the most orders we’ve ever taken at any trade show.”
The managing director of Hockley Mint, Gary Wroe, also enjoyed a phenomenal exhibition, saying: “I think you’ve made a massive difference to The Jewellery Show this year, it feels far more special and upmarket –a lot more exclusive – and the entrances look great.
“We’ve been absolutely manic, we’re very pleased with it all. It’s Tuesday now and still packed, which is a mark of that success, it’s full of genuine buyers.”
Desmond Marsh, watchmaker and owner of tools, equipment and materials for jewellers supplier, H S Walsh & Sons, commented: “With a history of trading going back to 1947 and our first Spring Fairs in Blackpool in the sixties – prior to the opening of the NEC – we were delighted with the enquiries and the orders taken [at this year’s show]. Indeed, we have had to bring in staff to our head office in Beckenham from our London and Birmingham branches to deal with the overflow of business.
“With sales already running 11 per cent ahead of last year, this additional boost is confirmation, if any was needed, that our commitment to (to The Jewellery Show) is essential to our company’s wellbeing”.
Halls 17 & 18 were dedicated to Jewellery, with Fashion Accessories located within their own distinct area in Hall 19. This allowed retailers to source more effectively and encouraged crossover buying from other halls. Over 40,000 new products were launched across this sector
One of the most exciting and hotly anticipated new features of the 2010 show was the Pandora Catwalk Café. Produced by Rah Productions, this jewellery catwalk and central café area provided a natural focal point and meeting place that also hosted morning and afternoon seminar sessions for visitors and exhibitors.
For the first time, Emap’s market-leading global trends forecasting website WGSN provided future trends for the catwalk shows, where models displayed one-off pieces and new season’s designs from The Jewellery Show’s exhibitors.
WGSN pinpointed five key themes for 2010 – Punk, All that Sparkles, Exotic, Futuristic and Warrior Princess – selecting cutting-edge designs from jewellers including Peter Lang, Vizati, Mark Milton, Pascale Forcetti, Barbara Easton, Kokkino, Kleshna, So Jewellery, Lunasky, Dower & Hall and Babette Wasserman.
The catwalk shows proved a huge attraction and it was ‘standing room only’, with buyers arriving early to secure their seats.
Georgie Cahill, joint manager of George Banks Jewellers in Preston commented: “I think the Pandora Catwalk brings pizzazz to The Jewellery Show and will encourage people to visit the stands of those companies who are showing their jewellery on the models. It looks so different to what it does in a display cabinet and gives you a better idea of how wearable the jewellery is. I will now visit more stands as a result of seeing the catwalk show. It’s a great idea.”
Three catwalk shows a day ran alongside a trend seminars’ programme featuring industry experts, who gave invaluable future trend tips and practical advice on all elements of running a successful jewellery and fashion accessories business.
There was also a Happy Hour each day at the Jewellery Café – within the Pandora Jewellery Catwalk and seminar area – which was the venue for the presentation of the first Palladium Jewellery Awards, held by The Jewellery Show in conjunction with the British Jewellers’ Association (BJA).
The first prize for Statement Design went to Atelier Gilmar, from Monmouth, with London’s Angelett Gallery claiming the second prize. The Commercial Range winner was Global Edge, from Leeds, with the second prize going to Charles Green & Son from Birmingham.
Kit Heath launched its Jewellery Box Spring Clean at Spring Fair, which saw people donating their unwanted silver jewellery to Save the Children. This is being sold to scrap and the money raised donated to the charity. The company also created a bespoke piece from recycled material, which will be worn on the catwalk at the show.
Over 30 designer-makers had their own area in the revitalised Design Quarter in Hall 18. These exhibitors were surrounded by a ‘village’ of design-led jewellers from both the UK and overseas, who exhibited inspirational collections across precious metals, gemstones, silver and mixed materials.
Jewellery Show exhibitors included B&N Rings, Jewellery, HW Tankel, Clogau Gold, P.H. Wedding Rings, Domino, Mark Milton, Design Gap/Designer Mix, Zelda Wong Jewellery, Kestrel, Linda Macdonald Jewellery, Lucas Jack, Dower & Hall, Diligaf Watches, Martick Jewellery, Daisy UK, So Jewellery, Sea Gems, Balagan, Jersey Pearl, Silver Willow, Storywheels, Spinning Jewellery, Gina Stewart Cox, Jewellery by Katrina and Pilgrim.
Linda Macdonald, owner of Linda Macdonald Jewellery, said: “This has been a very good show – better than last year, which was also good until the snow came. Fifty per cent of our orders have been from new customers and we have taken a lot of leads. We have been very busy. People are not holding back. Most are going for new designs.”
The layout of The Jewellery Show was further modified to create a ‘buzzy’ area for smaller stands. Aisles that point to entrances were widened to aid navigation and, across the centre of the show, a wide, Parisian boulevard-style aisle featured open, spacious stands. The result was improved navigability that allowed buyers to find what they needed with ease, leaving them free to spend more time doing business.
The Jewellery Show also saw the presentation of a collective of exhibitors from Italy, with special emphasis on the workmanship of goldsmiths and production in the Campania region’s ‘jewellery hub’.
The Councillorship for Production Activities and Tourism used the show to continue to develop the national and international role of ‘Made in Italy’ jewellery.
Security was heightened across The Jewellery Show entrances and all show crossover points, where there was a dedicated police presence, both plain clothes and uniform.
A specific VIP buyer programme for The Jewellery Show 2010 included a VIP area sponsored by The Company of Master Jewellers and retail services provider, Bransom, where buyers could relax, enjoy refreshments, access the internet or just drop off their bags.
Another sponsorship partner of The Jewellery Show was Chamilia, which sponsored the show bags and entrances to Halls 17 and 18.