Jewellery Arabia, the show that connoisseurs, collectors and buyers of high-quality jewellery await every year, will be back in Bahrain for its 28th edition in November.
A dazzling display of classic and contemporary designs, a huge range of finished jewellery, timepieces, gems, clocks, fine writing instruments, luxury accessories and more from around the globe will go on display and sale at the show at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Manama from November 19 to 23.
Open to the public, the exhibition will also showcase objets d’art, accessories and precious stones of every size, shape and cut.
“Buyers can expect trends, treasures and exclusives from over 550 leading manufacturers and world-famous brands,” says Fawzi Al Shehabi, show organizer Arabian Exhibition Management Director of Sales, in an interview with Arabian Knight ahead of the largest and most prestigious jewellery exhibition in the Middle East.
The exhibition is held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain. “HRH the Premier loves Jewellery Arabia and it’s something very special to him. His continued support has made what the show is today.” says Al Shehabi.
Last year, inaugurating the show, HRH the Prime Minister emphasised the Bahrain government’s full support for Jewellery Arabia and the importance of the gold and jewellery sector to the local economy.
He expressed his admiration for the high value of the exhibition and stressed that Jewellery Arabia has become a milestone in the gold and jewellery industry, both regionally and internationally.
AEM, which organises the show, is now 100 per cent owned by Informa Markets, a leading events organiser globally. “Informa does jewellery shows all around the world and the takeover has helped the show in many ways. The reputation of Informa, its high standards and systems utilised by the company have added tremendous value to the customer experience” continues Al Shehabi.
“It’s a unique show and buyers from all over the Gulf, Europe and Asia await this trend-setting platform to make their purchases every year,” adds Al Shehabi.
Over 55,000 visitors from 48 countries attended the 27th edition of the exhibition last year, marking a 9 per cent increase on the previous event. Jewels, gems and watches worth over $1 billion went on display at the show.
A total of 561 exhibitors from 31 countries converged to launch new product lines, display latest collections and introduce limited edition pieces to discerning private buyers and trade professionals.
Total jewellery sales during the show exceeded $31 million, marking a 20 per cent increase on the 2017 edition.
Bahraini and Saudi buyers together accounted for almost 60 per cent of the sales at the show. The other 40 per cent is shared by GCC and international buyers, Al Shehabi says crunching the numbers.
“A healthy increase in attendee numbers, coupled with sustained participation from exhibitors and strong sales reflects Jewellery Arabia’s continuing strength in the Middle East and its position as a leading event in the global industry calendar,” he adds.
Returning participants include world-famous watch and jewellery houses, who are expected to introduce exclusive collections and limited-edition pieces to the Middle East collectors’ market during the show.
Complementing these iconic brands are national groups from leading jewellery exporting countries. They include returning pavilions of Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Thailand. New pavilions from Russia and Morocco will add to the diversity of the show.
There will also be large pavilions of Bahrain-based Asia Jewellers and Bahrain Jewellery Centre, hosting 40 to 80 companies within their pavilions.
Actually, the show organisers at the moment are facing a problem of plenty. “The show was almost 80 per cent booked by the end of the last edition and was sold out in the next few months. We get requests for increased space from many exhibitors, but, regrettably, we are unable to provide them more space. We also have a long waiting list and unless we have a bigger exhibition area, we won’t be able to satisfy the demand,” he says. He is hoping the planned new exhibition centre will eventually solve the problem.
Preparations for the show are going on smoothly, says Al Shehabi. “We are now in the final stages of readiness as we look at the logistics, badges, tickets and meet with authorities to make processes as smooth as possible for the exhibitors.”
Exhibitors can breathe a bit easy this year as they may not have to wait in long queues at the Customs. “The Customs Department has introduced a new system, whereby exhibitors can submit all information online through an app. This makes it much easier for the exhibitors to bring in jewellery and take out their unsold wares. With the click of a button, they can pay customs duty and this will reduce queues. The app was developed inhouse by the Customs and we are thankful to them for that,” he says.
With this new system, the organisers will also be able to know the amount of sales done by exhibitors at the end of each day. “In the past, we have had to wait till they do the calculation and it took a lot of time. The new system will be of great support,” he adds.
Al Shehabi and his team travel extensively and attend exhibitions across the world to meet clients and renew relationships despite the show already being sold out.
“We attend shows and meet clients because we need to sustain relationships and build on the existing ties. We also need to plan for the future. When the new exhibition centre is open, we will have an impressive 100,000 sq m of space to fill. The global shows also help us understand the latest trends in the jewellery and events industries,” he explains.
On what buyers can expect at the show, Al Shehabi says exhibitors will surely bring exclusive items for the Jewellery Arabia buyers. Show visitors may also have the opportunity to see some of their favourite celebrities brought by well-known companies. Last year, international socialite Paris Hilton made an appearance at the show.
He admits social media is helping create a buzz about the show. “Apart from our social media campaigns, even the exhibitors have their own bloggers and influencers and this creates a positive vibe for the show,” he adds.
There are a number of jewellery shows in the region, but Jewellery Arabia has retained its shine for almost three decades now. “The success of the show is because it’s a unique show targeting both the B2C and B2B markets. It’s working well here and Jewellery Arabia has put Bahrain on the map of international exhibitions,” he says proudly.
And Al Shehabi, who pioneered the exhibition, has every reason to be proud of. “It’s my baby…I started working on it from day one and developed it over the years. I can see the success of our hard work and am very happy that an initiative we have created is admired by people and is today the leading show for jewellery in the Middle East. Yes, I feel proud of this show, personally,” he confides.
Informa Bahrain does other shows as well, including the Autumn Fair, two oil and gas shows and one oil and gas exhibition in Kuwait. “We are developing new shows and are talking to the authorities on these,” he says about future plans.
On trends among the new generation of buyers, he says the young nowadays go for unique pieces of jewellery for day-to-day use. However, when it comes to wedding jewellery, it’s traditional big pieces that sell.
“Watches have become a piece of jewellery and men are more into watches…there is not enough supply to meet the demand for certain brands,” he notes.
Al Shehabi is positive about the growth of the jewellery industry. “It will grow with the new generation too. Trends and tastes might change, but people will still invest in jewellery. I will say Jewellery Arabia is an opportunity for investors in assets. You buy a piece today, tomorrow the price goes up.”
Major exhibitor Bahrain Jewellery Centre’s Managing Director Dina Shirazi describes the Bahrain jewellery market as “refined”, adding, “this event is an amazing show for us and we look forward to it every year.”
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