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JUNWEX St. Petersburg opens the jewellery season of 2018

05 march 2018

St. Petersburg has a special attitude towards JUNWEX, probably, partly because of the magic atmosphere in this European wonderful city and its people featuring peculiar refinement. Probably, timing is very good – traditionally, it is held on the eve of the Saint Valentine's Day that is celebrated on February 14 and followed by two holidays - February 23 and March 8 - and finally, spring comes – the season of weddings and gifting. After a long winter, the possibility to just enjoy the jewellery luster and beauty is a kind of therapy to say nothing of being lucky to be among the first to see the most interesting jewellery pieces at factory prices before they are displayed in shop-windows… There is extensive advertising of this jewellery exhibition and the people of St. Petersburg got used to it as it is held at the same time year after a year - the organizers have been arranging this exhibition for many years, so they have a sound experience. The show space in the Expoforum Exhibition Сentre provided for the participants in JUNWEX is huge. There are many parking lots and free shuttle buses are arranged with a sign ‘JUNWEX’ to take visitors from the metro station to the Exhibition Centre and back. The visitors are numerous – many people are in love with the beautiful. 

Year in, year out, JUNWEX St. Petersburg opens a new jewellery season – and most of the Russian jewellers create their new collections or just new jewellery pieces for this show and not for the Christmas and New Year sales. For the jewelers, the participation in JUNWEX St. Petersburg is a must that gives them the opportunity to show their colleagues, partners and clients the best items created during the year, and for the jewellery wholesalers – to buy the goods they expect to be in demand. 

On top of all of this, JUNWEX St. Petersburg serves as a reliable barometer to determine the state and the jewellery market sentiments.


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Image credit: JUNWEX

And the mood of the market despite the challenges faced by the industry remains stoic: the most successful market players note that there is something useful and lustral in the crisis, like the survival of the fittest in the nature. The strongest and most hard working survive, the professionals win, the best in this field - having survived the most difficult times they become stronger. The market must clean itself and make the bottom-feeders involved in ‘shady’ schemes leave and lose the niche to the reliable manufacturers.

Over the last three years, the Expoforum has virtually become the best jewellery venue in the country: in its four exhibition halls connected via the intermediate building, over 400 exhibitors from various cities of Russia as well as from Kazakhstan, Belarus, Turkey and China are located, as well as the top companies from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kostroma, the Urals, Yakutia like Karat, Estet, Smolensk Diamonds, Russkiye Samotsvety, Diamonds of Yakutia, Alexey Pomelnikov, Ringo, Gringor and the Moscow Experimental Jewellery Factory…

Nevertheless, it takes time to get to the premium hall with its concentration of luxury, beauty and lustre – on the way to this hall, you pass three other halls that are closer to the real life. Here, you may find many good quality jewellery that comes in a large variety of pieces, and – which is important – low-end ones, and there are more visitors here. For example, there was an interest in and demand for amber jewellery (the stone rose in price, by the way) manufactured by the Granat and Sun Stone jewellery companies, as well as silver collections that are really interesting, of good style and high quality in the ‘classic’ and ‘avant-garde’ segments.


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Image credit: JUNWEX

As for ‘the girls’ best friends’ and the polished diamond sales, many exhibition stands were in the JUNWEX's most luxury Hall E, where high-end pieces with precious stones were displayed, including certainly high quality natural diamonds created by the Yakutian and Ural skilled craftsmen and the jewelers of both capitals, and their design and technology have significantly improved as the competition obliges.

The premium Sector E was positioned as the Diamond Avenue, and the visitors could enter this hall located at the very end of the building by individual invitations only, and they had a clear intention to buy a high-end diamond jewellery piece. This type of visitors makes about 5% of all the visitors.

It seems that there are less exhibitors in this hall, maybe, it is a surface impression, but it stroke the eye that there was no such a renowned company like Sokolov that can be called a flagship of the JUNWEXs held in Moscow. It is said that the company preferred to make a recent presentation of its new collection in Moscow with an opening cocktail, and the media persons, catwalk models were among the guests. The National Heritage was not among exhibitors as well as some other companies, and the reason was the same – the exhibition participation costs grow from year to year while the revenues decline.

But according to experts, the demand on the Russian premium class jewellery market is still steady even in the last years. It is confirmed by the fact that a lot of premium class brands were honorably represented at the JUNWEX St. Petersburg. Smolensk Diamonds, jewellery houses Chamovskikh, Maxim Demidov, Kabarovsky, Estet, etc. still maintain their reputation. However, it should be mentioned, that this year the Estet company – in addition to the main collections of the premium class Gevorkyan brand - presented also a wide range of jewellery in different price segments, including a fashion jewellery and jewellery studded with synthetics, semi-precious stones and cubic zirconia, including silver ones. Of course, everything was good-quality pieces, and this is a right marketing and pricing policy, the circle of customers should be increased so the new Estet brand pieces were sold in an usual exhibition zone and included the Lady collection with pearls and the Swarovski’s Love collection with ‘hearts’.


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Image credit: JUNWEX

Many manufacturing companies do their best to keep the bar high and they continue to make diamond jewellery minimizing the materials they use, creating the lower-end segment collections featuring new designs.

Some companies increase their assortment with semi-precious gem jewellery using hollow settings. Many companies specializing on the diamond jewellery when creating their collections switched over to the lower quality diamonds. One famous Moscow company (whose last year collection was ironically named ‘Anti-crisis rhapsody’) replaces expensive white diamonds with brownish-beige stones (these darkish colours are known to the customers as ‘cognac’ and ‘champagne’ hues that sound nice and considered to be classic ways of successful marketing and advertising) and the jewellery with these stones moves well thanks to affordable price range.

The Smolensk Diamonds area is the first you can see when entering the E zone. The perfectly-cut top-quality diamond jewellery is displayed here. The notion ‘Russian cut’ associates, first of all, with the jewellery made by the Smolensk craftsmen, which is no wonder taking into account that there exist dynasties – two or three generations - of highly qualified cutters and polishers at the Kristall company in Smolensk.

Maksim Shkadov, Director General of the Smolensk’s Kristall, does not agree that the demand for polished diamonds sunk: in his opinion, it is neither rising nor declining. Nevertheless, he does not deny the price declining and attributes this to the over-production crisis and the dumping by the Indian colleagues. The state (neither good nor bad) of the diamond jewellery market is the result of lacking the “reasonable marketing strategy and promotion of a diamond as it is, which have not been done by anyone for seventeen years since De Beers stopped doing it.” It is not useful for the trade that the jewelers often overestimate the diamonds characteristics and sell them at a discount, although without a negative impact on their company, so “as a result, the consumers suffer”.


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Svetlana Maksimova, Director General of the Casting House company, shared her opinion that the high-end diamond jewellery market was in a difficult position: the sales at the current exhibition showed that her company’s revenues were almost twice less than they were at JUNWEX last year.

“Unfortunately, the sales level has sunk” complains Ms. Maksimova, “that said, the average purchase amount remained the same – 50 to 70 roubles”.

The jewelers have to make large discounts as most players build their exhibition strategy on ‘halving prices.’

The jewellery by Casting House sooner belongs to a high-end diamond jewellery segment and is both classic jewellery at the price of 100-200 thousand roubles and more expensive one-carat plus diamond jewellery with white gold settings. There are also very modern pieces of high tech style featuring lower-end diamonds and tier 1 coloured gems - emeralds, sapphires, sea pearls and tanzanites.


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Image credit: Rough&Polished

The Yakutian trading jewellery Kierge firm does well even in the crisis situation and develops steadily. According to Galina Pavlova, Director of Finance, the sales at the JUNWEX St. Petersburg exhibition were good - contrary to expectations - and even better than last year. Judging by the sentiment, the company management is pleased with the result. The Kierge jewellery price range is very large – from ₽5 000 up to ₽2.5 million. And the money from the diamond goods constitutes the major part of its revenue. The Kierge company had one more goal except exhibiting their own jewellery: they wanted to choose the jewellery by other manufacturers to be sold in their showrooms in Yakutia. Ms. Pavlova told that the mid-segment jewellery sells best, mid-size solitaires, and she noted that the consumers became more discerning and better informed about the gem characteristics, more demanding in terms of style and design.

A number of Yakutian firms cooperate under the Diamonds of Yakutia brand. Several firms from Novosibirsk and Moscow joined them and now present their stones as Yakutian ones. This brand is becoming identifiable and popular: the customers show their interest in the Yakutian polished diamonds, because everyone knows that the rough diamonds are mined in Yakutia, that is why the confidence in the Yakutian polished diamonds is greater. Probably, this explains the use of this expression by the Indian manufacturers in their advertising. The Indian influence is also felt in the Armenian jewellers’ goods at the exhibit booth of A.D.M. DIAMONDS company, where a wide range of this jewellery is presented (thanks to the Special Notified Zone) and at the prices that the Russian manufacturers cannot offer. And the Russian manufacturers are concerned about this trend because if it continues, certainly it will not be for their benefit.
 
Galina Semyonova for Rough&Polished

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