More than 20,000 visitors turned out for the Dubai International Jewellery Week, the largest and most popular event of its kind in the region. Opened by Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Khalid Sultan al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, the event concluded recently at the Dubai World Trade Centre on a high.
Although fashion jewellery was a major purchase throughout the show, many more expensive and elaborate creative designs were bought and commissioned for their cultural significance, for major occasions such as weddings or to embrace seasonal trends and fashions.
"Dubai International Jewellery Week provides an ideal platform for international jewellery professionals to showcase a wide variety of jewellery designs from luxury to fashion-wear to a knowledgeable and affluent marketplace,” said Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of the show. “Consumers in the UAE are very discerning. Jewellery forms an integral part of the country’s culture, whether it’s diamonds or pearls, occasional or seasonal.”
The show is the only event of its kind in the Middle East with three elements under one roof – Jewellery Trade Dubai, Jewellery Collections Dubai and Areeq Dubai and benefited from the presence of officials from Dubai Municipality, who carried out random spot checks on the quality of items prior to being sold, reassuring consumers.
"We are very satisfied with the show, and despite the market condition, the response has been very good,” said Arun Bhatnagar, Deputy General Manager, Rosy Blue. “We saw a good number of customers. In terms of business, we had good participation.”
Mehran Mahallati, Vice President, Mahallati, added: "We have experienced good customer attendance throughout the show and we are happy with the sales achieved. Timing the show just before Eid and the New Year is ideal."
Designer Mandi Kingsbury, a New Zealand native, enjoyed fantastic support at her Jewellery-Making Workshop in support of multiple sclerosis (MS) Charity, ProtestMS. “Having such an avant-garde stand has created much awareness and the traffic to the stand with people wanting to be involved in the workshops has been phenomenal. I would love to come back next year,” said Kingsbury.
The winners of the first-ever Jewellery Design Competition were also announced at the show. The judges who included distinguished jewellery designer, Shaikha Fatima Al Qassimi and Dubai-based Lebanese designer Nadine Kanso, famous for her Bil Arabi jewellery line recognised Ronaldo Buensalida and Kholoud Kurdi for their designs in modern fashion and Arabic influences respectively.
"I feel very happy and this competition will be inspiring my coming work in the jewellery design industry,” said Buensalida. “I'm sure the next competition will see more participation for the success of Dubai International Jewellery Week. It will also help both young and professional designers."
"I am so pleased to have won this competition,” said Ms. Kurdi. “I have always thought I have designed something very different as the concept is new. The new idea is to have a necklace that is fully designed with Arabic calligraphy. I proudly used words of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed's poetry and would like to present this success to him."
The winners will now attend three jewellery Design course, sponsored by the International Gemological Institute (IGI), worth a value of AED 12,000. Both designers will have their jewellery manufactured by Duwan and sold at the Marami Boutique in Dubai Mall.
Nico D'Haemer, Managing Director, IGI said: "The show went well and we have got a lot of support from Dubai World Trade Centre. We were pleased to be one of the main judges in the DIJW Design Competition. We have been in Dubai for six years and we would love to extend our participation in the show and the competition next year."
The daily Asian Bridal Jewellery Fashion Shows were also a huge success, drawing good crowds throughout the show. The event featured spectacular designs combined with ornate jewellery. The Dhamani and Mahallati sponsored shows now form a permanent part of the event and different themes are already being discussed for next year.
“Despite the recession, jewellery is so steeped in tradition here it is not affected in the same way as other markets are, especially in the US and Europe. It is true consumers may have reduced budgets to work with and they will certainly drive a hard bargain but sales will be made,” claimed Loh.
Underscoring that sentiment Sushil Jain, Partner in Dialmaz, one of the leading suppliers of jewellery to the Middle East from India, said: “We have been coming every year and I can honestly say this year has been busier for us. What we are finding both here and in the rest of the world is a shift towards value-based jewellery in the current climate.”
The dates for the 2010 event have already been confirmed as 28 – 31 October 2010 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC).
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