Dear gemstone lovers,
any amount of to-ing and fro-ing, lots and lots of people, and in the middle of it all: me and my treasure chamber. As every year, I travelled – laden with sparkling stones – to the ‘Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show’ in Hong Kong.
The Asian market has been gaining in importance in the gemstone trade, and not just since yesterday. Whilst at one time only European countries and the USA were relevant for the sales market, the demand for luxury goods has been growing in Hong Kong, Mainland China and elsewhere – not least because of a financially strong upper level of society that is getting larger and larger. Apart from that, people in China have a great affinity for gemstones. Jade is regarded as a royal gemstone; the Chinese have probably been mining it and using it in jewellery and filigree art carvings since 6000 B.C.
The increasing interest in luxury goods was also borne out by the number of visitors at the fair: almost 30,000 buyers flocked to Hong Kong this year. Together with the ‘Jewellery Show’, held at the same time, the organisers counted no fewer than 74,000 visitors!
I was given an exclusive stand in the premium Hall 5, which bore the splendid name ‘Treasures of Nature’. Innumerable buyers browsed my treasure chamber with me and plied me with questions about the origin and value of the stones. A complete success! But I didn’t just meet a large number of new people – I also ran into a highly esteemed old acquaintance: Zhu Jingchang, Professor of Gemmology at the prestigious Tongji University in Shanghai.
Prof. Zhu and I have known each other for many years now. He comes to see me at every single trade fair and has also even been a guest in my lovely home town of Idar-Oberstein. As a top-class gemmologist, Zhu knows his way around with gemstones like no-one else. The fact that he admires and praises mine naturally makes me very proud. This year, my rubellite suite made quite an impression on him:
21 red tourmalines from Nigeria and Brazil, with a total weight of 170 carats. Something to be really proud of, as Prof. Zhu agrees. Above all because red tourmalines are extremely rare. But not only that. The tourmaline is among the most coveted stones in China. It has inspired many, including the imperial widow T’Zu-Hsi. Beautiful as the stones are, and popular as they are in Hong Kong and China, the heavy import duties are a hindrance for Prof. Zhu. Whilst diamonds incur duties of some 4 %, they’re up at approx. 45 % for gemstones! Zhu is not the only one who thinks that’s far too much.
Nevertheless, I remain confident that the most beautiful treasures of this Earth will continue to find their way to me and my customers, who come from all over the world. So I’m looking forward to the next year in Hong Kong!
Sparkling greetings, Constantin Wild