by Amber Zhai
The highly anticipated 2013 BaselWorld Watch & Jewellery Show opened its doors on April 25th to some 1,460 exhibitors, over 100,000 international visitors, and at least 3,500 media reps from 100 countries.
This year marked a new era for the world-renowned luxury watch and jewelry tradeshow. After two years of reconstruction, BaselWorld organizers were ready to unveil the convention center’s sleek new redesign, realized by celebrated Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron (designers of the famous Bird’s Nest national stadium in Beijing). After the $454 million renovation, the space per square meter was actually reduced by 12%, increasing the price of exhibitor space by 20%. This was the cause of some complaints among the diamond vendors who were booted from the main hall to hall 3, behind the major watch brands and closer to the jewelry brands.
The intent behind the new concept and layout was to reflect the changing trends in the market, as well as the growing significance of brands and the overlap between sectors. Bernard Keller, communications director for BaselWorld, insisted that despite the reduction of space, the new layout resulted in better-quality, multi-level space for the big-brand watch and jewelry exhibitors.
It was definitely a risky move, but BaselWorld has built up more than enough prestige in the industry to absorb little shocks such as these. This year’s BaselWorld was otherwise well-received and saw a 17% increase in attendance.
Here are some diamond trends seen at the 41st BaselWorld:
Snakes dominated the scene. 2013 is the year of the snake, after all. Hundreds of exhibitors displayed their own bejeweled interpretations of the serpent motif. Serpent earrings, bracelets, and necklaces predominated the stands—even watch vendors jumped on the bandwagon, hiding clock faces in serpent heads.
Demand for fancy-colored and special stones. European buyers were in the market for special and colored stones. Intense pinks and blues were particularly sought after, as well as colors such as orange and green. According to jewelry vendors, American buyers were there more for the watches.
Big-brand jewelers extended existing collections. Big names such as Stephen Webster, Mattioli, and Chopard added quite a few line extensions to old looks rather than creating whole new lines.
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