The 33rd edition of the biannual Istanbul Jewelry Show, organized by UBM Rotaforte, a joint-venture company formed by UBM Asia and Rotaforte International Fairs Inc., and sponsored mainly by the DenizBank, was held successfully at the Istanbul Exhibition Center from October 13 – 16, 2011, with a record turnout of both visitors and exhibitors, fulfilling the expectations of the show’s organizers. Turkey, being situated in a strategic location, in the Euro-Asian region, referred to as the “gateway to Europe,” by Asian countries, and conversely the “gateway to Asia,” by European countries, had been a historic meeting point not only for the cultures of the Orient and Occident, but also a lucrative contact point for the east-west trade, since very ancient times, being a transit point in the east-west Silk Route. Hence, since the inception of the biannual event, taking place in March and October every year, the Istanbul Jewelry Show, has become a convenient meeting point and platform for major companies and brands, from countries of Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle-East, Central and South Asia, North Africa, and Russia, not only to showcase their products, but also conclude lucrative deals with suppliers of quality jewelry products.
This year there were over 320 exhibitors at the show, from 27 countries, apart from Turkey. These countries were Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Hong-Kong, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States. Out of nearly 11,000 visitors and buyers from 84 countries, 69.7% represented local visitors, whereas the remaining 30.3% came from overseas. There was a 13% increase in the number of foreign visitors, when compared with the last edition, held between March 17-21, 2011, out of which a significant component was from Russia and Iran. Sri Lanka participated in the show for the first time, in keeping with the policy of the National Gem & Jewelry Authority of Sri Lanka, to facilitate the participation of the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewelry trading community in international trade fairs throughout the world, with a view of finding new markets for its gem and jewelry products, particularly gaining a foothold in the Middle Eastern countries, where Sri Lanka’s neighbor India has made much headway, and targeting the Turkish market, a trillion-dollar economy, and one of the top five jewelry manufacturing countries in the world, as well as the numerous buyers from neighboring Russia, who use to patronize the Turkish jewelry markets.
The Sri Lanka Pavilion at the show was organized by the National Gem & Jewelry Authority of Sri Lanka with the assistance of the Turkish Consulate of Sri Lanka. Among the Sri Lankan exhibitors who participated in the show were, Blue Duke International, Furqan Ali & Sons, Regal Gems (Pvt) Ltd., Saf’s Classique Gems (Pvt) Ltd., Shakira’s Gem & Jewelry and The Memories. According to the Chairman/CEO of the NGJA, General Rohan Daluwatte, the Sri Lankan exhibitors were successful in securing orders for fine quality gems and calibrated sapphires, and establishing Sri Lanka’s position as the leading source and supplier of fine quality blue sapphires to the entire world. He further stated that the NGJA had identified the market requirements of Turkey, and was studying ways and means of trying to establish a market for fine quality gems and gem-studded jewelry in that country. He also added that as a part of its expanded promotional program, the NGJA intended to organize “Sri Lanka Pavilions” at several leading gem and jewelry shows in Hong Kong, China, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and the Middle East in the year 2012.
Among the leading jewelry brands of Turkey that participated in the show were, Altinbas, Atilla Carat, Atasay, Assos, Aris, Gulaylar, Kocak Gold, Onsa, Pera Diamond, Roberto Bravo, Sade-Is and Zen Diamond. Among some of the major companies and brands that were present at the show, were the UAE-based Samra Jewelry, Karp, and Kiran Jewels; Lebanon-based Arakelian; Singapore-based Taka Jewelry and Italy-based Itagold. The wide range of exquisitely crafted jewelry products showcased at the four-day event included glistening gold jewelry, fashionable platinum and silver jewelry, prestigious pearl, diamond, jade and gem-set jewelry, fine diamonds and fine-quality gems. Apart from this, packaging, display materials, and related products and services were also exhibited at the show, making it a highly professional sourcing platform for the jewelry industry.
Turkey, a highly developed economy, with US$ 92.17 billion worth of foreign reserves, as at March 2011 and a GDP of US$ 1.116 trillion recorded in 2010, showed an 8.2% GDP growth in that year. Turkey is among the top five countries in the world having the largest markets for gold jewelry, as well as for jewelry manufacturing. It has developed the capacity to convert approximately 400 tons of gold and 200 tons of silver into jewelry annually. In Europe today, Turkey’s jewelry industry is a close competitor to the industry in Italy. The precious metals and jewelry industry has turned out to become one of the biggest manufacturing sectors of the Turkish economy today, employing about 250,000 people and dominated by around 50 major companies. The overall economic development of Turkey has made Istanbul, the capital and commercial city, one of the wealthiest cities in the country, with a rapid growth in the retail market, and a high demand for luxury goods, particularly fine jewelry. As such Istanbul is regarded as a perfect venue for international traders to develop key contacts and promote their products and brands in the Turkish market. Hence, the choice of Istanbul as the venue for the reputed jewelry show, that would facilitate the entry of foreign enterprises into the vast Turkish market, while enabling local enterprises to access the international market via Istanbul.
After the show, both exhibitors and buyers expressed satisfaction at the organization of the biannual event, undertaken by UBM Rotaforte, a joint-venture company that owns the Istanbul Jewelry Show. Emil Güzeli?, President of Zen Diamond, manufacturer and exporter of gemstones and jewelry from Turkey, said, “Generally speaking, the fair was well organized and we are satisfied with the quality of buyers. We received many orders. We met new customers, especially from the Middle East and Europe,” Another participant at the show, ?ermin Koç, Partner of Fioro Doro, importer and wholesaler of finished jewelry from Turkey, said, “This year we participated in the show with our new designs and products. Our customers were from Russia, Bulgaria and Eastern Balkans. I noted for this year’s fair that there was a great increase in buyers from Russia, which is our target area. We received orders predominantly from Russian buyers. Because of the upcoming Christmas and New Year, I would say that we made a large volume of sales. Also, the fair was well organized.”
Among the buyers who showered praises on the excellent organization of the show was Faisal Ali, partner of Platinum Jewelry Company, a wholesaler of fine jewelry from Kuwait. He said, “The Istanbul Jewelry Show, organized by a joint-venture company between UBM Asia and Rotaforte, who invited us, gave us many business opportunities. We have visited this fair many times. This year’s show was well organized and we placed orders. We are very pleased with our hotel and the shuttle bus arrangement, which were very helpful for our visit to the Istanbul Jewelry Show.”
More kudos came from another buyer from Lebanon, Garabed Kouzian, Manager of Cynthia Jewelry, a wholesaler of fine jewelry, who said, “I would like to thank the organizer of Istanbul Jewelry Show, UBM Rotaforte, as we found what we were looking for. Overall, we are highly satisfied with the products, the company profiles and the organization of the show.” Another wholesaler of gold jewelry from Azerbaijan, Rasmina Gurbatova, proprietor of RZA Jewelry, said, “Staff were friendly, and the fair was good. I managed to establish several contacts with manufacturers and am hopeful for fruitful cooperation.” A buyer from the Czech Republic, Petrzilka Lubos, Manager of PRECIOSA, importer and wholesaler of sterling silver jewelry, summed up the comments by her apt remarks, “The organization was very professional and I was satisfied with the number of exhibitors and quality of products as well.”