Ah, glorious Hong Kong. As I sit here in my hotel room overlooking the harbor, I see lights, lights and more lights. It reminds me of pearls. This is the city of pearls, several times each year.
So where should I start as the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair winds to a close?
Tahitian prices seemed poised to rise with floor prices at both Wan and Poe Rava Nui higher than previously offered. Wan decided to take a different approach, posting reserves on all offered lots. His proclamation was clear - he is not giving his pearls away. The high reserves did have an effect, with less than half the lots selling.
The news is mixed at Asia World Expo, the new home for all pearl purveyors at the fair. As usual, the expo was crowded, buyer numbers were high, and there was excitement in the air - until the Exhibition Centre in the city stole most with promises of more and more, opening for business on Wednesday.
While some exhibitors felt the sting of the humdrum economy, others were happily moving product to eager buyers looking for those downturn deals. Japanese dealers were particularly busy pushing discounted akoya. A promising note for the akoya: The price slide seems to have stopped, and prices are starting to inch north for the first time in years. The movement is small, but any movement in that direction must elate struggling producers.
Tahitian pearls were everywhere. The yearlong tax elimination was clearly evident with strands lining nearly every booth. Quality goods, however, were sparse. Thousands of strands of rubbish, like the clearly coated and treated strands from Shanghai Pearl, were more prolific than ever before. FP certainly rid itself of the shit house grade this year.
Freshwater pearls were still as popular as ever. Monday, buyers crowded the booths, grabbing the best as quickly as they could. News from China is that the price slide of freshwater is also coming to a halt, with slight movement in the opposite direction for the first time in more than two years.
Could this be a sign of changing times?