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Basel Shows Signal Robust High-End Demand

Apr 2, 2014 5:58 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... The diamond and jewelry shows that took place in Basel, Switzerland this week signaled robust demand for high-end pieces, even though visitor traffic was slightly down from last year.

“Overall, there’s been less traffic but more serious people are looking for goods,” said Simon Zion of Dehres Limited, a high-end diamond and jewelry supplier exhibiting at the Baselworld fair. “The general market is a bit slow but it’s healthy, as we saw at the March Hong Kong show.”

Diamond suppliers at Baselworld, which closes on Thursday, April 3 and The Diamond Show, which was organized by the Rapaport Group and ended on Monday, March 31, noted that large European brands and watch manufacturers were actively looking for goods.

“European buyers are back in the market and prices are firm,” said Benny Namdar, the sales manager at Namdar RamaGem, a fancy color exhibitor at Baselworld. He noted that the first two days of Baselworld were “surprisingly” good but Saturday was weak, while Sunday picked up again.

Organizers of Baselworld said they expected 100,000 visitors to attend the eight-day fair with 1,400 exhibitors, primarily from the watch and jewelry sectors. The inaugural Diamond Show was held at the iconic Markthalle Basel building with 70 exhibitors presenting at the exclusive diamond event.

Exhibitors at The Diamond Show reported that while visitor attendance was relatively slow on the first two days, important buyers attended during those days and foot traffic increased on Sunday and Monday. The Diamond Show was closed on Saturday due to the Jewish Sabbath.

Lionel Goldstein of Goldstein Diamonds, a specialist in high-end fancy shapes exhibiting at The Diamond Show, said the show started well as many important retailers came, while Sunday and Monday brought more dealers and privates.

Efraim Reiss of Jack Reiss, a specialist supplier of cushion-cut diamonds exhibiting at The Diamond Show, noted that demand for commercial-quality goods is healthy although not booming, while large and important stones are strong. “People are looking for unique things,” Reiss said. “Overall, demand is there. The U.S. is okay, Europe has passed its worst and we saw in Hong Kong that the Indians are back in the market.”

For many, Basel continues to reflect the strength of the luxury market and exhibitors at both The Diamond Show and Baselworld noted continued strength in the high-end market. Fishel Beigel, a partner at Rick Shatz, a New York-based polished dealer for sizes up to 10 carats exhibiting at The Diamond Show, noted that fancy yellows are strong and large stones are crazy in demand, while prices are firm for exceptional stones.

Jose Batista of Rio Diamond, a fancy color specialist who exhibited at The Diamond Show, said, “People are buying diamonds in the high-end because they recognize that it’s an asset that holds value. There are not a lot of these goods around, but many of them were in Basel.”

Diamond suppliers who spoke with Rapaport News reported the following trends in the market:

• Strong demand for GIA dossiers, particularly for 0.30-carat to 0.70-carat goods.
• A shortage of 0.30-carat to 0.40-carat goods.
• Good demand for 2-carat to 3-carat, SI diamonds.
• Diamonds larger than 5 carats are strong but there are concerns that the market may be speculative.
• Good demand for intense, fancy colored diamonds.
• Growing demand for colored gemstones.
• Steady demand for pears, cushions, ovals and emeralds in fancy shapes, while princess cuts are relatively slow. 

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