The JCK Las Vegas show closed Monday as activity signaled improved sentiment in the U.S. jewelry retail market. Diamond trading was okay, although not booming, while buyers were selective and resisted any attempts to raise prices.
“Those who held their prices firm did not have a great show, but if you were prepared to compromise a bit there were buyers,” said one New York-based polished dealer, who requested anonymity.
While diamond suppliers observed that traffic was slightly down from last year, many noted that buyers were more focused and knew what they wanted at the show. Elan Nachassi, president of San Diego-based House of Diamonds, noted that activity in the diamond section at JCK was driven by dealer trading rather than wholesale and retail orders. Cobi Hodara, of Dalumi Diamonds, agreed but added that activity at the show was a bit down from last year as there were fewer Asian buyers.
Most agreed, however, that interest from wholesale and retail buyers would be better gauged in the coming months after the show.
“It’s not so much about selling at JCK, it’s more about meeting our customers and showing them our marketing and building that relationship,” said Louis Price, the chief operating officer at M. Geller. “So the follow up after the show is extremely important.”
Diamond suppliers are hoping that positive reports from the retail market will filter to the diamond segment in the coming months as wholesale diamond jewelry suppliers reported a positive few days at the show.
“The show exceeded our expectations,” said Bob Cordova, the CEO and chairman of Cordova, a New York-based jewelry manufacturer and wholesale supplier. Retailers are still cautious and are keeping low inventory but the feeling among retailers is much more positive. The U.S. is not where we want it to be but it is stronger than it was.”
Here are some of the trends that were evident at the show:
• U.S. diamond demand is okay, not booming, but a source of stability for the global market and compensating for weakness in Europe and Far East.
• Commercial quality SI and lower clarity goods sold well.
• Triple EX stones selling at 5 percent to 8 percent premiums to non-triple EX goods, although exuberant demand for these goods may be tapering off.
• Good demand for off-sizes – 2.50-carat and 3.50-carat, G-J, SI1-SI2 stones.
• Large stones are slightly soft with K-L color goods doing okay.
• Weak demand for VVS goods across the board.
• There is strong demand for clean, fancy color goods.
• Good demand for fancy shapes, while cushions slightly softer due to oversupply.