Pearls and pendants headline Japan jewelry show

Pearls, pendants and one-of-a-kind items of jewelry are set to dazzle visitors at the upcoming International Jewellery Kobe show, which will go ahead in May as scheduled in spite of the repercussions of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The 15th annual event is to take place over three days from May 11 at the Kobe International Exhibition Hall, with 460 exhibitors from 20 countries confirmed to be taking part. The number of exhibitors is up significantly from the 381 who took part last year, the organizers pointed out.

Organizers say they anticipate the recent demand for pearls and pearl jewelry to continue, as well as the popularity of unique items. There has been a shift away from reasonably priced but rather generic jewelry to more bespoke pieces.

Pendants seem to be back in vogue, according to exhibitors who were at the IJK's sister event in Tokyo in January, while the simple diamond has never gone out of fashion, the organizers said.

"We thank members of the jewelry industry from around the world who have sent us kind messages and condolences regarding the devastating earthquake that hit Japan on March 11th," Tad Ishimizu, president of organizers Reed Exhibitions Japan Ltd. said in a statement.

"We, as the management of the show, would like to announce that the next International Jewellery Show Kobe will be held safely and as originally planned," he added. "We humbly ask everyone around the world to extend us their kind support."

The organizers have been quick to point out that Kobe is more than 800 km from parts of Japan worst affected by the earthquake and more than 600 km from the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

There has been no increase in radiation levels, while no damage has been reported to transportation or accommodation facilities in and around Kobe.

More than 14,000 buyers from around the world are expected to attend Western Japan's largest jewelry trade show, which will have dedicated sections for pearls, gemstones and costume jewelry.

The Premium Buyers Hosting Programme is being continued this year, with selected buyers and some of the most influential jewelry associations from around the world - including China, Hong Kong, Thailand and India - receiving invitations to attend. The invitation has also been extended to Japan's top 500 retailers.

The Kobe event is again expected to act as a yardstick for trends in the jewelry industry, particularly at the higher end of the market.

Bridal jewelry will also be in the spotlight, one of the few sectors that remains relatively immune to large fluctuations in demand.

15th International Jewellery Kobe
May 11-13
10 AM to 6 PM daily
Kobe International Exhibition Hall, 6-11-1 Minatojima-nakamichi. Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0046. http://www.ijk-fair.jp/ijk/english/travel/access.phtml

For further information: http://www.ijk-fair.jp/english/ or Tel. +81 3 3349 8503.

JR

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When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
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I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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