Portojóia "anticipates" Growth Of Synthetic Diamonds In The Market

Jewellery, gold and watches in the spotlight at EXPONOR from the 24th to the 28th of September. Economic slowdown reveals "golden opportunities" for some very specific segments. Necessity is the mother of invention, according to the proverb, as if reminding us that every crisis reveals one (or more) lights at the end of the tunnel. And in the glistening world of precious stones and noble metals, one of the solutions may be synthetic diamonds. A niche that specialists in the sector see as a "golden opportunity" at a time of economic slowdown.

"As the economic barriers to their production costs are gradually overcome, never have synthetic diamonds been so close to the jewellery market and we can expect that, in the not so distant future, they will reach European markets, in general, and the Portuguese market in particular", highlights Rui Galopim de Carvalho, the highest representative of the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) in Portugal which, for PORTOJÓIA 2008 – 19th International Jewellery, Gold and Watch Exhibition, at EXPONOR from the 24th to 28th September this year, will promote an initiative which will address this subject in greater depth.

For this gemologist, the "steadily increasing" presence of synthetic diamonds in the markets in the next few years is "almost inevitable". "This is a reality that is developing considerably and with the prospect of having a strong impact on the sector in the future", according to Rui Galopim, who sees the increasing number of seminars, conferences, workshops and publications on the subject throughout the world as an "indicator of their emergence as a product".

Problem or opportunity? – this is precisely one of the topics that already sparks discussion among the agents and professionals in the field. "Distinguishing natural and synthetic diamonds is a challenge, occasionally only possible in gemological laboratories equipped with the necessary technology. We must be aware of the effective presence of these products", Rui Galopim de Carvalho adds. During PORTOJÓIA (on the 26th of September at 6.30 pm in the EXPONOR Conference Centre) he will be presenting the book "Laboratory-Grown Diamonds – Information Guide to HPHT-grown and CVD-grown Diamonds" (by Branko Deljanin and Dusan Simic), which he translated.

For the Portuguese ambassador of ICA, the gradual lowering of manufacturing costs, the new technologies for growing crystals with gemological quality and the significant increase in production "are contributing towards a greater visibility" of synthetic diamonds and "providing designers with this new opportunity for jewellery". He adds that "there has in fact been an increase in patents for methods for manufacturing and processing synthetic diamonds with gemological quality".

But the future of these products also depends on other factors: "When we have a larger and more global range of products, and with the appropriate marketing and branding (as has been attempted in the USA), we will see synthetic diamonds, both the clear and brightly coloured ones (the so-called fancy ones), as lower cost alternatives. There are analysts who predict such a scenario when the oriental Chinese and Indian markets (with two digit growth rates in the consumption of jewellery!) begin to absorb even more diamonds, creating the conditions to exploit alternative niches in the West", Rui Galopim de Carvalho concludes.

The event that shows professionals the trends in the sector, and where businessmen close the great business deals of the season, will thus once again we working with ICA and, as a result, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), in London, will also be sharing its knowledge during the 19th International Jewellery, Gold and Watch Exhibition.

The experience and success of this partnership last year has encouraged efforts to strengthen this programme, which will take shape in two highly professional workshops, also aimed at students and other interested parties: one on the use of coloured stones (on the 26th of September, at 3 pm, in the Conference Centre), led by Edward Johnson; and the other on diamonds (on the 27th, at 10.30 am in the same venue), also led by this director of GIA-London.

Later, the traditional debate between members and representatives of the sector, who this year will be discussing the need, or not, for the certification of gems (27th September, at 3 pm), will be followed by the presentation of an interesting project of artistic jewellery, "Royal Jewels – Luso-Brazilian Contemporary Jewellery" (also on the 27th at 6.30 pm, by the curators Cristina Filipe and Lúcia Abdenur). This initiative is part of the commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the court of D. João VI in Brazil and will be promoting the catalogue of the exhibition, to be held at the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, in October.

In the 19th year of the event, the suggestions of EXPONOR and the business fabric are revived and, as always, will bring novelties, clothed in the latest market trends, in an invitation to discover in loco a reality with a secular tradition in Portugal.

This event will once again involve the participation of the most representative and prestigious companies in the sector. Apart from embracing the best of what is done in industry and trade, the fair will return hand in hand with two initiatives in which the professionals see themselves: the Designers' Space and the Schools' Space – two dynamic complements that bring added-value to the event as a whole.

The former embraces jewellery designers, from the well-established to the young talents, with untapped or already clear potential, thus strengthening the relationships between designers and the business world, by promoting differentiation through innovation, creativity, design and quality.

The Schools' Space in turn will again be opening the door to the educational strength of the sector in Portugal and beyond, since the project has welcomed vocational training institutions from other countries, in particular Spain.

From 2000 to this date, PORTOJÓIA was the stage chosen by 1 891 companies, in an average of 236 direct exhibitors in each edition. In the last eight editions, the exhibition welcomed a total of 87 653 visitors.

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