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17th MidEast Watch and Jewellery Show inaugurated at Expo Centre Sharjah

The 17th MidEast Watch and Jewellery Show (autumn edition) was inaugurated on Tuesday, September 28, 2004, at Expo Centre Sharjah by H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Salim Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Amiri Court. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa - Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Mr. Mohammed Salem Al Mosharrekh - Board Member (SCCI), Mr. Fasahat Ali Khan - Acting Director General of Expo Centre Sharjah, directors of various government departments, and members of the diplomatic corps and trade associations.

Over the last sixteen editions, the MidEast Watch and Jewellery Show has built a reputation as the region’s prime Watch and Jewellery event. The event is now considered to be both ’a jeweller’s dream and a buyer’s paradise’.

Though the current edition of the Show presents a mixed display of loose pearls, diamonds, precious stones, gold jewellery, diamond and pearl sets, crystals, watches, timepieces, jewellery displays, and different kinds of tools used in the trade, the focus is on fine diamond jewellery.

Covering two grand halls measuring 8,000 square metres, the event is hosting over 200 exhibitors from 20 countries including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Bahrain, Pakistan, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the UAE.

Besides individual participation, country pavilions from Hong Kong, India, and Jordan have also been set up. The Hong Kong pavilion with 47 exhibitors is the largest among country pavilions.

Whereas a large number of the exhibitors are repeat participants from the last edition, there are several first timers as well. The MidEast Watch and Jewellery Show has an exhibitor retention rate of over 90 %.

"The current edition of the Middle East Watch and Jewellery Show is 15 % bigger compared to the last edition, both in terms of space as well as participation. After sixteen consecutive and successful editions, it can now be safely said that this show is the most established watch and jewellery event in the region," said Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).

"The popularity of this Show can be judged from the fact that more and more jewellery brands from across the world now accept this event as the most effective platform for spreading their wings in the Middle East region," he added.

With demand for gold and diamond jewellery rising at a steady pace in the GCC, particularly in the UAE, exhibitors at the current edition of the MidEast Watch and Jewellery Show can look forward to doing brisk business.

According to the regional office of the World Gold Council (WGC), retail gold sales in the GCC states for the second quarter of 2004 rose by 22 % from USD $ 1.03 billion to USD $ 1.253 billion compared to the same corresponding period in 2003. Gold consumption in the Gulf also increased by 11 % during the same period this year.

"People in the GCC states, particularly in the UAE, have very high confidence and strong affinity towards gold jewellery. Besides that, high oil prices and surge in the number of tourists in the UAE have also contributed towards double digit gold sales in the region," said Mr. Fasahat Ali Khan, Acting Director General, Expo Centre Sharjah.

"The MidEast Watch and Jewellery Show is aimed at bringing people from the region who have a pronounced affinity towards gold jewellery and watches and some of the finest jewellers from across the world together under one roof. And this the event has been very effectively doing for the last sixteen editions," he added.

Besides a wide range of gold jewellery and watches, the current edition’s focus on diamond jewellery is expected to be a huge crowd puller.

At present, diamond jewellery has a market share of 15 to 20 % in the UAE. As per industry sources, diamond jewellery sales in the Middle East including the UAE have registered a 15 % increase to date over 2003 sales.

"The export, import and re-export of gold and diamond jewellery through the UAE accounts for about 20 % of the global jewellery trade. With the establishment of the Diamond Exchange, the UAE has become a hub for the region’s diamond trade," said Mr. Khan.

"Also, the UAE is the first country in the world to request a country review by the Kimberley process. This will go a long way in boosting diamond trade in the region," he added.

The Kimberley Process is a joint government, international diamond industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds - rough diamonds that are used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.

The MidEast Watch and Jewellery Show will be open to general public from 4 pm to 10 pm daily and exclusively for ladies on September 30 and October 2, 2004, from 10 am to 2 pm. Children below 12years of age are not allowed in to the exhibition halls.

A major attraction this edition is that for each purchase of Dh 500 and above, buyers will be entitled to a raffle coupon. The raffle draw, with sparkling gold bars as prizes, will be held daily.

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