Recession Hits Las Vegas Shows
(May 31, '08, 23:59 Edahn Golan, Las Vegas)

The halls of the JCK Las Vegas show this Saturday were clearly less crowded than last year, and almost all exhibitors noted a decrease of traffic into their booths. Walk-ins, visitors without prior appointments, were not only less present in lower numbers, but a number of exhibitors also noted they were less inclined to place orders.


A large Indian manufacturer commented that even the larger and much sought after 2 and 3 carat goods that they had on display were not being snatched off the shelves. While that comment may not have reflected sales of bigger goods at the show, it does reflect the mood. Stones of 3 carats and above have proved to be good sellers so far at the show.


Many booths were notably empty, with despondent business owners pacing back and forth waiting for someone to walk in.


All expressed hope that activity would pickup on Sunday.


Conversely, gem traders reported good business, watch sellers said they were doing OK and jewelry wholesalers offering non-diamond/non-gold items were seeing brisk business – rubber and leather items combined with steel, for instance, which offer an alternative in terms of design and a much lower retail price at the same time.


The news from Couture was mixed, as even high-end buyers were not quick to commit.


The JCK show suffered from repeated alarms and even a gate shutdown.


History may have been made if one rumor proves to be true – a De Beers director was reportedly at the show. If so, this will be the first time it has ever happened. We are seeing new times indeed.