The South China Morning Post has a booster story on the rise of Hong Kong as a Jewelry trading center as Mainland buyers continue to defy capital export controls and sock their surplus cash into the large colored stone and vintage jewelry market.
Asian buyers have long had a taste for compact, portable stores of value in the form of gem stones. So the increase in buying activity that makes Hong Kong a global center is more a measure of the wealth in China and the safe havens it seeks. Here’s the SCMP:
Thanks to the participation of mainland buyers at Hong Kong auctions, the city has surpassed New York as the world’s second-largest jewellery auction hub and is now on a par with Geneva. To tap the rising demand for jewellery and arts, mainland-headquartered auction houses, such as Poly Auction, Tiencheng International Auctioneer and China Guardian, have opened Hong Kong branches, competing with established international houses, Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams. The presence of mainland auctioneers has consolidated Hong Kong’s status.
What’s more interesting, though one has to be conscious of the source, is that the auction houses report buyers are moving toward the very wares the market has been chasing over the last decade. Namely, big diamonds are giving way to lesser stones and signed vintage pieces valued for their design.
This too may be a reflection of the market’s capacity. With only a few large colored and white diamonds having been bid to higher and higher prices, the surplus cash seeking stones has had to look elsewhere:
The tastes of mainland Chinese buyers have evolved: from an initial preference for designs with important diamonds and green imperial jadeite to an increased interest in exquisite jewellery of outstanding craftsmanship with lesser known top-grade coloured gemstones. About five years ago, they began collecting vintage jewellery.
Why Hong Kong is now the world’s second-largest jewellery auction hub (South China Morning Post)