Istanbul Jewelry Show was a lovely event, held from the 5th until the 8th of October 2023. Allow me to take you with me on my trip to this Turkish jewelry trade show!
As I gazed out the airplane window, leaving Amsterdam behind and soaring toward Istanbul, my mind was filled with curiosity and anticipation. The Turkish jewelry show awaited, promising a unique experience, and I couldn't help but wonder what awaited me in this fascinating city.
Jewelry shows, if you've ever attended a few, each has its own distinct vibe and identity. Upon landing at Istanbul airport, my reverie was abruptly interrupted by the frantic search for the elusive "free shuttle" to the show. The airport, vast and beautiful on the inside, was an absolute whirlwind of chaos on the outside.
The mythical "free shuttle" remained an enigma, and I reluctantly opted for a taxi. That classic move, the driver promptly informed me that traffic would double the fare. Not one to be easily deceived, I contacted my show contact, who, like a true pro, negotiated a 20% discount. In the end, I tipped the driver generously, as the journey turned out to be far longer and more chaotic than I had anticipated.
A word to the wise: expect the airport-to-showground trip to take at least an hour, and brace yourself for a 1.5-hour adventure during rush hours. Oh, and be aware of the hotel's name next to the showground. The WOW Airport Hotel may sound close, but it's as distant from the airport as I am from Schiphol in Amsterdam (90 km from my home) :-)
My hotel was comfortable, and I was warmly greeted by my colleagues, Agata (Blingsis) from Poland and Aneta (Bliss from Paris). We enjoyed dinner in one of our rooms, sharing stories, laughter, and ideas.
The following day, I embarked on a brief 5-minute walk from the hotel to the showground. After some minor registration hiccups, I finally made my way to the show. Immediately, my eyes were drawn to the impressive display of cars designed to captivate and entertain visitors. Right next to them lay the chairs and stage where I would be moderating a talk on sustainability with Melanie Grant, the president of the Responsible Jewelry Council. Thanks also to the lovely hub Art for Jewellery and the Jewellery Exporters' Association
The opportunity to lead a discussion on sustainability was an exciting prospect. I relish being a bridge between those with specific missions in our industry and the everyday jewelers and jewelry companies. While these organizations live and breathe their missions, regular jewelers and companies have different priorities—producing and selling jewelry. Sustainability is on their radar but often not in the spotlight.
So, why is sustainability so crucial? Why do organizations like the RJC tirelessly travel the globe to promote it? The answer is simple: governments and countries are beginning to establish rules and regulations. You want to be prepared because if you wait until it's mandated, you risk falling so far behind that you may never catch up. Sustainability is no longer a romantic notion; it's a necessity for survival in the business world of the near future.
Melanie, a true gem on stage, delivered an eloquent and compelling interview. Her words resonated with the audience, which included local journalists, international bloggers, and, most importantly, Turkish companies. Her perspective on sustainability struck a chord with everyone in the room.
After the event, I had the chance to explore Balat, a picturesque neighborhood in Istanbul, with Aneta. We roamed its charming streets, reminiscent of the scenes from the movie "KEDÌ" I had watched with my son years ago. Istanbul is undoubtedly a city of cats!
The next day, I continued to explore the jewelry fair with the wonderful folks from the GOLD BOOK. They introduced me to some remarkable brands and gave me a guided tour.
Here's what I took away from my visit to the Istanbul Jewelry Show: it's a vibrant, bustling event. Trade is happening all around you, all the time. The products often cater to Turkish, Balkan, and Middle-Eastern clientele, although some strive for a distinct brand identity. This country primarily produces for others, and you'll find copies of famous French and Italian brands in the showcases.
I fielded many questions about Turkish jewelry during my visit. Some designers, like Sevan Biçakçi , are internationally renowned, but there seems to be a hesitation to go beyond. Only one company, ABRIES, reached out to me in advance. While it's a hunch, the questions and observations led me to believe there may be a sense of self-consciousness or a lack of self-confidence in the industry. Those with a robust domestic market may feel the need to stay the same, but those looking to explore international markets appear to be searching for something more.
The show reminded me of European events from years past. Only some people spoke English, and not everyone seemed conscious of representing the show and providing excellent service. It lacked a touch of elegance in this regard. However, when I connected with people, they were terrific—warm, friendly, with a great sense of humor, often poking fun at themselves. Listening to their stories made me realize the challenges they face and the dreams they hold. I couldn't help but fall in love with the Turkish people I met; their stories left a lasting impression.
Ultimately, my journey at the Istanbul Jewelry Show was an experience I wouldn't have traded for anything. It's a place where culture and tradition intersect with a growing desire for change and innovation. I'm eager to see how the Turkish jewelry community continues to evolve and shine on the world stage.
The Istanbul Jewelry Show, organized by Informa Markets with the sponsorship of Elmas Kule, gathered the world's jewelry industry for the 54th time on 5-8 October. Held twice a year and contributing to exports, this year's exhibition has broken new records by hosting the largest October exhibition in terms of exhibitors, exhibition area, and visitors.
For four remarkable days, the Istanbul Jewelry Show once again proved itself as the global epicenter of the jewelry industry. As a jewelry blogger and journalist, I had the privilege of not only visiting this spectacular event but also having an insightful conversation on stage with Melanie Grant, the Executive Director of Responsible Jewelry Council.
This year's show, organized by Informa Markets with the gracious sponsorship of Elmas Kule, was a testament to the power and allure of the jewelry world. It went beyond merely showcasing glittering gems and exquisite craftsmanship; it embraced a holistic approach, offering a unique blend of art, sustainability, and business.
Held at the Istanbul Expo Center, this 54th edition of the Istanbul Jewelry Show presented products and services from over 1,000 companies and brands to an astounding 26,000 visitors hailing from 136 different countries. What's remarkable is that 40% of these visitors were international buyers, underscoring the show's global significance.
But it's not just the numbers that made this year's show remarkable. A 38% increase in visitors from Southern American countries, a 31% surge from North American countries, including the United States, and a 10% rise from Asian countries, when compared to October 2022, demonstrated the show's ever-expanding international appeal.
The Istanbul Jewelry Show went beyond the glittering showcases, offering a platform for intellectual exchange. Seminars featuring prominent industry names delved into essential topics. Notably, a session on "Secrets to Success in Social Media and Digitalization in the Jewelry Industry" gathered global jewelry influencers to discuss the profound impact of social media on the jewelry business.
A seminar focusing on industrial trends provided critical insights into consumer behavior preferences, helping businesses stay ahead of the curve. As a jewelry blogger, I was thrilled to join Melanie Grant, the Executive Director of Responsible Jewelry Council, in a seminar titled "Why Sustainability is Vital in Jewelry?" This discussion underscored the growing importance of sustainable practices in the jewelry industry.
The Istanbul Jewelry Show didn't just educate and inspire; it celebrated excellence. At the Leaders of Export Award Ceremony, companies with the highest volume of exports in 2022 were rightfully recognized. The 13th Jewelry Design Contest, organized by the Jewellery Exporters’ Association, crowned the winners for their creativity and innovation.
Furthermore, the Designer Club, a collaborative project between the Turkish Jewellery Exporters’ Association and the Istanbul Jewelry Show, gave jewelry designers and masters a unique platform to showcase their exceptional designs.
As Şermin Cengiz, Founding Partner of Istanbul Jewelry Show, aptly put it, this exhibition contributes significantly to the global export and the national economy through mutual business meetings and agreements. The show's ability to foster growth in the jewelry industry is evident in its ever-increasing scale and quality.
This success story continues in 2024, with the next edition of the Istanbul Jewelry Show taking place from 17 to 20 April. For the first time, the exhibition will start on Wednesday and conclude on Saturday, promising even more opportunities for networking, collaboration, and growth.
Sustainability is not just a buzzword; it's a way of life. The Istanbul Jewelry Show recognizes this and has taken several eco-friendly measures to reduce its environmental impact. From reducing printed materials to using energy-efficient LED technology and promoting public transportation to the exhibition, every step counts towards a greener future for the jewelry industry.