Exquisite jewellery vies for attention of Saudi customers

Jewellery-lovers are gathering in Saudi Arabia for an exhibition that brings the most luxurious designs and prestigious brands under one roof.

The four-day “Jewellery Salon” kicked off on Monday (April 18) in Riyadh, where more than 60 exhibitors from 13 countries are showcasing their latest designs to Saudi customers, especially Saudi women.

Saudi Arabia is the world‘s fifth largest gold and jewellery market, and Saudi women are the biggest spenders on jewellery in the world, according to a statement on the event’s website.

It bills the exhibition as an opportunity for Saudi women to enjoy an “awe-inspiring collection” of jewellery in a “relaxed and discreet setting”.

“The distinctive thing about the show is that it includes all the international companies: European, Lebanese, from Bahrain and the important local companies. All of them have been preparing their jewels all year, because they know that Saudi buyers know a lot about jewellery and gemstones and know what to buy,” said Haya Sunaidi, organiser of the Jewellery Salon 2016.

One of the participating brands, the prestigious French watchmaker Charles Oudin, is vying for the attention of Saudi Arabia’s female buyers.

“The Saudi ladies are very important customers for us. They understand the high quality of the watches that we offer. They understand the nice designs and the special designs that we can offer to them. So yes, they are really important for us, and they enjoy our new designs every year,” said Marilyn, a Charles Oudin representative at the exhibition.

The exhibition also provides a stage, free of charge, for Saudi Arabia’s new generation of jewellery designers, who hope to use the opportunity to showcase their products to scouts and the established names in the industry.

“We are now in a period where the Saudi youth and talented Saudis are receiving support from everyone, and I think that it’s a great support, but we need support from government agencies to open up to field for us so that we can enter into this (jewellery) market,” said Tasneem al-Tahini, a Saudi jewellery designer.

Luxury jewellery is popular in Saudi Arabia, as many Saudis view is as more than just a clothing accessory.

“Usually jewellery is an investment because the prices go up around 10-15 percent every year. The Saudi investor is very clever and knows the value of jewellery. So jewellery consumption is very high (in Saudi Arabia),” said Haya Sunaidi.

With Saudi Arabia facing an alarming drop in oil prices, Riyadh has been looking for ways to restructure the country’s economy so it no longer relies on petroleum.

And as gold and silver prices rise, jewellery designers and producers could be the ones to gain from the new economic reality.