The 32nd edition of MidEast Watch & Jewellery Show recently held at Expo Centre Sharjah, attracted 57,512 visitors, a 12 per cent rise over its previous edition in October 2011. “This positive market trend was clearly playing out at the just concluded MidEast Watch & Jewellery Show, where we saw an increase in overall demand for gold and a surge in visitor turnout,” said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of Expo Centre Sharjah. “The MidEast Watch & Jewellery Show has managed to attract very high quality visitors,” said John Chakardemian, Yeprem Jewellery, Lebanon, while highlighting the reputation the show enjoys in the region and recalling its appeal to attract visitors even during the difficult times in the recent past. Gold prices Lovers of jewellery can forget the wild swings in gold prices in the past and look forward to a more stable yellow metal in the near future, with a global commodities research and investment banking company projecting that the prices are unlikely to rise above the record levels seen in 2011. Investor demand Reflecting this rise in consumer and investor demand, Signalling a consolidation phase after a decade of continuously higher prices, the CPM Group pointed out that increasing supply versus a bigger global pool of investors for gold are combining to put a floor under the market, and prices are expected to remain firm, without the parabolic rallies of the recent past. World Gold Council figures show that while global demand for gold in 2011 was driven by the investment sector where annual demand was 1,640.7t, up 5 per cent on the previous record set in 2010 with a value of $ 82.9 billion, the value of jewellery demand in 2011 reached a new annual record of $99.2billion. Apart from nationals and visitors from neighbouring GCC states, the diversity of the expatriate population of the UAE, which is home to people from nearly 200 nationalities, was also represented in the visitor profile. Confirming this trend, Paulo Dorian, of Maria Adourian from Lebanon, said, “The exhibition meets the requirements of different nationalities,” while another exhibitor, Dr Hotor Lee, of Siang Hoa Jewellery from Singapore, said, “Excellent show... where East meets West and all the needs of visitors are met.” Apart from consumers, the show was also a favourite among traders, who see it as the best opportunity to check out the very latest of designs and trends from all over the world at a single venue, saving quite a lot of time and money on foreign trips and business meetings. “We received a lot of visitors, especially jewellery dealers,” said Arun Thappar, of Apple Greendia from Japan. Impressive The show, which has an impressive exhibitor retention rate and hence several regular exhibitors, was advantageous for first-time exhibitors too. “It was our first participation and we are very happy that we received plenty of visitors, said Fatima Fanani, Emirates Business Women Council, UAE. The fabulous prizes on offer also served as an compelling attraction for residents and tourists to visit the show in large numbers. Lucky shoppers won exciting prizes every day in raffle draws, while several pavilions also gave away prizes and gifts to visitors. Big draw The IGI Seminar Series sessions hosted on the sidelines of the show on the theme ‘Know Your Diamond’ in association with International Gemological Institute (IGI), the world’s largest independent gem certification institute, were also a big draw, not just among traders but also general visitors. The MidEast Watch & Jewellery Show featured more than 450 master jewellers from all over the world at nearly 20,000 sq m of exhibition space, displaying gold and diamond jewellery, diamonds, precious stones, loose pearls, pearl sets and watches. The exhibition was organised by Expo Centre Sharjah with the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.