A coronavirus surge in India and continued restrictions in Hong Kong have forced jewelry-fair organizers to reschedule upcoming events, compounding the woes the exhibition industry has suffered in the past year.
India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has postponed the IIJS Signature show, which was due to begin this Wednesday in Mumbai, according to a recent notice on the fair’s website. The July Hong Kong diamond and jewelry shows have also been pushed back to later in the month, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) announced last week. Covid-19 has disrupted the global trade-show calendar, with almost none of the major international diamond and jewelry events taking place since the start of the pandemic. Last month, GJEPC expressed confidence that IIJS Signature could run from April 7 to 12. However, soaring virus cases, especially in the state of Maharashtra — which includes Mumbai — have made the event impossible. “This step is being taken for the safety of our exhibitors and visitors,” the GJEPC said in the notice, which it posted during March. “[The] council is monitoring the situation regularly, and new dates will be announced very soon.” The latest Covid-19 wave in India has threatened to derail the country’s diamond industry after a strong recovery since the second half of last year. The Maharashtra government imposed a statewide lockdown earlier this week, resulting in Mumbai’s Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) closing until further notice, while infections are also rising in the Gujarat city of Surat, where most polishing factories are located. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show and the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show will now take place from July 25 to 29 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in the Wan Chai district. The events were previously scheduled for July 2 to 6 — after the HKTDC had already postponed them from their usual March dates. The move comes amid continued measures against the spread of the coronavirus in Hong Kong. The municipality currently requires two weeks of quarantine for visitors from mainland China, Macau or Taiwan, and three weeks for those from other locations. The HKTDC said the latest date shift followed “consultation with industry representatives and key stakeholders,” without specifying the reason. The summer months are a busy time for the city’s trade shows, with Informa due to host Jewellery & Gem Asia Hong Kong in June and Jewellery & Gem World Hong Kong in September.