A record 2,000 exhibitors from across the world convened Monday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center for the opening of the 2006 Hong Kong International Jewelry Show amid tight security.
Organizers called on exhibitors to beware of any possible thefts as they expected 30,000 buyers and audience would flock to the shining feast from Monday to Thursday.
An extra hall was opened at the center to accommodate the large number of exhibitors as the exhibition areas were expanded to 59, 718 square meters, up from last year's 49,639 square meters.
"This is one of the most important annual events for the jewelry industry, which has firmly established itself over the last two decades as the premier forum in the entire Asian Region," the Secretary for Security of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Ambrose Lee said at the show's opening ceremony.
"I am pleased to assure you that Hong Kong remains one of the safest places in the world, with an effective, professional yet friendly police force," Lee told crowds of exhibitors and buyers.
Organizers said tight security measures were already in place with cameras monitoring the entire exhibition center and police, in uniform or plain clothes, patrolling the exhibition halls through all the show.
A wide array of gems of all colors and designs are on display with the fair featuring special zones where loose diamonds and a range of precious stones are on show.
A new zone, called Treasures of Nature, is tipped to be a crowd-drawer. Other zones are Le Salon Extraordinaire and Designer Jewelry Galleria, where finest jewelry from 39 brands and stylish jewelry from 48 famous designers are on display.
The show's international profile is reinforced by the participation of groups from Belgium, the Chinese mainland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States.
(Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2006)