Scandinavian luxury goods company Georg Jensen is literally seeing yellow in Taiwan's booming premium jewelry market, a top company official said yesterday.
"Yellow gold is back in fashion. If you pick up a copy of U.S. Vogue or Italian Vogue, you will see that yellow gold (is hot again)," said Gord Ray, global marketing director of the Denmark-based company.
Known as one of the world's top producers of stylish yet understated jewelry, the century-old company rolled out pieces inspired by the design philosophies that got the Georg Jensen brand started in 1904, Ray said.
Two of the product lines that were prominently featured at yesterday's launch were designer Regitze Overgaard's "Zephyr" necklace and "Carnival" rings. Her "Zephyr" line is made purely from 18-carat gold, while her "Carnival" rings are adorned with colored stones and sparkling pave-set diamonds. The rings are designed to be worn together, giving the wearer the "freedom to create her own statement," said Overgaard.
Taiwan, with its affluent consumers, is a market that Georg Jensen cannot afford to ignore, Ray said.
"Taiwan is a very, very important market for us; it is our third biggest market in the world," he explained.
Outside of Denmark, Japan and Australia are among the world's biggest buyers of Georg Jensen products, the executive continued.
"We are very successful in Taiwan because we have a very good team here," Ray said. "We have also learned a lot from our Taiwanese buyers. The consumers here are very fashionable and very sophisticated."
To keep the brand young, the company recently introduced several major changes within the group.
"Six months ago, (the company underwent a transformation). We launched a very, very expansive diamond collection, and that was just the beginning of several more changes within the company. Some of the new jewelry pieces will have more diamonds and precious stones, and you will also be seeing more yellow gold as well," said Ray, adding that some of Georg Jensen's unique pieces were even featured in the film "Memoirs of a Geisha."
"We also have a new creative director from Calvin Klein who joined us from New York," he continued.
Georg Jensen had always been thought of as a silver company.
"And that's really where we began a hundred years ago," Ray said. "Its foundation really - style and design - is all about understated elegance, purity, sensuality."
Expanding into jewelry design is a natural progression for the brand, he said.
"That's what our customers are looking for. They have been asking for it," Ray said.
"The diamond market is growing very, very fast, and demand for yellow and white gold (is also soaring). I think you will be seeing more and more global brands (rolling out yellow gold jewelry)."
Taiwan's jewelry market however is far from easy, said the executive. Several vendors, from venerable jewelry houses and international brands to premium but boutique-size operations, all want a piece of Taiwan's diamond-studded pie.
"It's a challenge. We are not that naive to think that we are the only ones here. There are so many beautiful things being launched all the time but we believe we (have a competitive advantage). We have our distinct style," he said. "Understated elegance is our main cornerstone."
To top it off, Georg Jensen has a large talent pool, Ray continued.
"We have many designers, and they are all successful," he said. Visiting Georg Jensen designer Regitze Overgaard, for instance, made quite a splash with her "Magic" jewelry collection.
Plans are also underway to tap China's potentially lucrative jewelry market, Ray said.
"Hong Kong and Taiwan are really our (springboard) to China. We currently have a small shop in Beijing, and we are now actively searching for the perfect location in Shanghai," he said.