ABOVE: Kent Wong, Managing Director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group and chairman of the Hong Kong Jewellers & Goldsmiths Association, addressing the special Fei Cui Session in Bahrain.
NOVEMBER 20, 2019
The development and deep significance of the market in Fei Cui, which is known as jade and jadeite in the West, was presented in a special session by Dr Edward Liu, Vice Chairman of the Gemmological Association of Hong Kong (GAHK), and Kent Wong, Managing Director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group and chairman of the Hong Kong Jewellers & Goldsmiths Association.
Some CIBJO members expressed their surprise at the size of the market which is estimated to be worth more than eight billions dollars, making Fei Cui the world’s largest gem category after diamonds. Almost all sales take place in China and other eastern markets.
Mr Wong spoke about the deep and ancient role played by Fei Cui in Eastern traditions for thousands of years. The stone signifies blessings and is passed on as a family treasure.
“Instead of saying jadeite we say Fei Cui so it is well understood in the trade and among customers,” he explained.
“Since the Qing dynasty, the Chinese people have loved this stone and there are many examples of jewellery set with it from that the late Qing and Republican period. Some items have sold for millions of dollars at auctions by Sotheby’s and Christie’s, and auction prices have risen continuously.
“But it should also be pointed out that for daily wear with price points that are affordable. In addition, there are examples of jewellery combining east and west, set with Fei Cui and other stones,” Mr Wong added.
He said that international labs, such as SSEF and Gübelin, have issued reports on jadeite where they say that jadeite may also be called Fei Cui in the trade.
“New markets and business models as well as direct sales by smartphone in China are bringing business to a higher level. This is also creating more jobs across the board – from night markets to online and at large commercial markets. In southern China, looking at employment only in rough Fei Cui, we see that it has more than doubled and that doesn’t include the wholesale and retail sectors which provide more jobs.”
Dr Edward Liu provided an exhaustive explanation of the history of Fei Cui in China and said that in Mainland China and Hong Kong, the name Fei Cui is well defined and embedded in law.
“We believe that Fei Cui is another important gemstone, just like diamonds, ruby, sapphire and so on,” he said. “We encourage jewellery design competitions so that its beauty is appreciated widely and so that responsible business opportunities worldwide can be secured. In this respect, we believe that CIBJO can be the driver, and we would propose the creation of a Fei Cui Blue Book.”
Following the presentations, Sector A President Roland Naftule said that he had learned that the value of the sales of the gemstone was in the billions of dollars which is more than most of the gemstones with which members are familiar.
“China is a tremendous consumer of our products so we have to bring our friends from China into CIBJO and work closely with them so that the product is marketed similarly throughout the world and Fei Cui is used and popularised across the world as that is the name in China. We will not conclude now what is going to happen. This will be put forward for further discussion within CIBJO.”