Gary Fitz-Roy, Expertise Events Managing Director, said the fair was an opportunity for the Australian jewellery industry to reconnect and heal after a devastating year of bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The International Convention Center (ICC) in Sydney is scheduled to host the IJWF from 12–14 September, with Fitz-Roy expressing confidence in governments rolling back COVID-19 restrictions and border controls in the coming weeks.
"As we go through each week, we are increasingly confident that restrictions on both the federal and state governments are being relaxed. We had indications that the Queensland borders will open by July 10 and we agree that exhibition centers in Queensland and NSW will have phased July openings, "Fitz-Roy said.
"[Expertise Events is] ready to go to a good fair and we are just as waiting to receive advice from the [NSW] State Medical Officer as the rules shift every week, and as soon as the IJWF comes up with the rules, they will be different from today," he said.
Fitz-Roy emphasized that the presence of three of the four purchasing classes – which together represent over 550 pearl jewelry stores and over 460 leaders – was crucial to achieving the objective of reconnecting and reuniting the jewelry industry.
"I would like to thank the two oldest buying groups and our newest group for having a vision and concern for the future of the industry and for recognizing the need for industry to stand united, particularly this year"
"I would like to appreciate Nationwide and Showcase's support and encouragement over several years to demonstrate their contribution to helping necklace sellers grow and prosper," said Fitz-Roy.
Colin Pocklington, Nationwide Jewellers Managing Director, said, "The IJWF is the biggest industry event every year, and we all need to do our utmost to help the industry, particularly in these difficult conditions."
Carson Webb, general manager of Showcase Jewellers, added: "We should never underestimate the importance of getting together and planning for Christmas time. So far in 2020 it has been one hell of a journey and this will be great as a fun get-together.
"It will be essential to network, prepare product and range offers for Christmas, communicate with our partners and retailers and, in particular, share our challenges and wins over this difficult period."
Independent Jewellers Collective (IJC), set up in January 2020, will make its debut appearance at the fair, with CEO Joshua Zarb telling Jeweller, "This is an exciting year for IJC as it will be our time to tell our story and cement our position in the jewellery industry. We also set out to be a smaller, tailor-made community of proactive retailers and suppliers and even though we hadn't faced a pandemic in our opening timeline, we hit our starting numbers and couldn't be more excited about getting to the fair.
Notably, at this year's event the Leading Edge Group Jewellers (LEGJ) has yet to confirm its participation.
Simon Lane, CEO of the Leading Edge Group, said, "We 're looking to attend again this year but are looking for assurances about social distancing measures to protect our staff and members. We 're talking to the event manager about how we could participate and how they intend to promote and market this year's event."
He added, "We are all keen to ensure a strong return on investment on all invested promotions in these difficult times in this industry and this event is no exception. We believe it remains a important attraction for our membership," he added.