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INTERVIEW - Rodney Rayner reports strong buyer interest at About J, eyes Baselworld

By George Appleshaw

MILAN, March 1, 2009 – UK luxury jeweller Rodney Rayner said he was delighted with results at the upmarket Milan trade fair About J, reporting strong buyer interest and new U.S. clients, and said he saw the event as a useful preparation for Baselworld.

Rodney Rayner jewels are distinctive for their sumptuous, bold and original coloured designs.

Rayner told Jewellery Outlook in an interview that high-end retailers were still buying, but he expected business generally to be slower this year due to the global economic crisis.

“It will be a difficult year. All we can do is attend the jewellery shows,” he said.

Rodney Rayner

However, Rayner said that he was pleasantly surprised by the orders he received at the February 22-24 About J fair, which brought high-end buyers from around the world together with leading, internationally focused jewellery manufacturers and designers.

“We opened two new accounts today – both with clients from America,” he said at his stand on the second day of the show.

“Before the show I would have expected the interest to come largely from Eastern Europe, so we were delighted to see such a response from the U.S.

”About J had targeted East European, Middle Eastern and Chinese buyers perhaps more than the U.S. market due to the severity of the recession in the United States.

Rodney Rayner jewellery is already popular in Eastern European markets.

Rayner reported strong interest from a large Russian retailer at About J, who said that she would visit his stand at Baselworld.

Presently Rodney Rayner jewellery is available at the TSUM department store in Moscow, a leading importer of luxury goods to Russia.

Rayner also said he had booked a new order from a prominent Italian retailer.

LOOKING FORWARD TO BASELWORLD

“My idea of doing this show (About J) is pre-advertising for Basel,” Rayner said.

He said he expected to add a sprinkling of new designs at Baselworld. About J was Rodney Rayner’s first trade show this year.

He also plans to exhibit at Couture in Las Vegas from May 28-June 2, 2009.

Rayner started in the jewellery industry when he was 18 years old, working for a traditional UK jewellery house in his home town of Norwich in eastern England.

Later he moved to London to work for a leading retailer of European fine jewellery, where he was exposed to the very best of British, French and Italian designs.

In 1981, Rayner launched his own jewellery brand, and his career soared.

At the Couture show in 2003, 2004 and 2005, he won the “Town and Country Couture Design Award” for the “Best Jewellery Design in Coloured Gemstones” -- the premier coloured stone jewellery award in America.

www.rodneyrayner.com