Security boost for gems show




SECURITY has been beefed up at this year’s Jewellery Arabia after robbers got away with a $1 million necklace last year.

Almost BD300m worth of brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and more are on show at the event, which is being held at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre (BIECC) in Sanabis.

More than 4,600 people visited the exhibition on its opening day on Tuesday and organisers expect the figure to soar to 50,000 visitors by Saturday.

Arabian Exhibition Management sales and marketing director Fawzi Al Shehabi told the GDN the increase in security measures was a direct result of last year’s robbery.

‘Security has been increased and that’s why you see a lot of police inside the exhibition this year,’ he said.

‘The security is fantastic this year, it’s the best that we’ve ever had in the history of the exhibition.

‘Every five metres has to have a policeman standing there, which is around a 50 per cent increase in the number of police.

‘Everyone who visits the exhibition has to register to get in. They have to provide their ID and their photo is taken, and a badge is provided.

‘No one can go in without a badge.

‘We’re confident that there are enough measures in place with the help of the Interior Ministry, who are doing a tremendous job.’

However, Gaspari sales and accounting head Matthew Sgarbi said they were wary of having their most expensive pieces even photographed due to last year’s burglary.

‘I hope nothing happens this year, but as a jeweller you’re always worried about robberies,’ he told the GDN.

‘Honestly I feel Bahrain is a very safe place, it’s like a second home.

‘[The robberies are] never from Bahrainis, first of all.

‘[In an exhibition] it’s dangerous, because there are many people you don’t know.

‘Last year, the robbers came and said they wanted to see our pieces because we had the most expensive ones.

‘But sometimes you don’t feel comfortable with someone who really pushes to come in.

‘The security guard told them we didn’t have anything nice and asked them to go to other booths.

‘Thank God, it was our luck because afterwards we found out through the cameras that they were the robbers.’

The GDN earlier reported that Chinese national Jianguo Meng is awaiting extradition to Bahrain to face charges in connection with the theft.

He has been linked to at least 14 robberies or attempted robberies since 2012 in Bahrain, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Malaysia, Monaco, Switzerland and the UK.

Meanwhile, Thai jeweller and Primus managing director Pimnaree Hotavithayakorn told the GDN she designed pieces especially for the Bahrain market.

‘Our most expensive piece costs BD424,516 and includes an 11 carat diamond, a double-strap choker and other diamonds over one carat each.

‘We have a total of 600 to 700 pieces, valued at BD9,096,774.’

Bahrain Jewellery Company director Abbas Shirazi said his pavilion housed over 2,400 staff and 40 companies.

‘They are all historical, well-known brands, some who have been there for 125 or 175 years, and have been in the watch-making industry for years,’ he said.

‘Most of our jewellery are high-quality European brands.

‘Last year was one of our best and we’re expecting an even better one this year with an increase in sales and footfall.’

Asia Jewellers director Mayyan Jaffar said the show was a trendsetter in the international jewellery industry.

‘This is where the jewellery trend for the rest of the year is set,’ she said.

‘All the latest designs from around the world are unveiled here.

‘The latest are put in this exhibition and people from Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar come because they want to see what the latest trend is.

‘Designers from around the world give us the latest of what they have produced.

‘That’s why it’s important to take part in this show. To have these big brands here present for Bahrain is important.’


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