II international economic forum for amber industry Amber Forum was held in Svetlogorsk, a little seaside town in the Kaliningrad region of Russia, since 28th till 30th of July, in local Yantar Hall concert and business center. The Forum is announced to be aimed at creation of an international platform to promote cooperation and interaction for business, professional and expert communities in Russia, Europe and world. This year Amber Forum was devoted to the special date for the Amber combine, its 70th anniversary, so the cultural program was really intense.
Business program was divided into sessions and exhibition parts. The leading companies and organizations dealing with amber in the region took part in the exposition: Kaliningrad amber combine, Amber Juvelirprom, Kaliningrad Amber Museum, Union of artists of Russia, with 11 artists participating, Kaliningrad guild of amber masters, Art and industry college, 40 amber producers and sellers from Kaliningrad and the region. The Lithuania was represented by Amber Trip cluster, with a special presentation of Baltic Jewelry News magazine.
More than 1000 people took part in the business events, including the key figures of local authorities, with Mr Alikhanov, probable future governor of the Kaliningrad region, playing amber guitar, represented on the Amber Trip stand; representatives of the local federal university, top managers of companies and amber business elite, museum managers and workers, mass media. This forum was international, with guests from Poland, China, Lithuania, Belorussia, France, Denmark, Latvia and Estonia.
Among the business program sessions the top priority was “Drivers of the economic growth. Clusters. Small and average scale business”. All participants were invited to take part in 7 topic sessions: “Amber. National brand”, “Amber Road. Touristic attraction”, “Scientific research and innovations in the amber industry”, “Amber in the culture of South-Eastern Baltic and Ancient Russia”, “Investment attractiveness and innovations”, “Life giving stone”. In the result of sessions, a number of decisions and strategy actions were announced, including private business and state programs, and also interaction with international amber community as major goals.
A lot of attention was drawn to the necessity of developing the amber brand of Russia, and its promotion – there was a decision to form a united program of world promotion of the Russian Amber label with a special accent on the South Eastern Asia, the major consuming market. Experts announced necessity of innovations in the sphere of jewelry production, amber mining, using partial subsidies and state support to receive patents for inventions. There was also a discussion about co branding and joint projects with other Russian and foreign brands. For Kaliningrad, there is also a vivid need to change retail format, from little street shopping points to boutiques with high quality offer.
Touristic topic was a very important point of discussion, and there is an obvious need to raise touristic attractiveness of the region, to make it more friendly for Chinese tourists, with a special program highlighting amber as the brand. There is a plan to apply to UNESCO to give historic buildings belonging to the amber combine the status of architectural heritage, and to certify a touristic road on the European level, including “amber region” sightseeings and world amber towns in Russia, Lithuania, Poland and Denmark.
Auction of large amber stones weighing more than 1 kilo was the highlight for mass media attention. Amber combine sold 18 stones from the total number of 30, mined since 2011 till 2017, and received 12,5 million roubles in the deal, with the highest rate for one stone equal to 2,25 mln roubles.
Professional contest, organized alongside with the system used for World skills contest, for amber processing competence, included 5 competitors aged up to 30 y.o., their work was estimated by 9 experts.