VICENZA — With Baselworld navigating troubled waters, VicenzaOro, which closed its September edition here last week, stands out as a safe harbor for Italian high-end jewelry companies.

“The changes at Baselworld were disastrous for our sector so I doubt we will go back there again,” said Laura Bicego, founder and creative director of Vicenza-based jewelry label Nanis. “We don’t really understand what’s happening there and I think that VicenzaOro will truly benefit from this situation. Actually, here we are working really well and we are meeting new clients from around the world.”

A newcomer at VicenzaOro, Alessio Boschi, an Italian jewelry brand which relocated to Bangkok five years ago, was so positively impressed by the trade show that it will skip Baselworld next year.

“We love being here, we feel welcome, which is something not happening in Basel anymore,” said Alessio Boschi’s marketing and finance manager Valeria Boschi. “The quality of the buyers is really high and the services we found here in Vicenza are much better than those at our disposal in Basel, which is also crazily expensive.”

Rings from Alessio Borghi's "Peacock Dance" collection

Rings from Alessio Borghi’s “Peacock Dance” collection  Courtesy Photo

This positive feedback, confirmed by the record turnout of 20,000 visitors, 40 percent of them coming from international markets, are “the results of a path we started forging in 2014 with the launch of the Boutique Show’s new format,” said Matteo Marzotto, executive vice president of Italian Exhibition Group, the organizer of jewelry trade show VicenzaOro. “Focused on creating not the biggest, but the most beautiful marketplace in the world, we are very strict when it comes to selecting the exhibitors because we want to showcase only the best of what the greatest players of the whole jewelry supply chain have to offer.”

According to Marco Carniello, director of VicenzaOro jewelry and fashion division, the trade show is taking advantage of both the investments in the fairground and its authentic Italian roots.

“From our point of view, we see an increased interest in VicenzaOro linked to the highest segment of the jewelry offering. I think we now have a leadership in this specific segment through the investments we made to boost the ‘Icon’ pavilion, which is the one expressing the excellence of the trade show’s offering,” Carniello said. “For sure, being Italian is a strength of our trade show. Here, we are able to transform a business trip in an experience. This is something we really care for and that this season we achieved through a range of initiatives we organized during the week also outside the fair, including collaborations with stores and restaurants in the center of Vicenza.”

A necklace from Nanis collection

A necklace from the Nanis collection.  Courtesy Photo

The international appeal of VicenzaOro is confirmed by the data provided by the trade show. This September, the number of Chinese and U.S. visitors was up 73 and 23 percent, respectively, while the total amount of European and Emirati visitors was stable, compared with the spring edition last year.

“There are social, economical and political factors influencing the entire fashion industry, but for the jewelry sector we always have to consider the current value of gold and precious stones,” Marzotto said. “In general, we can say that the United States remains the biggest global market with increased domestic consumptions, while Russia is facing a serious instability of the ruble.”

According to Carniello, Chinese buyers are also making a comeback thanks to a reduction in the import duties, while the Middle East is going through a difficult moment because of the local political tensions.

Despite the macro economic trends, Boschi highlighted that, while China remains the brand’s biggest market, at VicenzaOro she saw an important comeback of Russian buyers and also she registered a great interest from European retailers. “I think they were really impressed by the peculiarity of our one-of-a-kind creations, which feature a wide range of hidden details,” she explained.

Showcasing a flamboyant, rich and opulent aesthetic, Alessio Boschi is specialized on artisanal, exclusive pieces reproducing an array of iconic shapes, including architectural landmarks, botanical elements and animals. For example, at VicenzaOro the company presented the Florence bracelet featuring a mix of pink gold, morganite — a rare pink beryl — as well as diamonds, which are combined to re-create the facade of Florence’s iconic Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral.

Taking inspiration from the architecture of Rajasthan, India, and the country’s signature peacocks, the “Peacock Dance” collection includes an impressive ring with a central opal surrounded by purple spinels, emeralds and yellow diamonds.

A ring and a bracelet from Roberto Coin's Sauvage Privé collection

A ring and a bracelet from Roberto Coin’s Sauvage Privé collection.  Courtesy Photo

Among the novelties at the trade show, Viceza-based jewelry company D’orica launched at VicenzaOro a new brand called Treesure, which offers creations where 18K yellow gold is combined with lightweight, high-end silk, which the company produces internally in a revamped traditional spinning mill.

The pieces, which reveal a chic, minimal design, span from simple pendants to more complex bracelets and long rings, all infused with an ethereal feel. Retailing from 300 euros to 14,000 euros, according to Treesure sales manager Rosario Tassoni, they expect to be carried in between 150 and 200 jewelry stores in the world, with a focus on the Middle East, Asia and Northern Europe.

“We definitely think that these types of products might be appealing also for fashion stores but we understand that selling jewelry is not so simple, since final clients have to fully understand the value of raw materials,” said Tassoni, who revealed that the company managed to sell its most expensive piece during an event organized in collaboration with VicenzaOro in the center of Vicenza in conjunction with the trade show.

One of the first jewelry designers in the early Nineties to start looking at jewelry pieces as fashion accessories, Bicego is developing a line of exquisite creations, all crafted from yellow gold, embossed by hand to obtain a mat finishing, which are designed to be worn in different ways. For example, a bracelet with diamonds can be easily transformed into a necklace, or a chain can become a belt.

Counting international offices in Miami and Tokyo, Nanis, which sells its collections globally, is gearing up to open in November a shop-in-shop inside an art gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. “The United States are an important market for us, which we entered through close partnerships with specialty stores,” Bicego said.

Retail expansion is in the agenda of Roberto Coin. The company, which has just unveiled a store in Kuala Lumpur, is opening in November a boutique on the posh French island of Cavallo and another shop at the new hyper-luxury area of Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates in December.

Responding to the contractions of traditionally appealing countries, in particular Russia, Roberto Coin is also exploring new markets, such as Australia, where the jewelry label is opening its first corner inside a department store in Sydney.

Product-wise, the brand continued its experimentations on different fronts. If the new “Sauvage Privé” collection includes creations combining gold, diamonds, malachite and black jade cut in graphic, rigorous silhouettes, the Roman Barocco line offers a modern take on more classic jewelry pieces where twisted gold threads are matched with inset diamonds.

Rings from Pasquale Bruni's Stelle in Fiore collection

Rings from Pasquale Bruni’s Stelle in Fiore collection.  Courtesy Photo

Alongside its offering of exclusive one-of-a-kind pieces, including rings showing fire opal combined with a pave setting of sapphires, as well as aquamarine and light tourmaline matched with diamonds, Pasquale Bruni expanded its collections of ready-to-wear jewelry creations, which are designed with a peculiar focus on fit. For example, the rings of the “Stelle in Fiore” line, which are crafted from gold paired with white, black and Champagne diamonds, are conceived to be easily matched and worn together on the same hand. Versatility is also key for the brand, which combined the floral rings of the “Giardini Segreti” range with silk scarves, enabling someone to wear the jewel not only on the hand, but also at the neck, at the waist or on the head as a hair accessory.

In addition, Pasquale Bruni introduced a range of velvet and eco-leather clutches and small bags that come with a detachable chain and brooch. These are available exclusively at the brand’s stores in Rome and Milan, as well as the corner at Parisian department store Printemps. In the French city, the company, which is celebrating this month the relocation of its Roman boutique to Via del Babuino, aims to open a store, while continuing to strengthen its partnership with department stores in the United States, where Pasquale Bruni has recently inaugurated a headquarters with a showroom in New York City.

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