Vicenzaoro 2024: An Energetic Show Radiating Positivity

At Vicenzaoro’s 70th edition, 1,300 exhibiting brands were showcased, with 40% of the booths occupied by international exhibitors representing 37 countries. Additionally, the show organisers welcomed ~ 600 buyers from 72 countries. Richa Goyal Sikri provides a comprehensive on-the-ground report.

Ask anyone in the gem and jewellery industry on their outlook for 2024, and most would reply with caution. The last quarter of 2023 saw sales drop at most gem and jewellery exhibitions around the world. The Russia-Ukraine war is entering its third year, and the Israel-Hamas war threatens to engulf the Middle East, which is considered a top market for high jewellery. Additionally, China, a major consumer of diamonds, gems, and jewellery, is experiencing an economic slowdown, along with Europe.

In this environment, the Vicenzaoro jewellery show — considered the largest jewellery, goldsmith, and watchmaking marketplace in Europe, and one of the top three in the world – marked its 70th anniversary. The show opened on 19th January 2024 in the picturesque, Italian town of Vicenza, which enjoys a rich history of over 700 years of jewellery manufacturing.

The aisles at Vicenzaoro were bustling with buyers.

The marketplace offered the best of the jewellery supply chain, with high-end products and goldsmithing, the excellence of production from the Made in Italy manufacturing districts, and product previews from the top international players. Other offerings included components, semi-finished goods, diamonds, gemstones, packaging, services (such as visual merchandising), and contemporary watchmaking.

Vicenzaoro hosted a parallel exhibition, T. Gold, an international showcase of technology and machinery for goldsmithing, underlining Italy’s position as the one of the top knowledge centres, and a successful place source tools, tech, and machinery for gem and jewellery manufacturing.

As buyers walked into the main entrance, escalators brought them to the VO Vintage section, now in its fifth edition, which featured vintage watches and jewellery.

The VO Vintage section.

Contrary to the doom and gloom outlook of Q4, 2023, the Vicenzaoro team delivered a vibrant marketplace that was radiating positivity. During the weekend, the aisles were bursting with visitors, and exhibitors juggled pre-appointments with walk-ins, leaving little time for lunch or a cappuccino.

International jewellery brand, Fabergé, reported their best-ever sales performance at Vicenzaoro. Their stand was full of colour as Fabergé brought their heritage egg pendant collection, magnificent high jewellery from their collaboration with designer James Ganh, and wondrous Fabergé eggs, which opened to display miniature floral sculptures made with gold, carved gems, diamonds, all featuring their signature style of guilloche enamelling on gold.

New Shanghai ring by Carrera y Carrera in white gold with a green diamond eye for the dragon. Photo by Richa Goyal Sikri

Home-grown brand FOPE, manufacturing in Vicenza since its establishment in 1929, exemplified high-quality and high-tech Italian craftsmanship in gold with a superb collection that uses patented technology to make gold chains flexible (stretchable) with hidden clasps. Acknowledging the shift towards colour, FOPE’s latest offering included exquisite rings set with colourful gems accentuated with natural diamonds.

FOPE’s new collection of gold rings featuring coloured gemstones with natural diamonds. Photo by Richa Goyal Sikri

Spanish jewellery brand, Carrera y Carrera, brought their ‘New Shanghai’ collection, paying homage to the Chinese ‘year of the dragon’. New Shanghai presented meticulously crafted jewels in the form of yellow and white gold dragons embellished with precious stones.

Colour was also on full display at Picchoitti, with precious and high-grade gems and diamonds captivating the eye from a distance. A notable jewel in Picchoitti’s collection was their amphitheatre ring featuring an untreated, dazzling orange garnet, which some in the trade refer to as ‘fanta colour’. The garnet played centre-stage as natural diamonds in both baguette and round form surrounded the gem, mirroring the silhouette of an amphitheatre.

Amphitheatre ring by Picchiotti featuring an untreated orange garnet in the centre surrounded by natural diamonds. Photo by Richa Goyal Sikri

The show also featured a Design Room, where artists such as Karen Suen, Alessio Boschi, and Musson, among others, enthralled buyers and visitors with their creations.

Top examples of the high-end jewellery range included luxury brands from the Italian gold districts, together with the best of European production, such as Damiani, Roberto Coin, and Crivelli. Vicenzaoro also saw Vhernier’s sculpture jewellery for the first time, and Annamaria Cammilli, Roberto De Meglio, Palmiero, Chantecler, Gismondi 1754.

Corals by De Simone Fratelli at Vicenzaoro. Photo by Richa Goyal Sikri

International exhibitors included Schreiner Fine Jewellery, Hans Krieger, Giloy, Breuning, Niessing, Jörg Heinz and Heinz Mayer from Germany; Dámaso Martinez and Facet from Spain; and France was represented by Akillis and Djula. Also present was Autore, the Australian pearl jewellery specialist.

The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC) hosted an Indian Pavilion with 35 exhibitors and 45 booths showcasing exquisite contemporary jewellery designs, an array of coloured gemstones ranging from calibrated goods to higher quality of emerald layouts for a variety of jewellery categories.

Emerald and diamond necklaces by Indian exhibitor Spectrum Jewels. Photo by Richa Goyal Sikri

According to industry estimates, approximately 90% of Zambian emeralds are cut and polished in Jaipur, and 95% of natural diamonds from worldwide sources are processed in Surat, India. The country also boasts of jewellery manufacturing centres in both silver and gold categories. GJEPC’s motto was prominently displayed at the India Pavilion, “If it can’t be made anywhere, it can be made in India.”

Raj Kamal, Consul (counsellor) and Head of Chancery, Consulate General of India, Milan, visited the pavilion and interacted with the exhibitors. He was also felicitated by the Vicenzaoro team at the show’s inaugural session to acknowledge India as a long-standing partner.

Paola De Luca, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Trendvision Jewellery and Forecasting for the Italian Exhibition Group (IEG), organisers of Vicenzaoro, led a lively discussion on ‘Celebrating the values of Made in Italy for future legacy’ featuring Lucia Silvestri, Creative Director, Bulgari, Amedeo Scognamiglio, celebrated international jewellery designer, and cameo artist, Mariella Milani, seasoned Italian journalist, and Alessia Crivelli, GM Crivelli. The group shared various insights and words of wisdom based on their experiences. Some highlights included, “Consumers are not stupid to just buy anything. They seek authenticity, and we need to do more to protect and enhance our Made in Italy heritage” – Mariella Milani.

Silvestri spoke of her experiences selecting coloured gems in India, especially Jaipur. “While aspects like colour, cut, clarity, treatment are fundamental for gemstone selection, we must not forget the emotional quotient,” Silvestri said. “While we look towards the future, we must not forget about our master goldsmiths. Young people have to follow them with humility and learn the art of making things by hand.” Crivelli shared, “We have to tell our story, otherwise no one will.” Sixth generation cameo artist, and jewellery designer, Scognamiglio said, “When you design jewellery you have to choose your customer, think of who you are designing for? What is their lifestyle? A designer is like a DJ mixing old sounds of the sixties with something modern.” He said, “The jewellery industry is making the mistake of being in line with fashion. Jewellery is more personal. Someone thinks a lot before buying jewellery. Sometimes it takes years for a purchase to materialise. Following these fast schemes like in fashion doesn’t work for jewellery.”

Moderator, Paola De Luca concluded by underlining the importance of (His) storytelling, AI Renaissance, heritage celebration, cultural memory, the art of handmade, coloured gemstones, building one’s brand, respect for artisans, among other points.

VOJ24 Trendvision event by Paola De Luca

Other notable events at Vicenzaoro included seminars conducted by CIBJO, the world jewellery confederation, on CSR and responsible development for the jewellery industry. The educational programme brought to Vicenzaoro some of the sector’s most authoritative players with representatives from De Beers Group, Kering and Cartier and institutions such as Platinum Guild international (PGI), World Gold Council (WGC), Natural Diamond Council, Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and the Gemfields Group, among others. In the presence of CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri , the meetings ranged from topics such as technology at the service of traceability, responsible sourcing and security for diamonds and precious stones, to the growing availability of big data – and the software capable of analysing it – to reduce some risks that for decades have accompanied the jewellery trade, and sustainable best practices in the gold-jewellery industry.

Foreign attendance at Vicenzaoro increased with 60% of the total, arriving from 141 countries around the world, up from 136 in 2023: with Europe counting 53%, the Middle East 9.3%, Asia 10.5%, Turkey 8%, North America 7.2%, Latin America 5.1%, and Africa 4.9%.

The largest increases are for China (+188%), Japan (+44%), Colombia (+38%), Brazil (+36%) and France (+25%). Among the new entries at Vicenzaoro: Tanzania, El Salvador, and Honduras. Veneto, Lombardy, Tuscany, and Piedmont confirm an extremely positive trend for Italian attendance, which saw an overall increase of 3.2% compared to 2023.

The close of Vicenzaoro January 2024 will mark the opening of the building site that will return a new layout to the Vicenza Expo Centre for the September 2026 edition. The new 22,000-square-meter hall will replace Hall 2, the historic “snail” built in 1971, and Hall 5, to provide more space for exhibitors and better “navigability” for visitors inside the building: an investment of about 60 million euros, fully financed by the Italian Exhibition Group (IEG).

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