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VicenzaOro Winter 2014: Decidedly Positive Signs

VicenzaOro Winter 2014: Decidedly Positive Signs

19 March 2014

By Diana S. Zimmerman

Once again, the picturesque Italian city of Vicenza was host to VicenzaOro Winter, the first in the trilogy of Italian trade fairs for 2014. Held in January each year, it opened and closed its doors on a very positive note.

Among the positive signs seen at this edition of VicenzaOro was an increase in the number of foreign buyers attending the six-day event. Over 1,500 brands exhibiting in nine pavilions attracted around 30,000 visitors from 106 nations, including nearly 7,800 from outside of Italy, an increase of six percent over the 2013 show. The number of Italian traders was also up by one percent. And the participation of eleven new countries further illustrated the overall optimism for the industry.

Matteo Marzotto, President of Fiera di Vicenza (photo: Dario Raimondi).
Matteo Marzotto, President of Fiera di Vicenza (photo: Dario Raimondi).

“We are extremely happy with the results of VicenzaOro Winter 2014,” stated Matteo Marzotto, the new President of Fiera di Vicenza—who is very much a visionary. “Going back to the theme of the event, ‘Ecosystem Italy. The Future. Now,’ the figures confirm that the possibility for positive change in the future is here in the present. But it is not just a question of figures. During the show, the atmosphere in the pavilions was one of realistic optimism and well-grounded faith. Buyers, the public, and the media all appreciated the best expression of ‘Well Made in Italy.’”

Casato Roma, Mattioli, Stefan Hafner.
Casato Roma, Mattioli, Stefan Hafner.

Corrado Facco, Managing Director of Fiera di Vicenza, added: “The jewellery industry economy is currently moved by export markets, specifically those outside Europe, which is why increased numbers of Russian-speaking buyers and those from the UAE, the Gulf states, and the Americas are a great satisfaction for us. VicenzaOro has confirmed its status as a Global Glamorous Event.”

Brosway, Fope.
Brosway, Fope.

These positive signs are a reflection of Fiera di Vicenza’s strategy to position and internationalize itself as a global business hub that symbolizes the Italian luxury lifestyle. To further expand upon this focus, the fair is participating in twenty events worldwide to showcase the uniqueness and creativity of Italian brands. And, in March of 2013, Fiera di Vicenza was accredited by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) to implement educational and other programs concerning Corporate Social Responsibility in the jewellery supply chain. It is the first time that the UN has recognized the contribution of a trade fair organization in the areas of ethical and environmental policies under the auspices of the ECOSOC.


The show featured a series of educational seminars and events that centred on a variety of topics, including: Mega trends for jewellery as compiled by the Fair’s Trendvision Jewellery + Forecasting division; presentation of the third annual Andrea Palladio International Jewellery Awards, dedicated to excellence in international jewellery, from design to manufacture, distribution, retail, communication, and websites; the third edition of the international contest Next Jeneration Jewellery Talent Contest for young designers; and the Jewellery Technology Forum (JTF) dedicated to new technologies and trends in the jewellery manufacturing sector, a part of T-GOLD, an event featuring Made-in-Italy machinery and technology for the jewellery sector, now in its 37th edition.

Anthony Tammaro, Vendorafa
Anthony Tammaro, Vendorafa

One of the show’s most important sessions, “Conflict Mineral Legislation in Europe and in the United States: How It Impacts both the Domestic and Export Jewellery Business,” brought to light two opposing sides of the legislation. Organized by Fiera Vicenza, CIBJO, the Responsible Jewellery Council, and Confindustria Federorafi, it featured a panel of experts on ethical trade in the jewellery industry and the regulation of minerals from conflict areas, specifically the Great Lakes region of Africa. Moderated by Simon Brooke, a British journalist, the seminar was led by Corrado Facco, Managing Director of Fiera di Vicenza, and Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President. Other panellists were Michael Allchin, Chief Executive and Assay Master at the Birmingham Assay Office and President of the CIBJO Precious Metals Commission; Marieke van der Mijn, Standards Coordinator at the Responsible Jewellery Council; Maria Benedetta Francesconi of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development; Philip Olden, responsible for managing development and implementation of responsible sourcing protocols for gold at retailer Signet; and Marco Falezza, Jewellery Operations Director of Gucci Group, who represented Confindustria Federorafi.

The discussion centred on the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act in the United States that requires public companies to ascertain if their products contain conflict minerals and to determine the nations of origin of these minerals, as well as similar legislation pending in the European Union. In his opening remarks, Corrado Facco underscored the importance of Dodd-Frank, “What this means is that quite a significant percentage of the jewellery traded in the USA will end up in the display cases of publicly-traded companies that will need to monitor their supply chain. In other words, if you export or are looking to export to the United States, it is likely that Dodd-Frank will matter to you.”

My Vice, Rosato, Le Vian
My Vice, Rosato, Le Vian

Michael Allchin presented another side to the legislative initiative, suggesting that voluntary processes such as the OECD Due Diligence Guidance would be more efficient. He stated that the easiest route to compliance for companies is to avoid buying gold from Africa’s Great Lakes region. But, he stressed that the damage done to local communities— many of which don’t have alternative means of a livelihood—is devastating and often counterproductive.

On the surface the issue seems to be simple—pass legislation that prohibits the import of gold from conflict countries. In reality, there is a much deeper problem that is occurring because of these new laws, one with dire consequences, he went on to explain. For many villagers— both children and adults—who live in conflict countries, mining gold and minerals is their source of livelihood. When they are not allowed to sell what they mine through reputable sources, black marketers come in and exploit them even further, often forcing them to sell at prices that are far below market value. In many areas, legislation that is “well intended” is actually devastating the very people it is supposed to help.

Gaetano Cavalieri concluded the discussion with these comments: “Above all, we need to consider the commitment we have as members of a responsible business community to society. If the end result of conflict minerals legislation is that, as a rule of thumb, companies avoid trading with the central African gold producers because it is the easiest way to achieve compliance, then we may have avoided doing the wrong thing, but we certainly did not do the right thing.”

Chimento., MVee
Chimento., MVee

Another fascinating session featured 3D printing. “Around the Future: 3D Printing for Jewellery” was moderated by Alba Cappellieri, Professor of Jewellery Design at Milan Polytechnic. The display showcased the work of 32 international designers from Italy, the USA, Israel, Taiwan, Holland, England, and Japan, who used state-of-the-art 3D printing technologies to create their own jewellery designs—some of which were quite spectacular.

Watching the printing being done was almost as fascinating as the techniques that are employed. According to Cappellieri, three-dimensional printing is a costeffective means of creating single pieces of jewellery, as opposed to thousands at a time. It is also well suited to meet the needs of designers, who are able to create forms that would otherwise be impossible to achieve with traditional jewellerymaking techniques.

Dada Arrigoni, Annamaria Cammilli
Dada Arrigoni, Annamaria Cammilli

Design Directions

Showcasing Design Directions always plays a crucial role in the Fair’s importance. This year, as usual, colour was virtually everywhere. From diamonds of every hue to the classic rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, to the more exotic tourmalines, opals, and garnets, as well as the more affordable coloured gems of every sort. Enamel also played a role in providing harmonious displays of colour.

Roberto Bravo, Moraglione, Picchiotti
Roberto Bravo, Moraglione, Picchiotti

Yellow gold, with and without diamonds or gemstones, was prevalent. Nature-inspired pieces continued as a dominant trend. Flowers, leaves, animals, birds, butterflies, and snakes along with a cadre of underwater creatures and dragons set with precious and semi-precious stones played important roles. The “Goth” look took centre stage for a number of brands, often-featuring black and white diamonds, enamel, and ruby-red accents. The lacy look ranged from bold to bashful in a variety of metals and gems.

Silver and enamel pendant in the brand's signature teddy bear motif by TOUS.
Silver and enamel pendant in the brand’s signature teddy bear motif by TOUS.

First-time exhibitor TOUS, a jewellery and accessories brand from Spain, offered a variety of products from jewellery to watches, handbags, and perfumes. The brand also introduced an innovative marketing campaign targeted at 8 to 12-year-old girls, which is certainly one of the freshest new brand strategies to come along in years. Like their whimsical line of teddy bear jewellery and accessories, the campaign is understated, yet very powerful.

White and black diamond ring from the Fusion collection by Annomis.
White and black diamond ring from the Fusion collection by Annomis.

Another first time exhibitor at the show was Annomis Jewellers of Antwerp, Belgium, with a booth designed by top Italian architects to match the company’s image and style. Annomis launched three new diamond collections, offering a range of commercial products, from medium to high-end pieces in a variety of materials.

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