Buongiorno from Italy, where I just made my first visit to the VicenzaOro show (still running through Jan. 23!). Thanks to the Italian Exhibition Group, I was fortunate enough to be part of an international hosted press delegation, and I don’t think it’s the prosecco talking when I say that this show is fantastico in every way. (But let’s not discount the importance of a periodic glass of prosecco. And when I say periodic, I mean at lunch, while you’re at a booth admiring jewelry, at the end of the day in an Aperol Spritz.…) Thanks to the American and British journalists for making the trip so much fun and to the exhibitors who were so welcoming and friendly. Watch this space for more coverage soon, but in the meantime, here are just a few things I learned from my first VO.
1. Emeralds are still in.
Surprise, surprise, right? I thought another colored stone might be the star at VO. But it’s time to just give in already! Though Picchiotti had tons of diamonds (and sapphires and rubies) in its Xpandable line, the emeralds were definitely the stars. And when I asked Nikos Koulis to point out his favorite piece in his booth, the Greek designer didn’t hesitate for one minute. He then turned and pointed to a Deco-inspired emerald, diamond, and translucent enamel necklace (pictured at top).
2. It’s never too early to start thinking about summer.
Bright ocean blue and sun-kissed coral—what I’ve come to consider the unofficial Italian colors—were all over the displays. It may be 40 degrees in Vicenza (or 6 in New York City…sorry, everyone!), but designers—such as Italy’s Eva Nueva—clearly had warm weather on the brain.
3. It pays to travel.
In 2016, Paris-based designer Lydia Courteille took us to Ethiopia with her green tourmaline– and tsavorite-heavy Queen of Sheba collection. Now, she’s ventured to Guatemala with Nuevo Mundo, an insanely colorful tribute to a recent three-week trip there. Inspired by Mayan pyramids, masks, and fabrics, the pieces are simultaneously playful and awe-inspiring.
4. Think about how much time you need to walk the show—then add a day.
Even though my feet were killing me (and I was wearing comfortable shoes, I promise!), I could have used at least another day or two to simply wander the halls of the show. I found Italian designer Alasia Gioielli when I was wandering aimlessly around Hall 5—and I’m so glad I did. Her enamel rings are so bright and cheerful!
5. Get thee to the jewelry museum.
The Museo del Gioiello, located inside the stunningly beautiful Basilica Palladiana, is an incredible sight to behold—and even if you’re not in Italy for VicenzaOro, it’s worth a trip to Vicenza (which is only a 45-minute or so drive from Venice). It has the most extensive collection of JAR pieces I’ve ever seen outside of his Met exhibit in 2013. And it was so cool to see works by modern masters such as Taffin and Oscar Heyman. If you’re a jewelry lover, it’s a must-visit.
(All photos courtesy of Melissa Bernardo)