Now that the proverbial dust has settled and the jetlag has passed, we’re checking in with organizers and attendees of the September 2021 VicenzaOro show—and like their Las Vegas counterparts, they’re very happy with the results.
The five-day fair, which ran Sept. 10–14 in Vicenza, Italy, welcomed more than 800 exhibitors and nearly 80% of the number of visitors that attended in 2019—results that organizers described in a post-show release as “well beyond expectations.”
Said showgoer Shara Almeida, merchandise director of gold and silver at Cranston, R.I.–based Luxury Brand Holdings (its retailers include Ross-Simons and Sidney Thomas): “The jewelry industry is resilient and found a way to overcome the inherent challenges of doing business in a COVID world. Tools like Zoom were definitely saviors in getting fresh product out to our eager customers. But there is absolutely no replacement to in-person buying.”
Planning for the September edition began back in February, said Marco Carniello, global exhibition director for jewelry and fashion for the Italian Exhibition Group, which presents VicenzaOro. “The biggest challenge,” he added, “was to plan the show when we were all in lockdown, and to completely change the format of the fair.” Carniello is referring to “physical, open, and inclusive” booths—low walls, open on top, with capacity limitations proportional to their sizes. “They did a nice job—they did the booths smaller and open-aired so people didn’t feel like they were closed-in,” said private jeweler Mark Mazzarese of M.A. Mazzarese & Associates in Kansas City, Mo.
Masks were mandatory. Aisles were wider; seating was distanced at presentations. There were even two COVID-19 testing tents in the parking lot outside the exhibition hall. And, perhaps most important, to enter the show, everyone had to present a Green Pass—proof of vaccination, recent recovery from COVID-19, or a recent negative test result—or the equivalent. (As for foreign visitors, in order to board my flight, I needed to show my vaccination card and a recent negative test; I also needed to get another negative test before I returned to the States.)
“They do a much better job than we do,” said Lisa Vinicur, co-owner of Diane Glynn Jewelry in Jenkintown, Pa., of the safety precautions. “Everywhere you went—the mask was mandatory everywhere. Everybody had to show their vax card. People were very conscientious about wearing their mask. And that goes for everywhere in Italy.”
Carniello and IEG are already planning the always-anticipated January version of the show (it runs Jan. 21–26), but first we had to ask what a few of the U.S. buyers came home with. Here’s an overview of the trends they saw—which you’ll be seeing soon in a store near you.
“I saw more vendors using modern techniques with ceramic mixed in…which I thought was really cool.”
“The one really neat look we’re seeing here and there was the expansion jewelry bracelets that look like classic line bracelets, which are done very nicely.”
“They’re doing a lot with the stretch bracelets with the diamonds and the color. I think they’re all doing some variation of that, and I think we’ll all see a lot more of that moving forward.”
Curb Links & Rose Gold
“I know that the paper-clip link has been on a hot streak, but the curb was out in major force at this show.”
“[The Italians] are always into rose gold more, so I saw more rose gold than I have before.”
Cool Color Mixing
“We saw the most beautiful bold gold designs. We noticed a new mix of color in colored-stone jewelry: pinks with yellows, navies with greens.”
—Rhett Outten, co-owner, Croghan’s Jewel Box, Charleston, S.C.
“Enamel was everywhere.”
Ed. Note: We saw enamel everywhere too!
Top: “One brand that I’ve started working with is J Jewels. I like the mixture of the materials between the enamel and the inlaid stones, and I thought their pricing was really good. That’s one that I think probably deserves a little shoutout,” said Mark Mazzarese. (Pictured: Demetra earrings in 18k pink gold with green enamel and diamonds, price on request; J Jewels Milano)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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