Dubai in the Sky: All About the First VicenzaOro Dubai

The inaugural VicenzaOro Dubai show proved that beauty blooms in the desert

Matteo Marzotto thinks of Fiera di Vicenza as a tree. “We have to be rooted in Italy,” said the group’s president on opening day of the debut VicenzaOro Dubai. “But…our arms have to go around the world.” Dubai, he explained, is “the belly button of the world.”

Perhaps a mixed metaphor, but you can understand why the powers that be behind Italy’s VicenzaOro fairs chose to partner with the Dubai World Trade Centre for the four-day VicenzaOro Dubai show, which ran April 23–26. Where better to pitch internationally sourced high-end jewelry than the tourist-friendly, ultramodern, luxury-obsessed City of Gold?

A prime example of the lavishness on display: the intricate plique-à-jour enamel and precious gem creations of Jaipur, India–based Masterstrokes by Jewels Emporium. “No piece is left unfinished,” said managing director Anup Bohra, flipping over a pendant to reveal the stained glass–like detail. He produced an amethyst and tourmaline ring literally dripping with briolette diamonds, delicately enameled in white and gray to represent melting ice. “I can do 350 colors,” he promised.

The inaugural VicenzaOro Dubai hosted more than 500 brands from about 25 countries: Italy and the United Arab Emirates were particularly well represented, as was India. The 6,000 or so buyers and attendees boasted an even more global pedigree, having come to Dubai from some 110 countries. 

Quartz flower ring in 14k gold with Chocolate Diamonds; $3,350; Le Vian, Great Neck, N.Y.; 877-253-8426;

“As in all other fairs worldwide, the buyers are looking for new concepts and ideas,” said Vicenza, Italy–based designer Roberto Coin, who presented his gilded jewels to “mainly important gold buyers” in an oversize booth kitted out as an Arabian Nights–style tent. “This one has been the first edition of VOD, and with the proper investment, it could become an important meeting point for Middle East, African, and Indian countries,” he added.

“I met mostly with buyers from the Middle Eastern and South American market,” said Divyanshu Navlakha, owner of Houston-based design house Sutra. “Unsurprisingly, the preferred gem of the show was diamond.”

That might explain the buzz surrounding David Mor’s booth. The New York–based brand stopped traffic with drop earrings, cocktail rings, and necklaces featuring platinum-set fancy colored and colorless diamonds (all D-E-F, thank you very much).

Speaking of diamonds, Le Vian brought its flavored varieties—Chocolate and Vanilla, that is—to Dubai for the first time. The company also touted its lifestyle collection—a savvy move, considering that in fashion-forward Dubai, shoes and handbags can be prime statement pieces for even ultra-conservative Emirati.