Gold Expressions, the product development initiative launched in 2004 by the World Gold Council and the Vicenza Fair, has a new twist this year that aims to bring high-end Italian design concepts to a broader audience.
The Gold Expressions project was originally conceived as a way to stimulate desire for Italian gold jewelry. Central to this year’s collection was a new “diffusion” concept, where select designers’ pieces were reinterpreted to appeal to American buyers, similar to the way apparel designers create secondary lines to bring in a wider audience.
Gold jewelry wholesaler Bel-Oro, working with 48 of the 65 Gold Expressions participants, created secondary versions of their signature styles, tailored for American, rather than European, tastes. In some cases, the pieces were nearly identical visually, but the “diffusion” line was lighter weight. In other cases, a signature motif was borrowed from the original design and re-created in a piece of similar design but smaller scale.
Bel-Oro also plans to merchandise the Gold Expressions collection to its national retail partners in destination boutiques within retail stores. Each retailer will stock a selection of designers exclusive to their stores, and the store-within-a-store concept will be supported with signage and branded packaging, sales associate training, and consumer advertising.
This, the third Gold Expressions collection, launched at an open-house event in New York hosted by the Council, the Fair, and mining company AngloGold Ashanti. The 2006 collection, previewed by select retailers and editors on Dec. 6, comprises almost 400 pieces of gold jewelry from 65 Italian manufacturers.
John Calnon, U.S. managing director for the World Gold Council, told JCK the diffusion concept was a big hit with retailers, many of whom already indicated they’re planning to put the lines into their stores.
“It’s targeted squarely at the female self-purchase buyer—it’s a fashion purchase of fine jewelry. It’s priced right and it’s on trend.”
“American tastes are different from European tastes,” added Duvall O’Steen, manager of public relations and promotion for the World Gold Council. “The original designs are beautiful, but many wouldn’t sell in the United States, whereas the reinterpreted versions will sell.”
The primary design themes of the Gold Expressions collection for 2006 include:
Natural inspirations. This comprised flowers, leaves, butterflies, and more.
Spiritual inspirations. Yoga, green tea, the labyrinth, and the yin/yang symbol are among the ways spirituality is interpreted in design.
Whimsical delights. Charms and images of games, dice, chess pieces, seashells, and music themes are several examples of how designers look at the lighter side of life.
Solid gold. Designers play with size and structure in wires, textures, weaves, and other metal treatments.