Why Dubai? Wrapping Up VicenzaOro Dubai 2016

At the press conference marking the opening of the second annual VicenzaOro Dubai (VOD) show in mid-April, Corrado Facco, vice president of organizer DV Global Link—a joint venture between Fiera di Vicenza and the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)—made a bold prediction: “Dubai can be the future of the -jewelry industry around the globe,” said Facco, who also serves as Fiera di Vicenza’s managing director. “This is the ambitious aim of this project.”

To walk the aisles of the fair, however, was to understand just how global it is already. Among the 400 exhibitors who participated in VOD—held April 14–17 at the DWTC—150 were Italian. The rest hailed from such places as India, Turkey, Greece, China—even Israel. According to organizers, more than 10,000 visitors representing 107 countries attended the event in the United Arab Emirates’ most populous and glitzy city.

“Dubai has been an integral part of the gold supply to our country,” said Praveen Shanker Pandya, chairman of the Mumbai, India–based Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, which brought 66 Indian firms to VOD. “We import over 1,000 tons of gold every year.” That fact was made clear in the Indian Pavilion, where lavish displays of the yellow metal were as ubiquitous as Dubai’s construction crews. The jewels at Delhi’s esteemed Hazoorilal Jewellers, for example, took the form of elaborate breastplate-style necklaces. 

The show’s diverse exhibitors came together at an April 14 catwalk show that featured eye-catching designs from Italy’s Roberto Coin, Mumbai-based Bapalal Keshavlal, and Juan Juan Hu, an independent designer from Shanghai who showed a new Jade collection. 

Beyond the growing potential of the Middle Eastern jewelry market—and Dubai’s role as its indisputable hub—the conversation at VOD was dominated by talk of lab-grown diamonds. 

“Natural diamonds are of crucial importance to the livelihoods of millions of people,” Alex Popov, chairman of World Diamond Mark, said at a seminar. “Synthetic diamonds are perfectly nice—but don’t forget it’s an industrial product. This is what we need to bring to the consciousness of the public.” 

Top: Bracelet in 18k gold with diamonds and jade, $33,000; inset: convertible brooch/pendant in 18k gold with diamonds and jade, $27,000, Juan Juan Hu, Shanghai; juanjuanhu98@163.com; juanjuanhu.com