Home Featured Bangles, Pink Gold, Wearable Pieces – WWD

Bangles, Pink Gold, Wearable Pieces – WWD

Bangles, Pink Gold, Wearable Pieces – WWD

VICENZA, Italy — As the world grapples with geopolitical headwinds and inflation stifles economic prospects, jewelry is enjoying strong momentum as it has proven to be among the few sectors benefiting from the economic downturns, being traditionally considered a safe-haven asset.

Exhibitors at the five-day trade show VicenzaOro, which closed here on Tuesday, were upbeat about business, with the U.S. leading exports.

Rising energy costs, the spike in gold prices and the sourcing of precious stones have had little impact, even when jewelers had to revise their prices, especially as fine jewelry’s wealthy clients continued to tap into couture pieces.

“We are closely monitoring all factors potentially weighing in on manufacturing costs, but in light of our positioning it’s safe to say that we won’t feel that much pressure. Our clientele is not so impacted by fluctuations,” said Massimo Gismondi, chief executive officer of Gismondi 1754.

“High-end jewelry and precious gemstones have an advantage compared to other products. They’re investment purchases, when inflation and uncertainty rule, our market is very brisk,” echoed Andrea Visconti, CEO of the Giorgio Visconti firm.

Gismondi 1754’s Essenza ring in pink gold, pink sapphires and emerald.

According to industry association Federorafi, exports of Italian jewels jumped 36.5 percent in the January-to-May period to 4 billion euros, topping numbers for the same period in 2019. The U.S. is driving growth, increasing 24.9 percent in the period and accounting for roughly 15 percent of total exports.

“Jewelry has a peculiar behavior, it’s partly a safe-haven asset, but it was also a go-to product category during the pandemic, replacing experiences… However, from a macroeconomic standpoint, rising energy costs and the ongoing conflict may have an impact on GDP and ultimately on spending power,” cautioned Marco Carniello, global exhibition director of the fair.

Italian jewelry’s international appeal was reflected in the fair’s attendance, with foreign buyers and attendees accounting for more than half and increasing 20 percent versus the same edition in 2019. Italian Exhibition Group, the fair organizer, declined to disclose the exact numbers but said overall visitors increased 10 percent compared to 2019.

“We saw an unexpected surge in foreign attendees, proving the international credibility of VicenzaOro. Together with exhibitors we contributed to cement the show’s reputation also during COVID-19,” Carniello said of the show, which held IRL September editions in both 2020 and 2021 throughout the pandemic.

In this hopeful landscape, jewelry brands offered creations with double-digit weight in karats, designed for customers looking for one-of-a-kind pieces. These were flanked by everyday styles catering to younger demographics — also precious but more demure and easily wearable.

Examples included Roberto Coin’s Navarra collection inspired by the royal coat of arms of the Spanish region bearing chain-like motifs dotted in diamonds for bangles and rings as well as adjustable earrings and necklaces.

A bangle from Roberto Coin’s Navarra collection.

The lineup strongly appealed to U.S. customers, said Roberto Coin, president of the Vicenza-based company. He sounded upbeat, forecasting double-digit growth in 2022 and, while declining to provide revenue figures, he shared that the company is well-equipped to face future uncertainties. The forward-looking attitude also resonated in the Venetian Princess lineup, which was reengineered for rings with a new titanium flower-shaped body edged in gold and punctuated by 12 tiny diamonds.

Hardly describable as accessible collections, fine jewelers Damiani and Gismondi 1754 also embraced easier pieces. Gismondi 1754’s Clip and Clip Mia collections are what the seven-generation, family-run, Genoa-based jeweler considers its easier pieces.

Trading the company’s gemstone-first approach, the collection spotlights pink and white gold in the shape of clips bearing diamonds, yellow, pink and blue sapphires, as well as emeralds. On the opposite end of the jewelry philosophy, the company’s CEO, a skilled gemmologist, displayed a modernist take on fine jewelry with the Essenza range. It featured stones such as emeralds, diamonds and pink sapphires topping the heads of cuffs and cuff rings.

A standout creation from Gismondi 1754 part of the Essenza high-end range.

Andrea Erdna Barletta/Courtesy of Gismondi 1754

Attending Las Vegas’ Couture for the first time in 2019, the company tested U.S. waters, which turned out to be a strong market. Gismondi 1754 has forged ties with Neiman Marcus, where it’s poised to be carried across 15 locations nationwide by 2023, and has recently inked a deal with Saks.

“The U.S. represents a strong engine to business, local sales doubled in the first half versus the same period in 2021,” offered Gismondi “We noticed American clients are very drawn to our creations.”

Among the standout couture pieces, the Essenza cuff necklace with seven strings of cascading gemstones was red-carpet ready, with its mix of brilliant diamonds and deep-hued emeralds.

As revenues continued to grow in the first quarter of 2022, Gismondi forecast sales will jump 80 percent this year from 10 million euros in 2021.

A pink gold and diamond ring from Damiani’s Belle Époque Reel collection.

At the trade fair, Damiani introduced the Belle Époque Reel collection, a lineup of minimalist band rings, earrings and bangles with a decorative spin partly inspired by the jeweler’s signature Belle Époque cross. Circles and rectangles punctuated the pieces done in white, yellow and pink gold and enriched by diamonds.

Giorgio Visconti went as far as to trademark the Io Luce lineup, inspired by the signature single diamonds often used as complementary earrings or as pendants gracing the bosom.

First introduced in 2021 with earrings and necklaces, it represents the high jeweler’s more approachable collection and hero lineup. Crafted from white and pink gold, it featured a central diamond stone encircled by eight smaller ones contributing to brilliance. At the fair’s September edition the brand applied the same concept to rings with round- and pear-cut diamonds.

A cuff from Giorgio Visconti’s Io Luce trademarked collection.

The company’s CEO is looking for the fourth quarter to confirm a 20 to 25 percent increase in sales, the holiday season being a strong driver of yearly revenues.

Over the past few years, despite the havoc wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Giorgio Visconti ramped up its global footprint by consolidating exports to the Benelux area, Germany and France, as well as Eastern Europe.

It is also strengthening its presence in the U.S., although performances in the country and the whole American continent are even more highly dependent on the holiday season. Meanwhile, the Asian region, and China particularly, continue to be impacted by the stop-and-go retail closures, leaving Giorgio Visconti few short-term prospects in the country it has recently entered.

Likewise, Roberto Coin had been making a stronger push in China, after consolidating such markets as the U.S., Canada and the Middle East. The brand’s president said it is opening new retail locations in Saudi Arabia and France by end of the year.