April 14, 2024

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Vicenzaoro Jewelry And Watch Fair Celebrates 70th Anniversary In Style

8 min read

Artisanal heritage, human creativity, world-changing technologies and sustainable business practices: these vital aspects of the jewelry industry are animating the programming at Vicenzaoro January (VOJ) 2024. Organized by the Italian Exhibition Group (IEG), Vincenzaoro runs January 19 through January 23 at the Vicenza Expo Centre and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. As it happens, this writer is reporting from Vincenzaoro, also referred to as VO 70, in real time.

Last year, this mega-luxurious jewelry fair drew people from 136 countries. This year’s calendar of events is crowned by the Jewellery Boutique Show, which presents an array of fine and high jewelry from around the world, with a fitting focus on luxury jewels designed and made in Italy.

VO 70 also includes the fair-within-the-fair known as T.Gold, which showcases the newest and most innovative jewelry-making machines, instruments and technologies. The third link in Vicenzaoro’s 70th anniversary chain is formed by VO Vintage, a vintage watch and jewelry event. Open to the public for shopping, lectures and informal meetings from January 19 to 22, VO Vintage is a key destination for collectors and connoisseurs.

Influential Attendees

This year, VOJ is attracting fine jewelry launch and business growth experts like Elle Hill. The founder of U.K.-based Hill & Co., Hill is renowned for her work as Managing Director at Plukka, one of the first online fine jewelry boutiques. Hill recently added Milan-based jewelry business consultant Donatella Zappieri to serve as a Principal Consultant to Hill & Co., along with industry veterans Nan Lung Palmer and Stanley Zale.

With a client base spanning the jewelry industry supply chain from mine to market, Hill & Co. helps responsibly sourced diamond, gemstone and jewelry businesses valued “anywhere from less than $1million to over $1 billion execute our strategies that harness digital technology and increase revenue faster,” Hill notes on her LinkedIn page. Because VO 70 is a five-day show, “The annual January edition of Vicenzaoro is important,” Hill explained, “as it provides opportunities to initiate and nurture mutually beneficial relationships, strategies and collaborations. which are all driving forces of long-term business growth.”

The following overview of VO 70 events and presentations outlines how and why this winter trade fair synergistically shapes jewelry and watch design, manufacturing and media. Through its seminars, exhibitor-attendee meetings and social events, VO 70 also helps drive media coverage of sustainable gem and jewelry sourcing and ethical manufacturing.

Creativity and Refinement of Italian Jewelry

The “Made in Italy” stamp on Italian jewelry references Italian jewelry heritage, refined design and artisanship, along with excellent quality and creative power. Thus the “Made in Italy” stamp unites the country’s intangible jewelry heritage with fine jewels of the present and future. These considerations are highlighted in Trendvision Jewellery + Forecasting’s multimedia presentation, Preservation: Celebrating the Values of Made in Italy for Future Legacy. While Trendvision Jewellery + Forecasting is a research firm and think tank which serves the global jewelry industry by elucidating socio-cultural trends, artistic and scientific advances plus consumer behaviors, it also serves as IEG’s independent “Observatory,” which is directed by Paola De Luca.

Along with De Luca, speakers at the Trendvision event included Lucia Silvestri, Creative Director at Bulgari, Alessia Crivelli, Managing Director of Italian heritage jewelry company Crivelli Srl and founder of the Mani Intelligenti Foundation; Mariella Milani, RAI fashion journalist and Amedeo Scognamiglio, owner of Faraone Mennella and Amedeo’s Jewelry.

How Artistic Jewelry Brands Can Embody Fine Art

The power of art in jewelry and how this applies to the business of fine and high jewelry powered an important event that involved Isabella Traglio, Executive Board Member and Head of R & D at Vhernier, plus Milan-based Claudia D’Arpizio, a partner at Bain and Company. D’Arpizio directs Bain’s luxury goods vertical and is the lead author of the company’s annual Luxury Goods Report. (Produced in cooperation with Italy’s Altagamma Foundation, Bain’s Luxury Goods Report is one of the most cited sources of market information on the upmarket jewelry, fashion and other high end industries.) Also participating were Stellene Volandes, Editor in Chief of Town & Country, along with Randi Udell of U.S.-based London Jewelers, plus consultant and academic Corinne Dauger.

The art, style and history of Milanese goldsmith traditions was a theme of a Gem Talk organized in collaboration with IGI, the Italian Gemmological Institute. On the occasion of Vicenzaoro’s 70th anniversary, this surveyed the last 70 years of gemological history. Storytelling in jewelry is also on the agenda of the Retail Talks organized by Federpreziosi Confcommercio, with a close-up look at diamond sales.

Jewelry and Sustainability: Issues and Answers

Protecting jewelry designers’ intellectual property rights and the activation of sustainable and responsible businesses practices will be primary topics of seminars organized by CIBJO, the International Jewellery Confederation.

In collaboration with the non-profit organization Initiatives in Art and Culture (IAC), CIBJO will be presenting “Halo to Hammer: Reward and Risk in Social Media Marketing”. This was streamed live online on Saturday January 20 at 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. (GMT+1). In this timely panel discussion moderated by IAC President Lisa Koenigsberg, such issues as greenwashing and intellectual property rights, plus the potential for social media influencers to accurately inform, mislead or advocate for designers were explored. Participants included Tiffany Stevens, President of the CIBJO Ethics Commission, CEO and Chief Counsel of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, attorney Marco Amorese of AMSL Avvocati and Raluca Anghel, Head of External Affairs and Industry Relations at the Natural Diamond Council.

Other seminars organized by CIBJO included those with the World Gold Council; the Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030, and Platinum Guild International (PGI). Experts in sustainable innovation and social responsibility from the Kering Group and eminent global luxury brands like Cartier also participated.

Advances in Gold Jewelry Making and Technologies

Digitalization and new technologies are revolutionizing the jewelry industry, influencing design, materials and production processes. So are innovative new alloys and ultra-light forms made possible by interdisciplinary research. Whether it involves measuring gold content in metal, analyzing the authenticity of a diamond, designing a piece of jewelry or 3D printing, methods are becoming ever more refined, which in turn affects how jewelry designers plan and manifest their creations. These topics will dominate the Jewelry Technology Forum, an event in collaboration with Legor Group. This fact-based presentation will take place on January 21 with the participation of lecturers, researchers and international experts in metallurgy, gems, new jewelry technologies and certification standards. One of the most intriguing events on the VO 70 calendar promises to be the one involving the digital agency Art&sofT, which will be examining how blockchain technologies can be used to protect against counterfeiting.

Vintage Watches and Jewelry Shine in Open-to-Public VO Vintage

Open to the public and featuring an expertly curated marketplace and seminars for vintage watch and jewelry enthusiasts, the fifth edition of VO Vintage takes place January 19 – 22. Italy’s horological history is just as rich as its jewelry heritage, for its first watchmakers included Filippo Brunelleschi, Leonardo Da Vinci and Galileo Galilei. What’s more, Dante’s Divine Comedy, published in 1472, describes the mechanics of watches in several passages.

While VO Vintage offers the chance to buy unique and prestigious timepieces, it also presents the public with chances to learn and buy from expert dealers. Watch lovers also attend VO Vintage to stay informed about industry issues and trends by attending talks by key watch opinion leaders, watch brand executives and other experts.

VO Vintage’s events, seminars, interviews and training sessions ran from Friday, January 19th to Sunday, January 21st. Major watch events included a meeting with Giulio Papi, an eminent collector and historian of Italian watchmaking. Papi will discuss Audemars Piguet’s ultra-complication on Saturday, 20th January, along with Michele Mengoli and Jacopo Giudici, the director and founder of Watch Insanity, Italy’s leading web magazine covering “insane” timepieces, meaning those that embody the most advanced technical complications, uniquely artistic designs and exceptional materials. Also involved were Enrico Zazzali, editor of Revolution Italia, and Massimiliano Barricelli of Watchmaker.

The watch counterfeiting industry was surveyed by Ugo Pancani, Professor in Mechanical and Electronic Watchmaking and Trainer at Fondation de la Haute Horologerie, along with Carlo Maria Ceppi, Heritage Curator at Panerai, and legal expert and auditor Paolo Della Giorgia.

Locman, a 100% Made in Italy brand and top Italian producer of timepieces worn by internationally recognized artists like Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone and Nicole Kidman, was the subject of “Locman: Made in Italy Watches and Synergies”, which took place on Friday, 19 January. This talk covered new additions to the Locman collection and the role of Italian watches in the world market. Participants included Marco Mantovani, President of Locman, Admiral Lorenzano Di Renzo, Commander of the Livorno Naval Academy, Alessandro Cicognani, Licensing and Corporate Partnership Director at Ducati, Alessia Crivelli, General Manager of Crivelli Gioielli, and Sandro Fratini, owner of the L’O brand, Belvedere Angelico Srl. (This talk was moderated by Dody Giussani, Editor of the monthly magazine L’Orologio.)

For the first time ever, vintage jewelry glitters during VO Vintage, with four events surveying jewelry’s evolution throughout human history, all the way up to its future prospects. The growth of the vintage jewelry market in terms of communications, new generations of collectors and ultra-high product quality will be one of the topics addressed at the meeting with Manuel Menini, collector and founder of Milan’s Vincent Vintage Bijoux. This important talk was moderated by Federica Frosini, Editor-in-Chief of VO+ Jewellery Magazine. Another timely presentation explored important links between watchmaking and jewelry through the eyes of Laura Inghirami, Founder & Creative Director of DONNA JEWEL and Carlotta Parmegiani, PR & Events Specialist for Monaco Legend Group, this was moderated by watchmaking expert Andrea Casalegno.

The Vitality of Vicenzaoro

In closing, for those wondering about Vicenzaoro’s relevance to the jewelry industry, the following figures from the IEG website provide perspective. Last year, the presence of foreign buyers at VO January increased by 105 per cent as compared to the 2022 winter edition. (VOJ 2023 drew visitors from 136 countries.) The IEG website also noted that, “Total media contacts for Vicenzaoro 2023 exceeded 224 million and views of the professional operators of exhibitor profiles on the B2B platform The Jewellery Golden Cloud exceeded 200 thousand.” While this writer is reporting from VO 70 in real time, VO 70’s attendance figures and number of media contacts will be updated here after January 25, 2024…in the meantime, to view VO 70 programs on youtube.com, click here

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