NAJ News

High visitor turnout at VicenzaOro, first major jewellery trade fair of 2020

21 Jan 2020

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Visitor turnout was high at VicenzaOro (January 17-22), the first major jewellery trade fair of 2020, with a focus on the future of diamond jewellery sales amid calls for greater creativity in marketing. Footfall was brisk at the show, auguring for a strong order flow. Buyers arrived from around the world, as the January edition of VicenzaOro is seen as a barometer for jewellery design trends and a vital first opportunity in the year to restock after Christmas.

Speakers at a high-profile panel on "The Future of Diamonds" on January 18 included Stephen Lussier, Executive Vice President of De Beers Group; Pramod Agrawal, Chairman of India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC); Thierry Silber of laboratory-grown diamonds supplier Madestones, as well as UK-based designer Tomasz Donocik, editor and blogger Esther Ligthart, and London-based fashion director Ash Allibhai.

The event was co-chaired by respected jewellery analyst Paola De Luca, founder of The Futurist, a creative intelligence agency, and editor of the Trend Books supported by VicenzaOro, and by Jewellery Outlook editor David Brough.

The well-attended “Future of Diamonds” seminar took place during a challenging period for sales of rough diamonds, when luxury is being reassessed and reinterpreted by consumers.

Speakers said it was high time to embrace "imperfection in diamonds", such as "salt and pepper" diamonds, inclusions, and blue fluorescence, to create new demand.

They also urged improved traceability of diamonds from mine to finger, partially in response to expectations by Millennial consumers for a more carefully audited supply chain: customers increasingly want to know where their gemstones came from.

Speakers urged a harmonious relationship between the natural and laboratory-grown diamond communities, after tensions triggered by uncertainties over where laboratory-grown diamonds will fit in the market, and concerns over detection of undisclosed synthetics in melee.

The future impact of laboratory-grown diamonds in the engagement ring segment will be linked to the effectiveness of its marketing, the quality of designs and the customer's retail experience, panellists said.

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Another panel discussion, organised by CIBJO-World Jewellery Confederation on January 17, emphasised the importance of responsible sourcing in production of contemporary jewellery, under pressure from the increasing social and  ethical considerations of Millennial consumers.

Among UK-based exhibitors, Donocik, who creates ”modern day heirlooms for men and women”, showed off in the Design Room rings from his new bridal range, including one set with a 3.8-carat yellow diamond surrounded by white diamonds, rhodium and white gold.

Yoko London introduced their elegant "Sleep" collection, featuring akoya pearls and diamonds, influenced by a woman's transition from day to night.

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One of the brand new features of VicenzaOro was the "VO Vintage" area, a showcase for vintage watches, including many Rolexes made in the last 50 years or so, and jewellery.

Pre-owned watches, notably Rolexes and Omegas, are yielding good margins for independent retailers in the UK, jewellers say.

"Recycled" jewellery is seen as a potential growth market as its trade has minimal negative impact on the environment compared with new production.

Sales or transfers of vintage jewellery by baby boomers to Millennials, are an opportunity to support craftsmanship, as young customers ask jewellers to remodel their old pieces into contemporary styles.

David Brough