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From big looks to floral themes, here are five jewelry trendsfrom the September VicenzaOro show.

By Carol Besler

If the September edition of VicenzaOro is any indication, jewelry trade shows are flourishing. More than 20,000 visitors attended the boutique trade fair in Italy this year, with the number of attendees from China jumping 73% and US visitors increasing by 23%. It’s a success that eludes the watch trade fairs. Baselworld lost 50% of its exhibitors this year, and its largest exhibitor, Swatch Group, is dropping out next year. Similarly, two elite brands just pulled out of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva.

But VicenzaOro has undergone a lot of improvements in the past few years, including a completely new building for major brands, with large Basel-like booths and wider aisles. There are also new seminar rooms, where some 30 educational events and talks took place during the fair.

Above all, VicenzaOro stands as an important bellwether of jewelry design trends for the coming season. Here are five trends that stood out at the September show.

  1. Cocktail rings

  2. It may be more accurate just to say big rings here, since they are no longer just for cocktail hour. Big is a key theme in jewelry at the moment, with fine jewelry approaching the scale of the costume category. “Before, it was all about design,” explains Jack Zybert of Italian brand Zydo. “Now, people want bigger stones, especially in China; they want to see certs for each stone. The US is becoming more like that, too.”

    Not all the gems are bold or inaccessibly priced, though. Gems like chalcedony and moonstone are, as Silvia Stizza of Pasquale Bruni puts it, “big, but soft.”

  3. The Big Three

  4. This year was like a flashback to the mid-1990s, when VicenzaOro was a sea of ruby, sapphire and emerald. The Big Three are back, a trend that dovetails with the increasing demand for quality gemstones with certificates. “People are coming back to basics, investing in the long term, because of uncertain times,” says Rocco Pizzo of Leo Pizzo. Indeed, along with diamonds, these three stones are the most reliable options when it comes to investment-grade gems. But the look — with a large central stone or a spread of well-matched beauties — is also on trend.

  5. Flowers and butterflies

  6. Nature, and the flower in particular, has always been a strong jewelry motif, but today, it has blossomed into the most ubiquitous theme in fine jewelry. From simple four-petal silhouettes to free-form flowers with major center gemstones and pavé petals, florals are present in almost every collection this year. It’s a flexible motif, with design and size options that are endless. The butterfly is another favorite symbol that, in the right hands, comes off as romantic and feminine rather than silly or girlish. The curvy lines make it an ideal shape for jewelry.

  7. Transformable and flexible

  8. Transformable pieces — such as earrings that can be worn three ways, or a necklace that becomes two bracelets — give you added value, since you get multiple jewels for the price of one. An adjunct to this is flexible jewelry, particularly rings and bangles. Fope and Picchiotti are two brands that showed their flexible lines at VicenzaOro. The look is more high-end than those stretchy steel watch bracelets from the ’50s. “This is true luxury, in both comfort and design, not just entry-level,” says Maria Carola of Picchiotti, who shows me pieces ranging from $9,000 to $152,000. Picchiotti uses titanium springs that allow its rings to change size.
Image: Lapresse

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - November 2018. To subscribe click here.

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Tags: Carol Besler