From Butterfly Brooches to Statement Necklaces, 5 Trends We Saw at Italy’s Biggest Jewelry Fair
When the fine jewelry industry wants to know which direction the trend winds are blowing, it collectively looks to Italy for clues about the styles, designs and motifs that will set the tone for the year ahead. And that effort inevitably leads trend-spotters to the January edition of the Vicenzaoro fair, which takes place annually in Vicenza, the heart of Italy’s Veneto region.
The 2023 edition of the show, which concluded January 24 at the fairgrounds on the outskirts of the city, was the largest in the fair’s nearly 70-year history, with 1,300 exhibitors representing 36 countries.
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Below are five 2023 jewelry trends that stood out.
Statement Bracelets and Collars
For years, the prevailing jewelry look has centered on layers of delicate pieces stacked on arms, rings, necks, even ear lobes. While that made sense during the pandemic, when jewelry lovers gravitated to more casual, sentimental pieces that worked well together, the pendulum is swinging back toward singular statement jewels designed to be worn alone, for maximum aesthetic impact.
At Vicenzaoro, Marina B — an Italian fine jewelry brand that carries on the legacy of Marina Bulgari, a scion of the Bulgari family who hit it big with her own colorful line of haute jewels in the 1980s — introduced a vintage re-editions collection featuring an 18k gold Kashan Manchette cuff bracelet that resembled Wonder Woman’s sizable gold cuffs, if only they were clustered with carats upon carats of emeralds, rubies and diamonds.
The brand also introduced a spectacular yellow gold collar based on a 1982 necklace, this one set with more than 33 carats of diamonds, furthering the notion that collars are back with a vengeance.
Symbolic of rebirth and transformation, butterflies were a popular motif during the pandemic, when consumers turned to baubles invested with meaning. These days, the creatures — and their winged cousins, dragonflies—are resonating with high jewelry buyers because of the artistry made possible by their expansive wings, which act as canvases for a kaleidoscope of gems.
The Vicenza-based jeweler Roberto Coin showed numerous, oversized butterfly brooches at the fair, in addition to a growing menagerie of precious insect jewels.
Yellow Gold Chains
The 1980s are calling — they want their chains back. Note, however, the difference between the Cuban and curb link chains that have been so ubiquitous lately and the styles that debuted at Vicenza: Link styles are evolving, with nautical styles on the ascent.
Exhibit A: The handsome Vela collection from Genoa-based Gismondi 1754. Inspired by the sea, the brand’s founder, Massimo Gismondi, created an 18k rose gold collection distinguished by links that recall the carabiners often used on sailing ships. In addition to the necklace, the line also includes a ring and earrings (with and without diamonds).
For all their focus on tradition, the Italians are masters of technological advancements designed to make jewelry more wearable. The Valenza-based jeweler Picchiotti offers the perfect example. At the fair, the brand showed its new Reversible Xpandable collection of bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings that can be turned inside out to reveal a different design.
“In over five decades of brilliance, one common complaint from the women I have met has been a sense of hesitation to wear their fine jewelry every day, particularly diamonds, or the sense of limitation as it relates to color coordinating colored gemstones,” founder Giuseppe Picchiotti said in a statement. “I love the idea of technology that can solve problems!”
Ceramic & Other Alternative Materials
For a city steeped in gold, Vicenza is home to a startling amount of jewelers who have experimented with non-precious materials that boast other, desirable properties, from lightness to fantastical colors.
One of the many Italian firms that lie at this intersection of innovation and tradition is Mattioli, a Torino-based jeweler that introduced a rainbow of ceramics into its Puzzle collection of interchangeable shaped pieces that can be swapped in and out of their 18k gold settings to create different looks throughout the day.
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