The September edition of the VicenzaOro jewelry trade fair presented a full-on display of Italian culture, international influences and its relation to Italian jewelry.
For example the in the Jewelry Museum of Vicenza, one of the few museums in the world dedicated to jewelry and one of the few to have no permanent collection (all pieces are on loan), there was an exhibition on the sculpted bejeweled works of the famed surrealist Spanish painter, Salvador Dali. Titled “Precious Art: the Jewelry Sculptures of Salvador Dalí,” The pieces are in 18k gold and silver encrusted with precious gems and in some cases using gold coins. It includes many of Dali’s better-known themes such as “The Dance Of Time,” (featuring the melted clock that famously appeared in his “Persistence of Memory” painting) “Dalinian Dancer” and “Alice In Wonderland.”
The Dance Of Time III by Salvador Dali on display at the Vicenza Jewelry Museum
VICENZA JEWELRY MUSEUM
Alba Cappellieri, museum curator, explained that Dali worked with precious metals and gems, and worked with professional jewelers for his creations, while many of his fellow artists at the time who made jewelry used basic materials. For those who are familiar with Dali’s avant-garde works, the 18 pieces on display were on the conservative side, with the exception of the melted clock. Pieces from the Dali collection also appeared in the special section inside the jewelry trade fair.
Jewelry creativity of a different type was on display during a tour of the Nanis jewelry operation just outside of Vicenza. The Italian jewelry brand is the vision of Laura Bicego and her husband, Piero, who founded the company in 1990. They are both from families that produce jewelry in the Vicenza region. The company combines handcrafted techniques with modern machinery in order to produce jewels for an international audience.
The Dancing Elite Ring by Nanis
The production of 18k gold for jewelry is a tradition of the Vicenza region and few if any regions of the world do it better. Nanis continues this tradition but with an eye toward contemporary appeal with 18k yellow gold jewels that are versatile and transformable. For example, necklaces can easily be worn several different ways.
The hand finishing of the gold jewels is also a company trademark. Artisans engrave the surface of precious metals with a hand etching technique using deep cuts with a burin (a tool with a round handle and tempered steel shaft).
Tracey Ellison, a jewelry influencer who goes by the name, “TheDiamondsGirl,” was impressed with this versatility. “Laura Bicego showed me this beautiful gold bracelet that with a push of a button extends into a necklace.”
Alessio Boschi Zeus Brooch
This is a trend that Ellison saw with Italian jewels at the show. For example Alessio Boschi, who specializes in producing high jewels in unique pieces, is exceptionally skilled at transformable pieces.
“All his pieces can be worn multiple ways,” she said. “I think it’s a reflection of our world, and the move away from single use items. Consumers want something that gives value and jewelry that can be worn in more than one way really meets that need.”
Nanis jewelry is distinct in its vision, but typical in the world of Italian gold jewelry production is a tradition. Many of these factories and workshops of all sizes produce 18k gold jewels with a personal vision.
The Segno necklace by Vendorafa
For example, Vendorafa in Valenza, a region where some of the most important Italian jewelry houses are located, such as Bulgari, specializes in the artisan crafts of hammering, engraving and embossing its gold jewels. This is another company founded by a husband and wife team, Augusto Ungarelli and Daniela Lombardi, who designs all of the jewels.
Extraordinaire collection earrings and pendant in emerald pavé and white gold black rhodium by Antonini
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Antonini, based in Milan, specializes in jewels with inventive and creative designs in its capsule collections or one-of-a-kind pieces in delicate shapes that are often paired with colorful gems. The designs and materials are presented in a refined and sophisticated way.
Colorful jewels by Chantecler
Chantecler, based on the island of Capri, has a special niche. The company produces fine jewelry and high jewelry for a crowd that vacations on the world renowned resort island. Appropriately, it primarily uses “the fruits of sea,” (coral and pearls) combined with gold and colorful gems and stones (turquoise is popular) and other colorful materials such as enamel. The lure of the island has proven to be a strong selling point as its jewels can be found at retailers in other parts of the world.
Various styles of bracelets from the “Xpandable Collection” by Picchiotti
Picchiotti, based in Valenza, focuses in both classic designs using exceptional gemstones and innovation. The latter can be seen on its “Xpandable Collection” of diamond and gemstone rings and bracelets. The innovative process allows for its jewels to expand and contract comfortably and freely. It’s not the first company to use this process, however, this particular invention is so unique that it was granted a 20-year U.S. jewelry patent. It was introduced in 2016 and it has grown to 200 designs.
Sterling silver ring by Pianegonda
Where there’s gold jewelry manufacturing, there are also silver jewels being produced. Pianegonda specializes in sterling big, bold shapes for its sterling silver jewels. The shapes are based on contemporary architecture and the geometrical shapes of nature.