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Italy’s VicenzaOro Officially Opens the 2019 Buying Season

Buyers from over 130 countries attended.

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Vendorafa Hula Hoop Collection                                                                    Monica Rich Kosann Locket Collection

WHILE MOST RETAIL JEWELERS around the world are still packing away their holiday decorations and going over their inventories, a city in northeast Italy (largely known outside of the jewelry world for its steel production, textile factories and agricultural impact) starts getting ready to welcome the jewelry industry’s elite brands, most successful retailers, and respected members of the international press. Vicenza, despite sometimes being confused by Americans with Venezia (Venice) and Valenza, Italy, is actually one of the country’s wealthiest cities. With a town center that reflects its Renaissance-era history, including 23 buildings designed by famed Italian architect Andrea Palladio, Vicenza offers much in the way of culture, food and sights, which are merely added bonuses for those who have traveled to see what the area has become known for: its jewelry.

Lydia Courtielle Nuevo-Mundo Piece

The January edition of the VicenzaOro Jewellery Boutique Show is the first major jewelry trade show of the year, every year. Buyers are treated to a visual smorgasbord that includes finished high jewelry, fashion jewelry, contemporary jewelry, loose diamonds and gems, watches, tools, mountings, findings and jewelry equipment. There are also numerous seminars, classes and panels covering topics from sustainable practices to buying trends to famous emeralds throughout history and  much more. On top of all of that, there are the small perks that often get overlooked at some of the other major trade fairs. Things like real Wi-Fi (are you listening to this, Baselworld?), nightly cocktail gatherings and a free playroom for children ages 3 and up. Many members of the press (including yours truly) are hosted guests of the show, meaning that our transportation, meals and museum tours (of which there are several) are taken care of, making our trip to the city even more enjoyable.

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January’s edition of the fair was made particularly exciting with the introduction of a handful of new exhibitors to the show’s “Design Room,” including American jewelry designer Monica Rich Kosann, who showcased her popular locket collection, as well as Parisian designer Lydia Courteille, who brought along pieces from her Nuevo Mundo collection, which was inspired by her travels to Guatemala. Courteille uses a variety of brightly colored gemstones to replicate the embroidered fabric patterns of the Guatemalan culture in pieces like her Worry Doll ring, which was a show-stopping adornment that included a large, pear-shaped maxixe blue beryl. Also exhibiting at the fair was Italian brand Picchiotti, which recently hired Mark Mazzarese – former president of Mazzarese Fine Jewelry near Kansas City – to expand the reach of its U.S. sales team. And the always exciting Vendorafa went for a playful theme this year with pieces from its new Hula Hoop collection as well as editions to the Anaconda and Dune collections.

With buyers attending the fair from over 130 countries, including from the U.S. (shout out to Scott Saunders of London Jewelers, whom I briefly saw as we headed into the fair), there were not many sections of the show floor that weren’t – at times – jam-packed with people. Seminars were often standing-room only, and the multiple cafes throughout the show saw huge lines at lunch hour as well as at “Aperitivo time.” While that might seem nerve-wracking to some, in the grand scheme of things, it’s all good news for those of us in the business, because a busy show is a sign that the jewelry industry is alive, well and even possibly thriving.

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The VicenzaOro Jewellery Boutique Show does a lot of things the right way, and with some trade fairs suffering from recent exhibitor departures, negative reviews or just from bad choices and poor management, it’s a show that should be looked upon as a guide to what successful jewelry trade fairs could be if they just listened to the needs of their exhibitors and attendees. I mean, after all, isn’t that what everyone wants at the end of the day? Whether it’s a customer, a family member, or a co-worker … we really all just want to be heard.

The next edition of VicenzaOro in Vicenza, Italy, will be held Sept. 7-11.

Barbara Palumbo is a watch and jewelry industry writer, journalist and speaker. She manages the blogging websites Adornmentality.com and Whatsonherwrist.com.

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Jewelry Store Robbed After Owner Tied Up in Home

The thieves made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars in goods.

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Icebox Diamonds & Watches in Atlanta was burglarized after masked gunmen tied up the owner and his wife in their home, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Cobb County police stated that on Friday, the culprits forced the couple into their home and took the store keys. The couple were not injured.

(Other news sources, including WXIA-TV, described the victims as the “manager and his wife.”)

Two men broke into the Buckhead store at about 11:30 p.m. and spent about two hours there, authorities said. They took jewelry and watches from safes.

The stolen goods were reportedly worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in total. Cash and jewelry were also stolen from the store owner’s home, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Icebox Diamonds & Watches is known for its celebrity clientele, the newspaper notes.

Read more at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Singer Katy Perry Shows Off $5M Engagement Ring — Take a Look

It’s one of the most expensive celebrity engagement rings ever.

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full bloom

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Singer Katy Perry took to Instagram to show off the engagement ring she got from actor Orlando Bloom when he popped the question on Valentine’s Day.

E! News explains that “the flower-shaped sparkler appears to have a pink center stone with diamonds surrounding it, along with a gold band.” She captioned the photo “full bloom.”

Andrew Brown, president of WP Diamonds, told E! News that the ring is likely worth about $5 million.

He said it appears to feature “a 4-carat fancy vivid pink oval shaped diamond.” That stone is encircled by eight white diamonds.

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The estimated price tag would put the ring among the most expensive ever worn by a celebrity.

Perhaps the most expensive celebrity engagement ring ever was the $10 million sparkler given to singer Mariah Carey in 2016 by Australian businessman James Packer. Their engagement was called off that same year.

Read more at E! News

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Former Jewelry Store Worker Accused of Stealing $222,000 in Merchandise

She allegedly took the goods to pawn shops.

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A former employee of a jewelry store in Rhode Island has been accused of stealing from the business.

Yanill C. Taveras, who worked for Ross-Simons Jewelers in Cranston, was arrested on a charge of embezzlement/fraudulent conversion, WPRI reports.

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Authorities say 121 pieces of jewelry were missing from the store, with a total value of more than $222,000.

Taveras, 26, came under suspicion when it was discovered that she had pawned jewelry at local shops, WPRI reports.

Police say they’ve recovered about $105,000 in jewelry so far.

Taveras has been released on surety bail. She’s set to appear in court on April 25.

Read more at WPRI

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