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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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Video: Chicago Estate Jeweler Edward Kahn, Holocaust Survivor, Dies at 103

He operated the House of Kahn.

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Edward Kahn of estate jewelry company House of Kahn has died at age 103.

CBS Chicago reports that Kahn was one of the oldest Holocaust survivors.

He built House of Kahn, which has locations in Chicago and Palm Beach, FL, with his wife, Adele. Just six weeks ago he made public his plans to retire, with his daughter Tobina Kahn to take over the business.

Kahn came to the U.S. from Romania in 1951 with less than $100 in assets, having lost his parents and sister to the Holocaust.

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Video: Jeweler Wins Fight for $500,000 Snow Promotion Claim

Customers will get refunds for jewelry they bought during the holidays.

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An Idaho jeweler that held a “snow promotion” will be refunding its customers for jewelry they bought during the holiday season, KREM-TV reports.

Clark’s Diamond Jewelers in Couer D’Alene, ID, wrote in a Facebook post Monday that it had “received notification from the insurance company that our policy has been officially accepted and the award will indeed be paid out!”

The store had promised that if it snowed 3 inches or more on Jan. 11, it would refund purchases made between Nov. 22 and Dec. 31. Those purchases amounted to about $500,000.

The claim had originally been denied. Weather Command, a verification firm that works with the jeweler’s insurer, at first said snowfall on the date in question had been less than the required amount.

The store had vowed to fight for approval, believing that snowfall had indeed exceeded 3 inches.

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New List Reveals the ‘Most Common Birthstone in Every State’

The analysis comes from Shane Co.

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A new ranking from Shane Co. looks at the “most common birthstone in every state.”

In a blog post on its website, the company explains that it “used the latest CDC natality data to determine how many people are born each month in every state.” From there it was able to identify the most and least common birthstones in each state.

Peridot, the birthstone for August, “ruled the map,” emerging as the most popular stone in 40 states, including New York and California. Other birthstones are emerald, ruby, sapphire and opal.

Take a look at full results below. Shane Co. also released several other maps, inluding ones showing the “cost of each state’s most common birthstone,” the “second most common birthstone in every state” and the “rarest birthstone in every state.”

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