Gold filigree is at the heart of ELEUTERIO Fine Jewels
Luis Antunes, CEO of ELEUTERIO, talks about what makes the Portuguese brand special and how it plans to break into new international markets.
Q. What makes ELEUTERIO jewellery distinctive? How important is its northern Portuguese filigree heritage?
Luis Antunes: ELEUTERIO gold jewellery is distinctive because it has the heritage of generations of skilled workmanship in the art of “crochet gold”. Our craftsmen are guardians of the secrets of gold filigree which is our speciality. The art of filigree – turning raw gold into wearable thin wires – has been known since the dawn of civilisation. Traces of pieces have been found from pre-Roman times in the area of northern Portugal around Povoa de Lanhoso.
All of my life has been spent in close association with gold and its wire shapes. Gold filigree is part of the heritage of my region and can be found in nearby places such as Gondomar, Viana and other parts of northern Portugal. The festival of Senhora d’Agonia in Viana do Castelo is a showcase for the gold filigree traditions of northern Portugal. In the mordomas parade, hundreds of women wear their families’ much valued gold pieces acquired over generations.
Q. How often do you release new collections, and what is the focus and inspiration of your designers? Do you have a traditional approach to filigree designs or do you bring in a contemporary twist?
Luis Antunes: New collections are launched every six months. We give our designers total artistic freedom to express their designs, in a way that is respectful of the heritage of our brand. All pieces have the distinctive personality of ELEUTERIO, revolving around gold filigree. As we have expanded into new international markets, we have moved into bolder, more design-driven themes that appeal to our new customers.
Our designers are invited to try new avenues – more contemporary ones, in tune with the different markets that we are involved in. Each piece tells a story, awakens the emotions and dreams. ELEUTERIO jewellery is about glamour, light and sophistication, and always conveys the experience of our brand, as shown in our 1925 collection, the Portuguese Heritage collection, and the contemporary, artistic Crystal Filigree collection.
Q. How has the soaring and volatile price of gold in recent years affected the way you market and sell ELEUTERIO gold jewellery, and how is the international market for your pieces changing?
Luis Antunes: The volatile gold price is not an issue for customers for ELEUTERIO jewellery because they feel the emotion and appreciate the design of the jewel. For our customers an ELEUTERIO piece is timeless, and reflects emotions, passions and dreams. The price of the raw material is important, but it is not the dominant factor in the minds of our customers.
Every day we are receiving new requests for business from around the world. It is a shame that we don’t have the capacity to satisfy all of our potential customers. We must not forget that our pieces are made using great manual skill and artistry, combined with mechanical manufacturing processes and state-of-the-art technology.
ELEUTERIO is not a mass production company. The attention to detail in our pieces is second to none. And the quality of the finish of the gold is exceptional.
Q. Where is the main geographical focus for your international expansion plans? How do you propose to raise your profile and boost your brand in these markets?
Luis Antunes: This year the focus was undoubtedly the UK market. ELEUTERIO made a big impact at International Jewellery London (IJL), and our stand was voted in the top 10 at the fair. We presented ourselves as having simplicity and good taste. We established a number of good retail contacts which we aim to develop in the coming months.
Next year we will focus on several key markets, including China, the United States, and Angola, a former Portuguese colony. Our top priority, however, will be the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where there is a great appreciation for our type of gold jewellery. The UAE is an excellent hub for a number of countries in the Middle East Gulf region where there is strong demand for gold and diamond jewellery.