VICENZAORO Winter opens, calls for innovation to drive exports
VICENZA, Italy, January 14, 2012 – VICENZAORO Winter, Italy’s premier jewellery trade fair, opened amid calls for innovation and creativity to tackle tough export market conditions in 2012.
Italy is renowned for its manufacturing and design skills in precious gold and silver jewellery, and is one of the world’s leading exporters.
Leading Italian brands such as Roberto Coin export jewels around the world, notably to affluent markets such as the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Now, worries over the global economic outlook and the euro zone crisis, cast a shadow over jewellery export prospects in 2012.
A weak euro, standing at its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in nearly 17 months, makes dollar-denominated precious raw materials more expensive for Italian jewellery manufacturers. However, Italian businesses receiving dollar income for their exports are hedged against their exposure to the weak euro, Italian jewellers at VICENZAORO Winter said.
The real concern will be the levels of consumer confidence in jewellery markets around the world as the financial crisis bites.
At the top end of the market, export opportunities are for the taking, with jewellers such as Mattia Cielo planning to strengthen and expand their retail operations.
Mattia Cielo, one of the top-tier exhibitors at Vicenza, recently opened a store on Via Montenapoleone, a luxury shopping district in Milan, and is now looking at opening more stores overseas, possibly including Dubai.
For many Italian jewellers, times are tough. Italian jewellers said privately the festive sales period in December was difficult, although earlier in 2011 the climate was more positive.
According to the latest figures made available by the Vicenza Fair, exports of Italian precious jewellery in the first eight months of 2011 stood at 3.1 billion euros, up 15 percent from 2.7 billion euros in the same period of 2010.
While Italian jewellery exports were up in value terms, reflecting the increase in prices of precious materials such as gold, volumes of jewellery sold were little changed year on year.
Roberto Ditri, President of the Vicenza Fair, said Italian jewellers had to think outside of the box.
“Innovation and creativity are not for us simple words to repeat for a publicity boost,” Ditri said in a video statement at VicenzaOro Winter’s inauguration.
“They are words that guide our work every day.”
An example of innovation by Italian manufacturers was a new treatment to reduce tarnish on silver developed by Better Silver, an exhibitor at VICENZAORO Winter.
Augusto Ungarelli, president of Italy’s Goldsmiths’ Council (Club degli Orafi), said Italian businesses needed to promote their creative skills vigorously.
“We have to face the new reality with innovation and savoir faire,” Ungarelli said in a panel discussion during the inauguration.
“There is no limit to our creativity. I am certain that Italy has the capacity to make the most beautiful jewels in the world.”
VICENZAORO Winter runs from January 14-19.