This year's Vicenzaoro exhibition was the largest in its nearly 70-year history.
When the fine jewellery industry wants to know which way the trend winds are blowing, it looks to Italy for clues about the styles, designs and motifs that will set the tone for the year ahead. And that effort inevitably leads trend watchers to the January edition of the Vicenzaoro fair, held every year in Vicenza, the heart of Italy's Veneto region.
The 2023 edition, which ended on January 24th, was the largest in the fair's nearly 70-year history, with 1,300 exhibitors from 36 countries.
We reveal five trends that stood out in particular:
Bracelets and necklaces
For years, the prevailing jewellery look centred around layers of delicate pieces layered on hands, fingers, neck, even earlobes. While it made sense during the pandemic, when jewellery lovers gravitated toward more casual, sentimental pieces that worked well together, we're now slowly moving back toward one-of-a-kind jewels designed to be worn alone for maximum aesthetic impact.
At the Vicenzaoro fair, Marina B—an Italian fine jewellery brand that continues the legacy of Marina Bulgari, a scion of the Bulgari family that rose to prominence in the 1980s with its colourful line of luxury jewels—presented a collection of vintage reissues featuring the Kashan Manchette bracelet in 18-carat gold, which resembled Wonder Woman's large golden cuffs.
The brand also unveiled a spectacular yellow gold collar based on the 1982 necklace, complete with more than 33 carats of diamonds, fuelling the idea that collars are making a comeback.
Symbols of rebirth and transformation, butterflies have been a popular motif during the pandemic. These days, butterflies—and their winged cousins, the dragonflies—resonate with high-end jewellery buyers for the artistry enabled by their expansive wings, which act as canvases for a kaleidoscope of jewels.
Vicenza-based jeweller Roberto Coin displayed numerous large butterfly brooches at the fair, alongside a growing menagerie of precious insect gems.
Yellow gold chains
The eighties are calling - they want their chains back. Note, however, the difference between the Cuban chains, the street-style chains that have been so ubiquitous of late, and the styles that debuted in Vicenza: link styles are evolving, with nautical details on the rise.
Proof: the handsome Vela collection from Genoa brand Gismondi 1754. Inspired by the sea, the brand's founder, Massimo Gismondi, created a collection in 18-carat rose gold that is distinguished by links reminiscent of the carabiners often used on sailing ships. In addition to the necklace, the line also includes a ring and earrings (with and without diamonds).
Despite their focus on tradition, Italians are masters of technological advances designed to make jewellery easier to wear. The jeweller Picchiotti from Valencia offers a perfect example. At the show, the brand showed its new Reversible Xpandable collection of bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings that can be turned inside out to reveal a different design.
"In more than five decades of brilliance, one common complaint from women I've met has been a sense of reluctance to wear their fine jewellery every day, especially diamonds, or a sense of restriction about matching the colours of coloured gemstones," founder Giuseppe Picciotti said in a statement. "I love the idea of technology that can solve those problems!"
Ceramics and other alternative materials
For a city drenched in gold, Vicenza is home to an astonishing number of jewellers who have experimented with ignoble materials that boast other, desirable properties, from lightness to fantastic colours.
One of the many Italian firms that lie at this intersection of innovation and tradition is Mattioli, a jeweller from Turin that has introduced a rainbow of ceramics to its Puzzle collection of interchangeable shapes that can be changed in and out of their 18k gold settings to create different looks throughout the day.