The Italian Jewelry Industry has begun a big push into the North American market with its first ever exhibition and workshop under the banner of “The Italian Jewelry Manifesto.”
A total of 46 Italian jewelry manufacturers participated in the event held May 18 – 20 at the new Piazza Italia, an event space and showroom in New York dedicated to Italian food, design and fashion industries.
According to the organizers, approximately 300 buyers attended the three-day event, including representatives from Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Zales. It even attracted buyers from London.
The event opened with a press conference and a networking dinner followed by two days of workshops and tours of products on offer with representatives from the manufacturers to explain their offerings for U.S. jewelry industry buyers and journalists. The companies at the event represented the four major jewelry centers in Italy: Vicenza, Valenza, Arezzo and Torre del Greco, as well as companies in other parts of the country.
While the jewelry companies represent a variety of materials, styles and techniques, the bond that unites this group is the dedication to Italian design and craftsmanship and the “Made in Italy” merchandise mark indicating that a product is all planned, manufactured and packed in Italy. These characteristics are recognized throughout the world for its uniqueness and high quality in design and craftsmanship. These companies are not household names, but they create many of the jewels that fill store shelves throughout the U.S. and the world. They combine historic handcraftsmanship with high-tech machine techniques (Italy is also known for its high-tech jewelry-making machinery).
Antonio Laspina, consul general of Italy for the U.S., said The Italian Jewelry Manifesto is just the beginning. Trade and consumer-facing events will be held at the Piazza Italia space and throughout the country. Laspina particularly noted South Florida, Texas and Arizona as key places for future events.
This project is a massive undertaking that is fully funded by the Italian government, which supports Made in Italy manufacturers throughout the world. This event was the result of a collaboration among the Italian Trade Agency in the U.S., FEDERORAFI (the Italian Federation of gold jewelry, silverware and jewelry producers), and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
North America has always been a long-standing and vital market for the Italian jewelry industry. However, during the Coronavirus pandemic (and likely because of it) the region has once again grown to become the largest market for Italian jewelry.
Paola DeLuca, a well-known trend forecaster in the jewelry industry, said in an interview following the event, the main reason is both the rise in U.S. consumers purchasing Italian jewelry and because of the changing retail landscape, marking a need for manufacturers to interact with consumers and the jewelry trade more directly.
During the press conference this growth in consumer demand was highlighted by Claudia Piaserico, president of FEDERORAFI, saying that 2021 sales of Italian jewelry in the U.S. totaled nearly 1.3 billion euros, accounting for 16% of all Italian jewelry exports.
“North America once again is the top export market for Italian jewelry as it was in the 90s,” said DeLuca, who curated the manufacturers and led the marketing and communications efforts for the event. “It’s a love affair that started many years ago in America and is continuing and becoming stronger in 2022 and onward.”
DeLuca says the timing of the North America marketing push coincides with this increased spending in Italian jewelry and a new attitude among people because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“People are willing to spend because they want to feel good about themselves. They are investing in leisure and luxury,” DeLuca said. “The pandemic changed our perception of life and values and so people are back in investing in jewelry and good design and therefore this is a time when entrepreneurs and businesspeople are investing, and consumers are responding.”