If you’re been following my adventures on Instagram, you already know that my recent visit to the VICENZAORO jewelry show in Italy was pretty much a treasure trove of gorgeous jewels.* VICENZAORO’s tagline is “The Future. Now.” I saw some definite directions and trends in the jewelry there, some that I had seen before here in the States, and some delightfully unexpected.
Nature ruled: butterflies, flowers, leaves, animals, even bats and reptiles (and some rather unfortunate turkeys. Don’t ask). There were lots of lyrical shapes like scrolls, openwork, and lacy filigree. Many shapes were distilled down to their essence; simplified and stylized. Bows and hearts appeared quite often, but in more edgy interpretations, with interesting outlines and concave forms.
Negative space was everywhere, with cutouts and openwork in every conceivable pattern. Skin becomes part of the design, revealed where the jewelry has been undone. Some patterns were decidedly mid-century, like Roberto Coin’s new The Fifth Season collection. 3-D printing has definitely made an impact on design: even if traditional pierce-work techniques are used, the patterns are edgier and inspired by new technology.
Further evidence that Tech is impacting jewelry design: pave, long associated with traditional jewelry, is now being used in innovative patterns. Some designs were splintery, using marquise shapes, radiating and stitched together.
Gold, that fluid jewelry medium, has reached new levels of tactile form. The lines between metal, gems and fabric have blurred: is it a scarf or a necklace? One designer, Rajola, debuted actual scarves with gemstones and pearls sewn in or incorporated. Some manufacturers, like Aurora Vicenza use metal infused into Lurex fibers for a very intriguing effect. Personal expression is reaching new levels.
It’s not just about gold in Italy: Italian jewelry companies are known for their innovative materials, such as wood or interesting combinations like silicone and diamonds. Fashion and fine jewelry are further tangled, like atomic, geometric design done in silver or vermeil and taken to new levels of quality at Diva Gioielli, and gemstones were used in inventive ways in alternative materials like bronze.
Layering reached new, er, lengths at VICENZAORO. I saw important diamond necklaces tiered. New midi-lengths were spotted, but almost always layered worn with shorter and longer lengths. Longer chains with stations, often very inventive and asymmetrical, were important at many designers. These are also very versatile–when doubled up the look completely changes.
A new era of inventiveness in jewelry has been ushered in. We’re waiting with open arms.
*Note that some expenses of my trip were covered by the VicenzaOro Marketing and PR team. I was expected to attend the show, press conferences and events, but there were no requirements to write articles mentioning the events or specific vendors. This was an opportunity to experience a jewelry trade show that was new for me, and the opinions I expressed are my sincere impressions.