Italian Trade Agency

Brought To You By The Italian Trade Agency  

In collaboration with Anthony DeMarco

The breadth and depth of Italian design, craftsmanship and manufacturing technology was on full display at JCK Las Vegas 2019. The new Bella Italia pavilion, part of the annual jewelry trade fair, was filled with 81 exhibitors showcasing jewels in gold and silver, colored gems and coral, men’s jewelry along with the myriad of women’s baubles and pieces ranging from sturdy gold chains to light delicate diamond pieces.

When it comes to producing jewels, the Italians display a level of skill, expertise and creativity that is unmatched anywhere in the world. Walking through the halls of the Bella Italia pavilion confirmed this. While beautiful jewels are made throughout Italy, there are three areas that are known throughout the world for producing exceptional gold jewels: Vicenza, Valenza and Arezzo. In the southern part of the country there’s Torre del Greco, the world’s center for coral and cameo jewels. Nearly all businesses featured in this story are from these regions.

When discussing Italian jewels, craftsmanship and design are always on the forefront. However, the one thing that’s often overlooked is the innovations and advance technologies that are behind the items being created. For example, Barbara Pastorello of OroSoffiato in Vicenza explains that the stylish gold jewels her company produces are created through an in-house developed electroforming process. Electroforming is a way to produce a thick skin of metal, usually over an object. This process is mostly done with copper because it is easier and inexpensive. OroSoffiato developed a process in-house using gold. The result is seven collections of fashionable yellow gold jewels that are centered on large, light earrings of varying shapes, from rough organic in appearance to geometric structures. The thickness of the earrings in each collection varies as well. For a few of the collections, necklaces, rings and bracelets complement the earring motifs.

Another example of technological innovations is practiced by Nuovi Gioielli of Vicenza, which used JCK Las Vegas to introduce its 3D printed gold jewelry. Most companies use 3D printing technology to print waxes and then cast the precious metal from those waxes. Nuovi Gioielli is one of the few companies in the world to directly print the gold jewels. The process to get this innovation to market took six years, said Cristina Delucca, Nuovi Gioielli Vice President. The results are stunning with futuristic shapes displaying creative uses of space and texture. Delucca added that the company also produces handmade gold jewels made with a variety of diamonds and colored gems. Many were on display and ranged from bib necklaces with flat organic circular-shaped etched gold beads mixed with colorful gems in floral shapes, to 18k gold necklaces with scale-like designs adorned with diamond encrusted and bow-like shapes (pictured left).

To demonstrate the diversity of Italian jewels, we now travel from the north to the southern seaside city of Torre del Greco, near Naples. The city has been world’s leading producer of coral jewelry and cameo brooches since the 17th Century. The jewels are still produced using traditional hand-crafted methods. One of the older and better-known companies in the region is De Simone Fratelli. Michele De Simone says one-of-a-kind pieces make up 80% of its inventory. The company has been selling in the U.S. since the 1980s and their products are available at luxury department stores throughout the country. He says the coral the company uses is “totally sustainable” and has a rarity that makes their products a “true luxury item.” Pieces on view included a traditional red coral necklace paired with pavé diamond and gold (pictured center), and necklaces made of large “angel skin” coral, which reveal a pink color.

Next is men’s jewelry, where designer Giuseppe Donato operates under two brands, Spartan Ring and Donato Jewels out of Alessandria, near Valenza. He says his pieces are contemporary fashion jewels primarily for men, but there are pieces for women and some that are unisex. He describes his pieces as “jewels for brave souls.” Although contemporary, many of the collections and the overall style of the brand are based on ancient, medieval and gothic themes. For example, his Spartan Rings depict helmets worn by the Spartan soldiers of ancient Greece (pictured right). His pieces range in price from $250 to more than $100,000 depending on its size and materials used. His well-crafted jewels are big and bold and make a statement. He creates his elaborate designs with variety of metals often complemented by colorful gems.

Nuovi Gioielli De Simone Fratelli Donato JewelsNuovi Gioielli; De Simone Fratelli; Donato Jewels

Songa, based in Milan, is one of the largest jewelry wholesalers in Italy and sells its pieces all over the world, including approximately 20 clients in the U.S., says Mara Constanza Ruggieri. The company offers jewels in a range of price points and styles from 8k to 18k gold. They purchases jewels from about 300 factories throughout Italy and have a 3,200-square-foot showroom in Milan that is stocked with upwards of 35,000 items at any given time for buyers from the jewelry trade. They say “[Buyers] can come in and select whatever they want whenever they need it.” Customer fulfillment is done seamlessly online through the company’s B2B website. It’s difficult to believe the company was founded in 1935 by Antonio Songa, a goldsmith, who decided to transform his jewelry manufacturing firm into a wholesale business. “It was the right commercial approach,” Ruggieri said. It sure was. 

It’s almost impossible to do a story on Italian jewels and not come upon a company from Florence, long known for its design, craftsmanship and art. Ferrari Firenze specializes in producing handmade jewels in the tradition of the region. About 20 craftsmen work in a rustic old house located in what the company describes as the “greenest hills on the South of Florence.” The jewels they produce are designed by hand and through computer-aided design (CAD). The 18k gold jewels are known for their movement: they spin and rattle. Some pieces sparkle with light, such as stackable bracelets made with stems of yellow and white gold paved with diamonds and each stem capped with a diamond on top. There’s a great deal of variety in the design from pieces that are larger sculptural to delicate and small. The company says it uses certified conflict-free diamonds and sustainably sourced colored gems.

Neonero is another company on the cutting edge of innovative manufacturing. It specializes in 14k to 22k gold jewels in distinct openworked designs created by laser cutting. This modern technique produces jewels that have the appearance of traditional handcrafted styles (pictured left). High polished finishes give these pieces a modern appeal. The designs from laser cuts create a number of shapes that range from honeycomb to floral arrangements. Cristiano Marini, Neonero export manager, said it’s the company’s first time exhibiting at JCK Las Vegas. She states, “We met many people and we hope to have new customers and new business in the U.S.”

Gold and silver chains sounds simple enough but to create them on a high level they must come in an endless number of designs, be produced in an efficient operational environment and ensure that the pieces adhere to the most precise use of precious materials. To do this requires what are arguably the most advanced manufacturing techniques in the jewelry world. Examples of companies exhibiting at JCK Las Vegas that specialize in the production of chains are Alessi Domenico and Multiform.

Alessi Domenico “works on products that are strong and beautiful,” said Alice Alessi, Sales and Marketing Director, also noting that the company is the second largest chain provider in Vicenza. “We have the capability to produce two tons of chains every three weeks,” she said. The U.S. is the company’s biggest market. One of the ways its chains maintain strength is by employing a Galvanic process, which uses electrolysis to cover the surface with a metallic layer. One of the main products the company was promoting using this technique was its Miami Cuban Doubleface gold chains, which come in a range of colors, including black (pictured center).

Meanwhile, Multiform combines hand-crafted techniques with modern manufacturing innovations to produce a variety of sturdy gold chains from 10k to 18k, primarily for men (pictured right). The company also produces gold bracelets and rings.

btyb ITA 0715 Neonero Alessi Domenico Multiform copyNeonero; Alessi Domenico; Multiform

This year’s JCK Las Vegas marked a couple of firsts. It was the first time the annual jewelry trade fair was held at the Sands Expo & Convention Center since 2010, when the fair moved three miles south to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. While Italian manufacturers always had a pavilion, Bella Italia is a new concept. The pavilion is managed by Reed Exhibitions and by most accounts everyone thought it was an improvement. No exhibitor is ever totally happy with their booth locations, but most think the location on level 2 near an entryway to the show floor was an upgrade over their Mandalay Bay location. Most saw the facility itself as a good step forward from the previous space. 

Roberto Rossi of Multiform says the company has been exhibiting at JCK Las Vegas for 10 years and he prefers the Sands over Mandalay Bay. “I like it 100% better,” he said, adding that “We’ve done good business.”

Cristina Delucca of Nuovi Gioielli said her company has been exhibiting at JCK since 1998 and like Rossi, prefers the atmosphere in the Sands. “We’ve had a very good show so far and we are much happier than we were last year,” she said.

To learn more about Italian Jewelry, visit, follow #TheExtraordinaryItalianJewelry on Instagram and @ExtraItaJewelry on Twitter.

National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.