16 Jul 2019
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The Jewellery of Powerhouse Europe
Italy
By: Diamond World News Service
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Jan 2 2019 11:45AM
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Reference: 16894  

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Italy’s jewellery manufacturing prowess and fine craftsmanship are something jewellers from across the world have tried to emulate. From its gold that has an inimitable, buttery glow to the country’s ability to blend the best of tradition and technology, the jewellery industry of Italy has been a force to reckon with.

Overview
Italy has the 8th largest export economy in the world with a GDP per capita income of $38,200. It exports jewellery worth $6.04 billion to countries like India, the U.S., Germany, France, the Middle East and the UK. Gold ranks number second in Italy’s top most export commodities amounting to $3 billion annually, followed by platinum amounting to $1.24 billion. Italy constitutes about 1 per cent of the global gold export market with competition from countries like India and Germany.

Italy is one of the world leaders in luxury goods with jewellery being one of the most important luxury commodities in the industry. In 2017, the sector gained momentum with exports growing by 12 per cent (3.4 billion Euros). The economy in Italy, which is otherwise going through a tumultuous phase, is witnessing a boom in the jewellery sector, thanks to a steady demand from countries like France and the U.S.

As on 2015, the country had more than 7700 players in the jewellery sector that employed around 20,000 people. Gold, platinum and silver (in that order) are the three main raw materials used to make jewellery. It is not without reason that Italy is called the Powerhouse of European Jewellery industry. Be it crafting with the finest of corals, Murano glass or gold, the jewellers of Italy have passed on their skill and craftsmanship through generations. The artisans have sought for perfection over the years that today when it comes to excellence in gold, Italy is the first country that comes to mind. Every country wants to mirror Italy when it comes to craftsmanship of jewellery.

The Gold Standard
Gold in Italy is precious in every sense. The jewellery is mostly crafted in 18K gold and the metal almost lilts with a sublime sheen that is hard to find in pieces crafted in other countries. While Italy has employed its best kept secret, its pristine craftsmanship that goldsmiths have perfected over the years, it has also managed to embrace the latest in technology. The mélange between the old and the new, old when it comes to its attention to detailing and craftsmanship and new when it comes to employing state-of-the-art technology, is what makes Italy a kingpin when it comes to jewellery. There are regions in Italy that are known for their expertise when it comes to gold jewellery.

The country has also been ahead of its times when it comes to jewellery manufacturing. Vicenza, one of the foremost jewellery hubs of Italy had 150 members in its goldsmiths’ guild as early as 1300. The city is also home to one of the world’s most prestigious exhibitions, Vicenzaoro. Vicenza has more than 900 players including small artisans to big jewellers like Roberto Coin. It manufactures gold jewellery for the medium to high-end market and is known for hollow gold and molded pieces of jewellery. The hilly town of Arezzo on the other hand makes jewellery for the masses albeit with the trademark Italian craftsmanship. The world over is made in this sleepy town in Tuscany. A few kilometers up north lies the beautiful town of Valenza, which masters in handcrafted jewellery. Known for its one-off pieces using the finest of gold, the goldsmithing techniques in this city is second to none even today. Now, Valenza has over 1500 manufacturing companies who work mostly using precious stones: almost 80 per cent of precious stones imported to Italy are crafted in Valenza. Some of the most renowned high jewellery brands such as Bulgari, Chopard, Cartier, Damiani and the like have their manufacturing units in Valenza. The historic district of Torre del Greco in the Neapolitan region is known for its beautiful cameo work on corals. A skill that gained popularity in the 17th century, today the region has over 700 companies that specialises in coral and other shell cameos.

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