Destinations

Vicenzaoro VOICE: Sergio Antonini and Graziano Cason of Antonini Open Up About Expectations, Sales, and the 100th Anniversary Jewelry Collection

Vicenza, Italy. Sept. 13, 2020. Two of jewelry maker Antonini’s principals—Sergio Antonini, art director, and Graziano Cason, sales director—weighed in with their thoughts on business for the current edition of the Vicenzaoro VOICE fair, Sept. 12–14. The brand maintains that business now is hard to gauge but, overall, expects fewer attendees, albeit ones who are intent on buying.

“The ones who will come will be very focused on business and hopefully willing of placing new orders,” insists Antonini. Cason agrees.

“In some areas the business is picking up,” he says. “We really hope we will have a business increase by the end of November, beginning of December. Probably not as the previous years, but never say never!” The pair share more insights in the following interview.

Voice by VicenzaOro

Jennifer Heebner: What have your retailer clients been telling you about business leading up to the fair? 

Graziano Cason: It’s still unpredictable at the moment, but we continue to work and to stay close to our clients. For us, it is important that we are a small size because when we come back to a quite normal life, there is the possibility to start to travel abroad and hold little events in clients’ boutiques where the epidemic has ended. 

For us, it is also crucial to underline our major asset that is the extreme quality of our jewels. Other brands maybe have eye-catching collections that are very well pushed by important marketing activities, but not a really good product in terms of manufacturing.

JH: What does business in Italy look like now? Is it starting to pick up? 

GC: Unfortunately, it is still slow at the present time. We hope that women might try to find gratification by rewarding themselves with something that will withstand the test of time, and this could, in fact, be an item of jewelry. We also believe that, on the scale of values that will affect our choice of jewel, we will no longer only give importance to the economic (or investment) aspect of the product but look more at the manufacturing quality, different design content, and the possibility of wearing it every day and enjoying it more intimately.

JH: What are Italian jewelry collectors buying now in terms of looks, materials, and price points? 

GC: Regarding our peculiar design, black rhodium finish is still hot, especially for one-of-a-kind jewels. Yellow polished gold is coming back, and a medium-to-high price point. 

JH: What are your U.S. accounts telling you now about business? 

GC: It depends from state to state and city to city, but in some of them business is still down while in some others it’s really picking up thanks to private and safe events.

JH: Tell me about your newest jewelry collection.

Sergio Antonini: It is our Anniversary 100 collection, we designed it for our 100th birthday as we were founded in 1919 in Milan. It is made up of around 30 pieces that range in retail price from $2,500–$18,000. We presented it at the January Vicenzaoro fair, so since February some of our retailers have it in their boutiques. But then with the Covid-19 infection, everything was frozen; this September show could be a really good moment to introduce the line to the ones that still haven’t seen it in Europe. In the U.S., we planned to attend the Couture show and JIS, but both of them were erased. We confirmed our participation to Select Jewelry Show, Nov. 1–2, 2020, at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., and hopefully this will be the moment to introduce it to the U.S. market and stores.

Anniversary 100 rings in 18k gold, $3,440–$4,030; email tatiana.tonizzo@antonini.it for purchase

Anniversary 100 rings in 18k gold, $3,440–$4,030; email tatiana.tonizzo@antonini.it for purchase

Anniversary 100 earrings in 18k gold, $6,780; email tatiana.tonizzo@antonini.it for purchase

Anniversary 100 earrings in 18k gold, $6,780; email tatiana.tonizzo@antonini.it for purchase

Anniversary 100 cuff bracelet in 18k gold, $17,890; email tatiana.tonizzo@antonini.it for purchase

Anniversary 100 cuff bracelet in 18k gold, $17,890; email tatiana.tonizzo@antonini.it for purchase

Anniversary 100 necklace in 18k gold, $23,410; email tatiana.tonizzo@antonini.it for purchase

Anniversary 100 necklace in 18k gold, $23,410; email tatiana.tonizzo@antonini.it for purchase


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Destinations

Vicenzaoro VOICE: Mark Pasdon of the Gioelli Group Talks U.S. Sales of Pesavento and Line Extensions to Its DNA Jewelry Collection

Vicenza, Italy. Sept. 12, 2020. Mark Pasdon is head of the Gioelli Group, the U.S. distributor of the Pesavento brand of silver jewelry, but instead of working the brand’s booth during this edition of the Vicenzaoro VOICE show, Sept. 12–14, he’ll be watching from afar.

Americans aren’t the only ones who aren’t traveling to Italy for the show, and for this reason Pesavento is livestreaming a presentation of its newest offerings on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 6:15 Italian time (12:15 EDT). With 70 doors nationwide, there should be plenty of Pesavento buyers tuning in to the Fall/Winter 2020–2021 presentation on Facebook as Pesavento Art Expressions and @pesavento_artexpressions on Instagram. Pasdon is already in the know, but he’ll still be watching.

Voice by VicenzaOro

“The Gioelli Group buys and holds inventory,” he says. “We don’t bring in everything—Pesavento puts out 400 pieces twice a year—but I need to buy intelligently and get hits, not misses.”

More about the Italian brand’s current U.S. sales from the executive, below.

Jennifer Heebner: How did you and your family spend your time during lockdown? 

Mark Pasdon: At the beginning, it was like everyone else—a little shock and disbelief. Then it was kind of cool being home, then frustration crept in, until finally I was sick of being housebound and wanted to get back out. One of my clients spends 250 days a year on the road and had never been home such a long time! Now it’s acceptance and coping.

JH: What are your expectations for business at the fair?

MP: I have not heard of any expectations! So, zero; Pesavento is hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

JH: What are your American retailers telling you about business now?

MP: The trends that I have heard are that if you haven’t killed one another (the person you’re in lockdown with), you are probably getting married! So, engagements are up, big watch and big diamond sales. People are no longer visiting future purchases; they walk in and walk out with something. Customers are memorializing events—”My daughter is graduating, and I need a gift, this is my price point … what do you have?” There are still birthdays, anniversaries, “I love you” purchases. Maybe someone can’t spend $10,000, but they can afford $500.

In the U.S., our business is off because of missed three-and-a-half months of sales, but as stores open, we’re seeing that people didn’t travel and didn’t buy jewelry in Capri or St. Barts, so they’re buying locally.

Something else we’ve noticed: With malls closed—some out of business for good—that has been good news for independent retailers with their own front doors.

JH: What kind of Christmas season are you expecting in the U.S.?

MP: The sentiment is positive, globally. And because Pesavento offers a lot of look and style for an affordable price, our product flies under the radar. We are not the “Better to get forgiveness than ask permission” purchase. We are expecting a bullish holiday season.

JH: Tell me about your newest jewelry collections.

MP: Pesavento has mainly line extensions to existing collections, but they’re strong offerings. We added some shorter links to our paper-clip-like looks and removable components to earrings in our Studio 55 collection. We also have a whole “ear mess” situation for the multiple-piercing crowd, but it’s our response to the woman who wants to wear more but doesn’t want another hole in her head. The look is a small hoop earring with a variety of ear clips in different sizes and in all of Pesavento’s different color ways. The price points are great, from $65 to $115 retail, and all the pieces are sold separately but can be packaged together at checkout.

Finally, there’s a clever brand-new Double Your Charm earring concept that is a halo-like jacket or front-to-back earring. There are 120 different pairs in that collection, all in different sizes and shapes.

Polvere Di Sogni small ear cuff in silver with rose-gold plating, $90; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase

Polvere Di Sogni small ear cuff in silver with rose-gold plating, $90; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase

Polvere Di Sogni small hoop earring in silver with ruthenium plating and the brand’s proprietary surface texturing, $95; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase

Polvere Di Sogni small hoop earring in silver with ruthenium plating and the brand’s proprietary surface texturing, $95; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase

Polvere Di Sogni mini ear cuff in silver with dark gray ruthenium plating and the brand’s proprietary surface texturing, $95; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase

Polvere Di Sogni mini ear cuff in silver with dark gray ruthenium plating and the brand’s proprietary surface texturing, $95; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase

Small/medium Studio 55 earrings with detachable components in silver with ruthenium plating and the brand’s proprietary surface texturing, $425; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase

Small/medium Studio 55 earrings with detachable components in silver with ruthenium plating and the brand’s proprietary surface texturing, $425; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase

Double Your Charm Polvere Di Sogni Large Combo Oval earrings in silver with ruthenium plating and the brand’s proprietary surface texturing, $435; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase

Double Your Charm Polvere Di Sogni Large Combo Oval earrings in silver with ruthenium plating and the brand’s proprietary surface texturing, $435; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase

Double Your Charm Polvere Di Sogni Mini Circle earring in silver with rose gold plating and the brand’s proprietary surface texturing, $475; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase

Double Your Charm Polvere Di Sogni Mini Circle earring in silver with rose gold plating and the brand’s proprietary surface texturing, $475; email ecornfield@gioielligroup.com for purchase


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Destinations

Vicenzaoro VOICE: Anna Gaia of Utopia on Communication, Creativity, and the New Flamante and Mirò Jewelry Collections

Vicenza, Italy. Sept. 12, 2020. Given that Anna Gaia spent most of her quarantine time working, the CEO of Utopia is delighted to reconnect with industry friends and clients this weekend at Vicenzaoro VOICE. With a light presence in the U.S., Gaia aims to interact with mostly Europe-based customers at the fair, who are likely enthusiastic over the prospect of seeing new offerings after a long trade-show hiatus. Gaia is hoping they’ll be dazzled by Utopia’s handiwork, the look and quality of which is no easy feat to produce.

“Retailers need something different,” she says. “The market is mature and more difficult, and the challenge is to find the right product to surprise the customers.”

Voice by VicenzaOro

Jennifer Heebner: What are your expectations for business at the fair?

Anna Gaia: Honestly, I am just so glad to be able to present my collections. There is a saying, “We are starting again!”

JH: What are your Italian retailers telling you about business now? Are sales in Italy starting to pick up? (Utopia has limited distribution in the U.S.)

AG: It is, people are getting back to normality, and we look forward a good winter season. I am positive, Italians don’t give up easily.

I think there is a coming of pearls in fashion, which means a strong interest in pearls combined with gemstones. Another trend is gold bold jewelry, a bit ’80s, to shine more than before.

JH: Tell me about your newest jewelry offerings.

AG: Flamante and Mirò are two of our new collections. Each has more or less 15 SKUs per collection, and the average retail price in each is €5,000. Mirò is interpreting the art of Joan Mirò, which is inspired by geometrical shapes. Mirò is very refined jewelry in diamonds and South Sea pearls. Flamante is very innovative, a fine work of craftsmanship by Italian goldsmiths. We are also launching a line of cameos, reinterpreting Italian art masterpieces. 

Flamante pendant necklace in 18k rose gold with mother-of-pearl, diamonds, and a white South Sea pearl, €15,700; email r.steri@utopia-jewels.com for purchase

Flamante pendant necklace in 18k rose gold with mother-of-pearl, diamonds, and a white South Sea pearl, €15,700; email r.steri@utopia-jewels.com for purchase

Mirò earrings in 18k white gold with diamonds, €18,800; email r.steri@utopia-jewels.com for purchase

Mirò earrings in 18k white gold with diamonds, €18,800; email r.steri@utopia-jewels.com for purchase


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Destinations

Vicenzaoro VOICE: Roberto Coin on Time with Family, VIP Purchases, and the New Love in Verona Jewelry Collection

Vicenza, Italy. Sept. 11, 2020. While he’s pleased to emerge from his home for the Vicenzaoro VOICE fair starting tomorrow, Roberto Coin credits the Covid-19 lockdown for the creative juices they inspired.  

“In the last 40 years, I have never spent so much time in my house,” he says in an email interview. “It has been a precious time in which my creativity was stronger than ever, and, together with the style team, we managed to create new collections.”

More thoughts from the industry legend below.

Voice by VicenzaOro

Jennifer Heebner: How did you and your family spend your time in quarantine? 

Roberto Coin: We have been very lucky; my family and my teams are all fine. Since the beginning of the emergency, the priority was to protect each person, so we immediately started with smart working modality. While defining new assets and strategies, we helped the local health structures, and we opened a special insurance for the Italian team. We also decided to say THANK YOU to those nurses who worked for us during the emergency with special projects that are running in Italy, Spain, U.K., France, and U.S.

Speaking about my days, I spent them with my family, enjoying good food and good wine, cooking and gardening. I have always been in touch with my clients through Zoom and other digital platforms. We all appreciated these opportunities to feel close to each other.

JH: What are your expectations for business at the fair?

RC: We had a good surprise discovering that a lot of VIP clients bought very big pieces, I guess as investments. Our accounts have remained very loyal to Roberto Coin, and we have managed to create new collections during these months. Big sets with diamonds and precious stones have been sold unexpectedly. On the other hand, and as we expected, the majority of clients are now convinced to buy creations only from reputable and ethical brands, and they look for transparency, design, quality, and good price.

JH: What does business in Italy look like now? Is it starting to pick up?

RC: The business situation is hard and complicated in Italy as in the rest of the world today. But I have to be honest, the situation looks better than we have foreseen during the last months. Also in U.S., the business looks better than what I expected. America is a great country and has always been very kind to our brand.

JH: What kind of Christmas season are you expecting in Italy and in the U.S.?

RC: Only God knows. Business and society are changing quickly; the challenge is as big as ever. We are all looking to going back to a “new normality,” in which we feel safe again and somehow better human beings than what we were before.

JH: Tell me about your newest jewelry collection.

RC: It is called Love in Verona and it is already available in the U.S. There are approximately 42 pieces in the collection, and it ranges in retail price from $1,900–$16,500. The collection is inspired by my love for the city of Verona—a city that is synonymous with romance (think Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”). Verona is also in close proximity to my hometown of Vicenza. The signature four-petaled motif of the Princess Collection appears in Love in Verona, but the difference is it is set in high-polished gold for this collection. Love in Verona is already a success that we are all proud and happy about, it has been appreciated both for its design and the romantic story it evokes.

Love in Verona earrings in 18k yellow gold with 0.012 diamonds, $3,300; available online at Saks

Love in Verona earrings in 18k yellow gold with 0.012 diamonds, $3,300; available online at Saks

Love in Verona ring in 18k white gold with 0.93 cts. t.w. diamonds and 0.57 cts. t.w. blue sapphires, $6,950; available online at Roberto Coin

Love in Verona ring in 18k white gold with 0.93 cts. t.w. diamonds and 0.57 cts. t.w. blue sapphires, $6,950; available online at Roberto Coin

Love in Verona medium-size bangle bracelet in 18k rose gold with 0.45 cts. t.w. diamonds, $6,950; available online at Roberto Coin

Love in Verona medium-size bangle bracelet in 18k rose gold with 0.45 cts. t.w. diamonds, $6,950; available online at Roberto Coin


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