There’s been plenty of forecasts during the past two years that a recession or a partial recession is inevitable. However, the economy appears to be gaining strength. Encouraging signs include the fact that inflation has moderated significantly over the past six months to 6.3 percent as of December 2022, though it remains too high. The job market has proved remarkably resilient. U.S. Labor Department data showed an increase of 517,000 jobs in January resulting in an unemployment rate of 3.4 percent, the lowest jobless level since May 1969.
Perhaps this is why there was plenty of optimism among the retailers and exhibitors at the Centurion Jewelry Show in Phoenix. The invitation-only fair for luxury retailers and manufacturers serves as the first major jewelry trade show in the U.S. in an environment that is conducive to networking and business. Some of the exhibitors at the show have widespread recognition, while others are known within the trade.
The show held January 28 – February 1 completed its 22nd year. Most of the invited exhibitors and retailers have been attending for years but there were some newcomers. Among them, 16 jewelry manufacturers from Italy under the umbrella of “The Extraordinary Italian Jewelry,” a promotional effort by the Italian Trade Agency targeting the U.S. with jewelers that have earned the “Made in Italy” merchandise mark. The project was first announced in June 2022 with Italian officials identifying the U.S. as the largest market for its jewels during the pandemic.
Among the exhibitors were contemporary high jeweler, Vhernier, hand-crafted gold manufacturer, Pippo Perez, which produces fun charms and symbol jewels in high-quality materials, and fine jewelry brand, Miseno.
Pasquale Bruni, an Italian luxury jewelry brand that specializes in gold jewels using unique gem cuts, presented the latest pieces from its nature-inspired collection, Giardini Segreti, made with 18k rose and white gold with a scattering of diamonds.
Vendorafa, which specializes in highly crafted 18k gold jewels, presented pieces from its new Torre collection, inspired by battlement castle tower architecture.
Outside of the Italian brands, SYNA, a U.S. jewelry brand, presented its collection of exotic colorful jewels, including the Jardin Emerald Vine Earrings. It consists of emerald cabochons totaling 17 carats set in 18K yellow gold in a vine-like pattern topped with a sprinkling of diamonds that have the appearance of dew drops.
Los Angeles based, Lisa Nik, founded by Lisa Nikfarjam, combines colored gems and diamonds in artful contemporary designs. She says that this year she is expanding her collections by focusing on ear climbers and layering, creating jewels using different materials that allow wearers to be creative.
Suna Bros. was showing a new line of flexible platinum jewels that are being marketed and sold under the brand, “Platinum Born,” a promotional effort sponsored by Platinum Guild International, the marketing arm of the platinum jewelry industry. Manufactured in Japan using new processes, these pieces are light and airy as well as flexible and delicately textured, expanding the potential for platinum jewels.
Internationally renowned French diamond jewelry brand, Messika, presented pieces from its high jewelry collection and jewels from its D-Vibes collection, featuring rows of diamonds set in 18k gold.
Tacori, a well-known diamond jewelry brand that creates bridal and fine fashion jewelry, had the breadth of their collections at the show with natural and lab-grown diamonds. Michael Deal, Tacori business growth leader, says one trend is that there’s been an increase in demand for bridal jewelry made with yellow gold. In addition, there’s an increase for fancy-shaped diamonds as opposed to the traditional round diamond, although round diamonds remains the most popular shape.
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