In a world where Covid-19 was a 'local outbreak in China," I stepped confidently on an airplane for my biannual visit to VicenzaOro. It was January 2020, and the world would soon change completely.
But as vaccination rates rise and we understand more about organizing events in total safety, we long to leave those endless Zoom sessions and connect in real life again. And luckily, VicenzaOro, organized by the IEG, took a huge responsibility to make this possible.
To be honest with you: I can't wait to go!
VicenzaOro is a trade show (industry professionals only) customarily held twice a year. In January, we are used to seeing the new collections for the new year ahead of us, and in September, buyers come to stock up for the holiday season.
I love both shows, but obviously, the September show offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Italy and its many lovely places to visit in the evening, in a warmer setting.
How will it be? Business as Usual or...?
This year, I feel that the show will be extraordinary. It's the first event of this kind and this scale here in Europe,
And we are all curious about which emotions we will be touched. Will it be, even in a smaller setting, business as usual? Or will people feel more excited, emotional, or even more careful and mindful? Are they hopeful? Are they optimistic? In a recent article I wrote for a trade magazine, I asked a Dutch owner of the most prestigious jewelry stores in the Netherlands. She told me that she is utterly upbeat as the first signs are incredibly positive.
I have been conscientious during these months of lockdowns and learned how to live with COVID-19 around us. Socially, my family stayed home, and we didn't see our parents, family, or friends. In the Netherlands, we might have experienced more freedom during the lockdown periods than other countries in Europe, but still. Having a partner who, as head of the veterinary professional organization, dealing directly with government and health organizations, I often got a more exclusive insight into the health threats reality that we are dealing with. It made me extremely careful.
And I admit, I thought well and thoroughly about taking a plane to revisit a trade show in real life. But here is why I answered the kind invitation positively: I learned that the show asks for a Green Pass (or similar proof of vaccination) and that security measurements for keeping everyone safe are very high. I will wear a scarf to protect my throat and a mask to prevent spreading or receiving the virus on the plane. And keeping our distance during the show, in our meetings, and so on, will be mandatory. So yes, I am feeling confident and safe enough to travel and be really excited about the show!
So what to expect? Well, first of all, there will be over 700 companies exhibiting during the show. With all the big names from the Italian jewelry industry! I am so curious to see how they are doing.
Looking forward to listening to their stories and see their new collections!
I am also excited about the events during the show. What stands out for me is the focus on sustainability. A cause that isn't forgotten during the pandemic, perhaps even becoming increasingly crucial in our collective conscious minds. From" we turn off the heater and drive an electric car, so we can show our commitment to sustainability on paper too" to understanding how much we need to do and how vulnerable we are. As a recent documentary on the state of sustainability ( Netflix- Explained; Oil) stated: the planet will survive, but we might not. We face the consequences of our short-term gains and understand that a collective force, a collective action as humans and the companies we run or work within, needs to take action.
The ambitious programma of the ECOSOC ( United Nation's European and Social Council works with the CIBJO ( the World Jewellery Confederation) to meet 17 development goals. I am looking forward to hearing Gaetano Cavalieri speak about the topic with Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), Feriel Zerouki, De Beers Senior VP Corporate Affairs, and Philipp Reisert, Managing Partner of C. HAFNER GmbH & Co. KG. (12th of September: Sustainable Development Goals meeting their challenge)
On Saturday: FAIRTRADE – ETHICAL FAIRTRADE GOLD TO REACH THE HEART OF CONSUMERS
Mara Bragaglia, in art Maraismara, introduced Fairtrade in Italy in 2016, and she will be the guest speaker.
I am personally very much looking forward because up till now, I can't help but think that some companies take their commitment to creating a more fair and more sustainable industry and supply chain extremely seriously. Yet, they tend to be the idealists, the smaller brands, and designers who personally feel highly committed to the cause. Then some more prominent names sometimes give the impression that sustainability is something they flaunt with, using big celebrity names to spread the word or hosting costly events to impress the press with their new routes of becoming sustainable. The first ones are too small to create a considerable change. The second group lacks perhaps a little authenticity in communicating their newfound sustainability and how to voice it.
To create impact and scale, we need, of course, the influence and commitment of the most significant part of jewelry companies. From top to bottom and from bottom to top, they need to feel it as one of their core values, a dedication that goes beyond the politically correct actions.
This also goes for female empowerment and equality ( inclusivity), a prominent item on the speakers' agenda. So, not only am I looking forward to hearing people speak but also to asking questions and scratch the surface a little if I think that the words don't meet the action ;-)
Digital Talks, short sessions about a particularly relevant topic is part of the events calendar for a couple of years, and up till now, I simply did not have the time to attend them, but I hope to do so this time! They ought to be on point and held in smaller sessions.
There are many events to attend; if your schedule allows you to, make sure that you'll visit the ones most relevant to you during your visit. In my experience, the industry's professionals aren't afraid to interact during these sessions, often allowing gaining more knowledge and insights from each other. Sometimes the discussion is heated (Labgrown vs. Natural Diamond does that to you ;-)), but mostly, I find the energy positive and constructive.
So, whether you love to see VO Vintage, are curious to see all the new collections by the amazing jewelry creators, and have a jaw-dropping moment seeing the CENTENARY EGG by Fabergé ( 10 kilo's!) in living memory of Carl Peter Fabergé's passing 100 years ago (the first Fabergé egg was produced in 1885) or meet with bloggers and influencers, finding new jewelry machinery or packaging, come and join me and everyone during the upcoming show!
Date of the event VicenzaOro September 2021:
10th -14th of September.