Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Back from Milan!

I returned last night from a brand new high-end jewelry show called About J that took place in Milan. With only about 70 exhibitors and a handpicked list of international buyers, the show was small but packed a big punch. Extremely modern and focused on fashion (the show's media partner was Vogue Gioiello), this trade show was not your average work convention. 

A lot of trends are still in place: rose gold, brown and black diamonds, cabochon-cut stones and purple gems, among them; but the best part of attending is really getting a first look at brand new designs. Today is all about eye candy--I'm going to give you the sneak peek on what's to come from some of the world's most exclusive jewelry brands. (I took these photos straight from the cases, so the quality isn't superlative. But you can still get the idea!)

First up, we have two great Italian brands. On the left is Pianegonda, a very fashion-forward line that began using just sterling silver. Now branching out to 18-karat yellow gold and gemstones, this brand employs large scale and bold designs to create something out-of-the-box. I particularly liked this bracelet and ring--I love the huge, thick ID bracelet with a small diamond accent, and the all gold cocktail ring is made up of small pieces of chain link jumbled together. 

On the right is Florence-based Oromalia. I was smitten with their bangles created from ebony, diamonds and 18-karat gold. I have always liked the mix of natural materials and precious gems and metals, and this new collection really delivered. 

Next up is Gurhan, the Turkish designer based in New York City. I have always been a fan of his 24-karat gold creations, and this year he really mixed it up, also using a lot of sterling silver, diamonds and opals. The black metal look is becoming increasingly popular, and by using oxidized sterling instead of gold, you can get a much more accessible price point. 

Finally today, we have Utopia (above, right). Based in Milan, this company is all about pearls. I was literally taken with their stunning bracelets, created from gorgeous Peacock Tahitian pearls interspersed with gems. The two above feature honed aqua (that looked like gorgeous river rocks) and emerald cabochons. These bright hues really popped when set against the black pearls that have undertones of purple and teal. 

Don't worry--more gorgeous jewels to come later in the week!