"We see big potential in the Middle East" — Damiani jewellery's Silvia Damiani
The Vice President of Damiani jewellery
Established in 1924, Italian fine jewellery brand Damiani has been delivering the highest quality pieces to its customers for over 90 years. The brand is set to officially open its new store in The Dubai Mall this Wednesday and ahead of the event Buro 24/7 Middle East columnist Farouk Chekoufi spoke with the brand's Vice President Silvia Damiani...
Damiani is a true family business, full of Italian passion...
Yes! It's mainly a passion that my grandfather passed on to my father first and that my father passed on to myself and my brothers Guido and Giorgio. We have been exposed since childhood to the beautiful art of jewellery making, and the passion of the family has also been reflected in the commitment and dedication of the people that work in our Valenza factory. Many of them have followed their father's and grandfather's steps, so we have second and third generation artisans and skilled workers with us.
What celebrities are fans of the brand?
In the early '90s we started using iconic actors and actresses in our advertising and these celebrities have also been personal friends and have been very supportive of the brand with a relationship that always went beyond a business agreement. Each of them has a special place in our heart from Sophia Loren to Sharon Stone, Tilda Swinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Isabella Rosellini and more.
What sets Damiani apart from other fine jewellery houses?
We create everything in-house so we have the flexibility and the know-how to be as creative as we want and we have a strong vocation to high jewellery and custom-made jewellery. The fact that we hold the record for 18 Diamonds International Awards which are given for the best design is proof of our constant research. Our product laboratory is constantly being challenged to introduce new techniques and new materials, always with excellence in mind.
How do you describe your passion for and your relationship with jewellery?
We used to live above the laboratory, that was our life, so I have grown up surrounded by jewels, stones and precious materials. I started to work with my father when I was 19, and learnt every aspect of choosing and buying stones (I am a gemologist) and from there I went into designing some pieces.
What made you want to become a jewellery designer ?
Because I simply adore jewellery. I feel incomplete if I do not wear jewellery and as a woman, I know what other women would like to wear or to see on themselves to feel more beautiful and more confident.
Can you describe your design studio and the creative team working with you ?
I travel extensively and the design team is based in Valenza, Italy, but I am always in contact to share my ideas and findings. Sometimes I send them sketches or mood ideas... Anything that I find inspiring in the place where I am at that moment.
There is a more relaxed approach to jewellery. Women mix a casual outfit, like jeans and tennis shoes, with a great piece of high jewellery, like a fabulous gem.
How do you keep your ideas and the creative dialogue fresh?
Travelling, visiting interesting places, asking women what they like to wear and, even though jewellery has different timings and is not so seasonal, keeping an eye on fashion trends.
What has changed the most in terms of the attitude towards jewellery since you've been designing?
There is a more relaxed approach to jewellery. Women mix a casual outfit, like jeans and tennis shoes, with a great piece of high jewellery, like a fabulous gem. When I started, high jewellery was only for big occasions.
Who is the Damiani woman today?
A woman who is elegant, self confident, loyal to the brand because she feels in tune with it and who appreciates beautiful jewels with a history.
What are the key markets for Damiani ?
Italy is our strongest market, followed by Japan, Russia, China, and now the Middle East where we see big potential.
What do you think about the Middle Eastern market?
It is very interesting for us and full of opportunities. There are similarities with Italy, because in the Middle East jewels are such a big part of the culture and style. Also, customised jewellery is particularly appreciated, and that is one of Damiani's strong points.
What are the brand's seven most iconic pieces?
Ou D Icon collection, based on ceramic and colour; Belle Epoque, our best seller that is refined and subtle; the sensual Eden; the timeless Gomitolo; Minou in the Bridal section and in the Masterpiece session, Mimosa, an example of amazing workmanship.
The Middle East is very interesting for us and full of opportunities. There are similarities with Italy, because jewels are such a big part of the culture and style.
What are the next steps for the brand ?
To continue the international expansion in key regions like China And Middle East. We have an impeccable record and are recognised worldwide as a maison of jewellery of pure excellence. We want to make Damiani a true global luxury brand whilst keeping our DNA intact. We are one of the few international maisons left to design, manufacture and sell our jewels and the company is still in the family in its third generation. We would like to maintain that uniqueness, while expanding our markets.
Five quick questions with Silvia Damiani...
Your favorite colour? Valentino Red.
Your favorite stone? Diamond.
Your favorite metal? Gold.
What does luxury mean to you? Real elegance.
Who is your muse? Women with personality, passion, ideals and innate style.
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