While many exhibitors are debuting new collections at this year’s show, Dubai-based jeweller Damani is launching an entire new brand. Dusoul – ‘the soul of Dubai’ – blends classic with accessible styles for millennial customers, and will go on general sale from 21 November. The Dusoul style is captured in this ring: a blend of 18-carat gold and 5.16 carats worth of diamonds (AED 42,000).
At the high end of the jewellery market, business remains impervious to external factors. With a Dubai history stretching back 50 years, Mahallati has long been at the heart of this segment. At this year’s show, its statement pieces include a necklace and earring set that features 150 carats of diamonds and 48.43 carats of ‘oil-free’ Colombian emeralds, with unusual clarity and depth for gemstones of this size (AED 4.2m).
An event such as VOD Dubai International Jewellery Show is ideal for brands with global ambitions, such as Malabar Gold and Diamonds, whose business targets Indian expats. Although the company has 250 outlets everywhere from the US to Malaysia, pieces for its customers in this region are designed and manufactured in the UAE. This necklace and earring set marries 18 carat gold with diamonds and tanzanites, and retails for AED 730,000 and AED 181,000 respectively.
For other companies, that global plan is just beginning. This year’s show is the first time Polish design house Amber Vision has come to Dubai, with the aim of introducing its unique offering into the Middle East market. Everything Amber Vision creates is crafted from amber, mostly sourced from Poland, plus Russia and the Ukraine. This scale model Mercedes-Benz is – like all the company’s pieces – a one-off, directly commissioned by a client. A genuine labour of love, it weighs 8.3kg and has a value of AED 370,000. It took a team of up to 10 people a year to complete.
While at least half the exhibitors at VOD Dubai International Jewellery Show operate in the B2C sphere, some have more unusual markets in mind. This striking piece of golden headwear is typical of the creations displayed by Greek jewellery designer Thyreos Vassiliki, who comes to Dubai to showcase the pieces her company designs for movies, theatres, installations and private collectors. Inspired by ancient female warriors, its aesthetic exhibits her ‘jewellery as art’ philosophy, and technique of reinterpreting ancient myths and motifs in contemporary styles.
HR Diamonds & Jewellery LLC
Everyone loves a diamond, and that’s as true of Dubai as anywhere else: the city has established itself as one of the world’s premier diamond trading hubs. For a firm such as HR Diamonds, business at the top end of the market remains brisk. Its stand features an array of sparklers, and attracts a steady stream of both serious dealers and casual admirers. These exceptionally large stones weigh in at 27, 30, 42 and 50 carats each, and add up to a cool AED 11.3m in total value.
Under the umbrella of the Russian Federation Ministry of Industry & Trade, five Russian brands have this year become the first from their country to show at VOD Dubai International Jewellery Show, with a mission to test the Arabian market’s appetite for Russian jewellery styles. They include Tarutin, a craftsman whose handmade pieces blend vintage styles with exuberant touches. Highly sought-after in his home country, each piece takes up to two months to craft. This trio demonstrates typical styles and price points, ranging from AED 30,000 to AED 180,000 depending on the gemstones used.
Also sharing the Russian pavilion is Bandini, who often specialise in men’s jewellery, and who are showing a collection created in 2015 for the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. Both the Romanov family and the Bandini brand originate from the same city – Kostroma – and the collection is rich with historical details: such as a pair of earrings (AED 22,000) that uses the Romanov crown, and a bracelet (AED 20,800) and necklace (AED 23,900) that feature the city’s monastery. Only five of the eight unique pieces in the collection remain available.
In contrast to the Russians’ first visit, some VOD Dubai exhibitors are regular attendees. Italian house Ferrarifirenze, for example, has been coming to the region for several years, and now regards Dubai as a key market, and this show as a key opportunity. Priding itself on preserving traditions, and on doing everything in-house – right down to the clasps many others outsource – Ferrarifirenze’s intricate and delicate pieces often feature gold, diamonds and sapphires, but are deliberately priced at the more affordable end of luxury jewellery. The rings shown here retail for between AED 15,000 to AED 36,000.
Dubai’s own history of precious stones is, of course, rich with tales of the pearls that helped fuel the city’s original growth. British pearl specialist Yoko of London has been coming to VOD Dubai for five years, partly because the region’s enduring love for pearls makes this an important market, but also because they regard the show as particularly well run. This year, their display highlights their ‘Royal Wedding Collection’, featuring well-received items such as this necklace (AED 180,000).