Distinguished “Made in Italy” Jewels with character: We’re talking about jewellery with Marco Bicego, a Vicenza designer and prominent icon in the international gold industry who is known for his bold identity. I met with him in Milan for the inauguration of his first single-brand store in Via della Spiga, in the heart of the gold quadrilateral. With great success in the U.S.A., today, Marco tells us why he chose Italy for his first store in a moment of great uncertainty and what determines the success of a jewel.
This new opening in Milan reinforces a trend that is seeing the increasing presence of luxury jewellery in the neighbourhood. What led you to open in Italy and during such a delicate time?
MB – I am Italian and Italian excellence is one of the most important and distinctive traits of my brand and my manufacture: I couldn’t help but want to obtain a spot in the most important and representative marketplace in the “Made in Italy” world of fashion.
Who buys Marco Bicego jewels and what do they want from the brand?
MB – Cosmopolitan women who travel and are unique in their search for accessories and elegant jewels; jewels of exceptional, recognizable quality that have a timeless personality and don’t follow trends. They appreciate elegance and versatility: they want the option to combine and reinterpret jewellery by wearing valuable jewels any time they want, whether it is daily life of the most special occasions.
How do Italian customers behave when buying jewellery? What do they look for and what price range are they looking for?
MB – I think they are increasingly looking for noticeable and timeless value, definite quality and extraordinary standards. A jewel is still an investment and must keep its value over time. Because of this, we focus on 18K gold, stones and artisanal and distinct manufacture.
What makes a Bicego jewel unique?
MB – The creativity of my jewels is strongly connected to my origins and my territory; I try to couple tradition with contemporary design. We are distinguished by Italian excellence, 18K gold, exclusive manufacture and imperfect shapes, inspired by nature where nothing is symmetric but organic, fluid and irregular. The signature of the brand is the burin, incisions entirely done by hand that gives gold a silky yet matte finish.
Can you quickly outline your position in foreign markets? What is your key market today and what do foreign markets like?
MB – We are present all over the world, but America represents about 45% of our sales volume. I think that they continue to look for an identity, typically Italian style and that artisanal touch that has made us important experts over time.
In the face of a significant increase in small independent international designers, privileged for design, creativity and experimentation, how should a jewellery brand act to compete with these new players?
MB – I think staying true to itself and its values and to the choices made over time that have given it the chance to grow; keeping an eye to the here and how as well as the future; and listening and understanding the public.
Let’s talk about your collections. What is the most iconic? What is your best seller? Is there a difference between each market? For example what do they prefer in America? And in Asia?
MB – A twisted coil technique has been an inimitable icon in my creations since the very beginning. Gold strands are twisted, creating a contemporary, timeless and elegant texture. Without doubt, the collection that most represents me is Marrakesh, made of waves and sinuous, unique and irregular shapes. Generally, the foreign market – the American one in particular – is mainly drawn to the long necklaces in each collection. I think it’s because of their versatility and possibility of being worn, interpreted and reinvented according to mood, style and occasion.
Any projects planned for the future?
MB – My future projects have taken a distinct direction for 2014, meaning even more single-brand shops all over the world and, naturally, in my country, Italy. From the other side, we are also concentrating on the reinforcement and increase of brand presence where it has already been introduced and widely appreciated. We also want to explore new opportunities in emerging markets.
Text by Federica Frosini