«Never before has a meeting with more than a thousand exhibitors from over 120 countries worldwide in the heart of Europe had such special meaning and strength.» This was how the speech by Lorenzo Cagnoni, President of IEG Italian Exhibition Group began at yesterday’s Opening Ceremony, as he summed up the meaning of this special spring edition of Vicenzaoro. «The recent war events urge us to express solidarity and closeness with the people of Ukraine, at the center of the most serious crisis we have experienced since the Second World War. Nonetheless, IEG is not backing down in its support of the jewelry community, which is once again gathering here, more united than ever, acknowledging our role as a reference point. The fully-booked Expo Centre, together with T.Gold, the high-tech hub, and VO'Clock Privè, the new format dedicated to contemporary watchmaking, mean that the sector knows how to respond well to situations of great stress. This edition is therefore a fresh start, with a vision of a lasting and stable future.» And speaking of the future, thoughts must necessarily turn to young people and, therefore, training. After the welcome address from the Mayor of Vicenza, Francesco Rucco, Maria Cristina Franco, Vice-President of the Province of Vicenza, and Alberto Marcato, Veneto Regional Councilor for Productive Activities, Claudia Piaserico, President of Federorafi, dwelt on this key issue, insisting once again on the urgency of finding system cohesion. «Among the actions we are carrying forward is the project involving the Institute of Architecture in Venice and Vicenza University, which are working on a university course to create future professional figures for the sector». Carlo Maria Ferro, President of ITA, was tasked with outlining the data on total Italian exports, which in 2021 recorded 8 billion euros, more than +15% on 2019. According to Ferro, there are three key words that sum up this particular historical and economic moment: satisfaction, concern and awareness. The first due to the important results achieved in spite of the particular international situation of the last two years, understandable concern for the ongoing conflict, and the awareness of the potential still to be expressed by the whole of Made in Italy. «Over the last year, ITA has activated 19 new actions to support exports, while next month, we will be involved in more than 30 events in Italy and about 50 abroad. And here at Vicenzaoro alone, we have collaborated with IEG to bring in more than 300 foreign buyers.» The outlook is rosy but it must be nurtured with passion, like the olive tree in Lorenzo Quinn's work Give, now more than ever a symbol of peace positioned in the center of the Expo Centre square. The artist invited all those present and the authorities to a minute's silence in favor of Ukraine. The day then continued with a series of events with the industry’s main voices. Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO, in the presence of more than 50 foreign delegates, inaugurated the first General Assembly. Today, he will be holding two webinars, completing a rich cycle of online dissemination activities that, over the last two years, have seen more than 40,000 participants of all nationalities virtually connected. This is what he had to say at the start of the Boutique Show: «Italy has always played a leading role in the jewelry industry, and the decision to hold our first General Meeting at Vicenzaoro - undoubtedly the most suitable venue for expressing and debating issues relating to the entire jewelry supply chain - is also intended to recognize Italian entrepreneurship and its values. For us, this event is the conclusion of the virtual congress that we held in two different moments last November over a period of two weeks, during which all topics related to precious stones, corals, diamonds and, of course, responsible sourcing, were discussed.» For Vincenzo Aucella, President of Assocoral, yesterday marked a turning point for all operators in the Campania gold district, thanks to launching the new “Made in Torre del Greco” brand: «The brand addresses a number of elements that have been missing in our sector because our city is unique. With the creation of this first blockchain, we are finally institutionalizing a system, thanks to an online information portal through which members will be able to upload their product, complete with all the information needed to guarantee its authenticity.» Tomorrow will see the first talks at VO' Clock Privè, as well as the TV Talk on new trends in jewelry and the Talk curated by Club degli Orafi entitled “The Scenario for the Goldsmith Sector”, in which the latest study elaborated with Intesa Sanpaolo will be previewed. Since 2005, Intesa Sanpaolo has been collaborating in order to create a statistical report specifically for the Italian jewelry industry.