The Importance of Being Big Brands

Art, jewelry and watch journalist Milena Lazazzera, explains the value of being a brand and the importance of growth to maintain relevance

  • Milena Lazazzera

    Milena Lazazzera

«2010 year marked the beginning of the age of “Going Big”. Historic companies like Cartier, Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels embarked on their global retail expansion, reorganized and rationalized their product offerings and invested additional resources in marketing and promotion. The concept of high jewelry collections originated precisely in this decade, evolving further into bigger and more glitzy events for customers and journalists. The event organized by Bulgari for the launch of the Mediterranea collection in Venice springs to mind. With 400 pieces, it was the largest collection that the Roman brand ever introduced and the presentation lasted a whole week instead of the usual couple of days. But the decade of Going Big was not just about the continual expansion of historic brands. It also marked the entrance of new players into the market, such as Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, whose high jewelry collections defined a veritable turning point, paving the way for other fashion brands like Armani, Prada, Saint Laurent and Fendi and forging a new look. Dolce & Gabbana, for instance, supported Italian craftsmanship and revived ancient techniques such as filigree. They also introduced typical elements of Italian jewelry tradition, such as cameos or ancient coins. Fashion brands that had started producing jewelry in the preceding decade doubled down on their investment in precious stones. The necklace designed by Chanel, for example, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its Chanel No. 5 fragrance, featured an astonishing 55.55-carat diamond. Competition from fashion brands venturing into jewelry naturally put pressure on the supply chain for gemstones and artisans, stimulating creativity. High jewelry no longer revolved purely around the "big four" – diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires – but also included tourmalines, opals or turquoise. Diamond cutters were asked to create new cuts, such as the new Buccellati cut resembling its logo or the octagonal cut of Chaumet's Taille Impératrice.There was more creativity and more choice. And jewelry-lovers were happier than ever.»


Milena Lazazzera
Jewelry historian, s he i s c ontributor f or The New York Times, Financial Times, Vanity Fair, Vogue Business and Tatler. She obtained a master’s degree in Linguistics in Italy and Germany and in Business Administration from French Grande Ecole ESCP Business School. @milenalazazzera 

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