Professional Jeweler Archive: Brazil's Jewelry Carnaval

December 2003

Professional Insider/Trade Shows

Brazil's Jewelry Carnival

Designers and jewelry manufacturers want to entice independent retailers in the U.S.

If you pride yourself on discovering unique jewelry, take a good look South. Brazil’s designers and manufacturers produce eye-catching jewelry and, best of all, it’s a relatively untapped resource.

Designers and manufacturers from this culturally rich, populous former Portuguese possession are looking at you too. IBGM, the Brazilian Institute of Gems and Precious Metals, sees a fertile market among U.S. independent retailers. Members of the institute see independents as quality-conscious, knowledgeable and a bit daring. They believe these attributes mesh nicely with the features of their jewelry: color intensive, sensuous and unique.

As Brazil’s new focus on jewelry is disseminated worldwide, IBGM’s leadership hopes to develop Brazil’s jewelry exports from nearly $700 million annually now to about $1 billion by 2006.

Brazilian Evolution

You may have traveled to Brazil in search of loose colored gemstones. You still can, but now Brazil’s industry would prefer you focus on a finished jewel; one created there, one that incorporates the country’s gemstone wealth as added value.

The simplest way to see finished jewelry is to visit Feninger, The Brazilian Jewellery Show, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Professional Jeweler was a guest of IBGM at this year’s show in August. The aisles were filled with proof of the exhibitors’ colorful approach to making jewelry.

The jewels are quintessentially Brazilian, including a great deal of rich yellow gold, a profusion of colored gemstones and articulated jewels that jiggle, flash and beckon. Brazilian women love chandelier earrings, for example, and designers went overboard this season with multitudes of different styles. Next year, that will surely change; designers say Brazilian consumers demand new styles every six months or so. This was not always so. “Seven or eight years ago, Brazilian consumers were buying Italian jewelry and we realized we had to offer something Brazilians like. We needed better machines, technology and know-how, new designs – and most of all, an identity,” says Ricardo Vianna, owner of Vianna Joias, Belo Horizonte, Brazil. “So we began to assemble all of that and combine it with our plentiful natural resources.”

“Brazilians, with their great mix of cultures have almost unlimited creativity,” says Manoel Bernardes of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. “Therefore, our competitive edge is creativity and natural resources.”

In his booth, Bernardes gestures toward Miss Brazil 2003, who wears a spectacular rutilated quartz necklace and cuff. “Our intention is to provoke interest and have consumers see new ways of wearing and enjoying jewelry. If we don’t change, we will lose ground to other products, like electronics or cosmetics.” The notion might be working: This unusual choice in gemstone, rutilated quartz, is all the rage in stodgy, conservative Japan, say Brazilian designers who use the gem.

A revolution is well under way for many Brazilian manufacturers. Edmundo Calhau Filho, director of IBGM, says his association undertook a critical analysis of trends starting in the late 1990s. “We observed trends at shows worldwide, such as at Basel and the JCK Show,” he says. “Later we had intense meetings to interpret the trends we saw and how we could apply them to an overall Brazilian look and feel.” One manufacturer crafted gold pendant earrings in the form of banana bunches to give them a Brazilian feel. Flowers and leaf motifs are prevalent also.

Despite the new emphasis, Brazilians are not new to jewelry. World-renowned Brazilian jewelry retailers H. Stern and Amsterdam Sauer, both based in Rio de Janeiro, are leading the charge for creating a recognized identity in jewelry. Among Sauer’s many goals, for example, is a focus on interpreting famous Brazilian artist Candido Portinari in a line of jewels appealing to Brazilian and international consumers.

Calhau Filho agrees. “That is what we want to do. We want jewels that can be worn anywhere in the world and look fashionable,” he says. “We want our colored gems, jewels, watches and gifts to form a positive, inspired image. We want top-quality jewels that, in a word, say Brazil.”

  • IBGM, Sao Paulo, Brazil; (55-61) 326-3926, ibgm @

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Top: Brazil’s gold, gems and creative design come together in this articulated tourmaline ring and drop earrings by Vianna Joias, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; (55-31) 3434 9000.
Bottom: Nature-inspired earrings from the Petunia Collection feature 18k gold, pink tourmaline, imperial topaz and diamond. Vancox, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; (55-31) 3225 0650.

Amsterdam Sauer, a vertically integrated mine-to-retail business in Rio de Janeiro, is capitalizing on Brazil’s artistic wealth to create jewels unique to Brazil and international in feel. “Kites” by Brazilian artist Candido Portinari inspires an Amsterdam Sauer Kite ring. Amsterdam Sauer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; (55-21) 2525-0000.

Miss Brazil 2003, wears a necklace and arm cuff of rutilated quartz mounted in gold. Brazilian manufacturers want to capitalize on the country’s gem wealth while creating designs that capture attention. Manoel Bernardes, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; (31-32) 823-613. Photo by Robert Weldon.

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications