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ITALIAN GOLD SHINES ON INTERNATIONAL MARKETS
It is one thing to branch out abroad after becoming established on domestic markets, it is another to be born there. If there is anyone on the national industrial scene that can claim to have based the roots of their success outside the country then it has to be the gold and silver producers. Large and small processors of this “precious” metal alike can be defined as exporters by tradition, this practice dating back to the great naval trading of the 17th century. Historical forerunners of the current international free trade system, the protagonists of the Italian gold and silver-smithing market led the way in what was to become one of the pilot sectors representing Made in Italy throughout the world. There could be no other way for a productive sector that, according to the most recent figures from Federorafi, the Italian Federation of Gold and Silversmiths , exports 70% of domestic productions.
The key terms relating to this international leadership have always been quality and ability to penetrate foreign markets, especially during periods of economic instability such as that we are facing now. In contrast with domestic trends, in the first half of 2011 the sector registered a brilliant performance overseas with export values exceeding 4.5 billion ( 17.5%). In a commercial environment that is so biased in favour of exports, consolidation of sales volumes goes hand in hand with the sector’s international role: the total turnover reached 7 billion euro ( 7.4%). The results for the product show a 16% increase in the export value of jewellery in gold, silver and other precious metals, and 17% for jewellery overall.
“Exports – explains the director of Federorafi, Stefano De Pascale – have a stronger profile than domestic sales. We see more opportunities for development in areas outside the EU, especially in markets further afield. We are happy to note that numerous international buyers who kept their distance for several years have now renewed their interest in our products. Italian companies have retained their inclination towards continued research into new items and innovation of processes to further emphasise Made in Italy creativity, originality and craftsmanship”. Switzerland and China have been identified as the reference markets for Italian gold: 117% for exports in the former instance and 52% in the latter. Continued interest in Made in Italy work has also been shown by Israel ( 29.7%), Turkey ( 19%) and Panama ( 19%).
Goldsmithing is also a sector that reflects traditional Italian production, as it is comprised of a network of small and medium businesses located throughout the entire nation, whose mission is based on the pursuit of high standards of quality for their products. In particular, centres of excellence for goldsmithing and jewellery can be found in the districts of Vicenza, Arezzo, Valenza Po and Naples. Likewise, the production facilities in Padua, Florence, Palermo and le Marche are considered the leading centres for the processing of silver. These are historical points of reference for goldsmithing that upheld tradition while instigating decisive modernisation that was necessary to respond to the needs of the international markets. “An example of this can be found in the events and seminars we organise with the Italian Trade Commission – explains De Pascale – in which we present the trends and the design of our businesses. Large numbers of trade professionals and international journalists attend these events and this shows that Italian jewellery still has a fascination to be reckoned with”.