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Luxury That Lasts
WHEN GIORGIO GRASSI DAMIANI was a child, he and his two siblings would follow their jeweler father on his trips to the gemstone capitals of the world – Thailand and Hong Kong for coloured stones, Japan and Tahiti for pearls, and Africa for diamonds and other stones. On weekends in their hometown of Valenza, Italy, his “workaholic” father would even take the children to his office where he’d let them play with harmless instruments and not-so-precious stones.
In 1996 when their father died, Mr Damiani and his siblings – Silvia and Guido – took over the business and helped turn it into a global luxury company with stores in every shopping capital of the world. Damiani is the only goldsmith in the world to have won 18 Diamond International Awards, the Oscars of the jewelry world. And its pieces have been spotted on celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tilda Swinton and Eva Longoria.
But for Mr Damiani, who is Vice President of the Damiani Group, his biggest point of pride may be the fact that Damiani remains very much a family company, rather than a brand within a luxury conglomerate the likes of LVMH, Kering and Richemont. “We’re the only international jewelry company in the world that hasn’t been absorbed into a larger entity,” he says.
As Damiani celebrates its 95th anniversary this year, it marks the occasion with limited edition pieces of its iconic Belle Epoque collection touring the world, as well as the creation of a special logo. One of its standout pieces is the Rainbow version of the Belle Epoque necklace with a separable cross, adorned with different coloured sapphires. There is also the spectacular Mimosa Rainbow collection made from diamonds, coloured sapphires and rubies in the hues of the rainbow.
Mr Damiani says: “We’ve done well in 2019 with good sales. And despite the market slowdown for some, particularly in the middle segment of the luxury market, we’ve been able to create high-quality pieces that consistently appeal to a category of people for whom there is never a point that they cannot spend.”
To that end, Damiani keeps its designs “innovative but conservative” so that they have long-lasting appeal: “A jewelry piece is something you’d want to have for the rest of your life. You’d want to ensure it continues to have value in the future… And so while we pay close attention to trends, we interpret them through our paradigm of ‘innovative/conservative’.”
Damiani was founded in 1924 by Mr Damiani’s grandfather, Enrico Damiani, in the famous Valenza goldsmith district. The business was subsequently handed down to Enrico’s son Damiano who oversaw the industrial and commercial expansion of the company, as well as various design innovations of its pieces.
In the hands of his wife and three children today, Damiani has become a global brand with 60 boutiques around the world. Damiani’s top performing market is its birth country of Italy, followed by Japan, Russia and the United States.
But while the company has embarked on aggressive expansion plans in the past two decades, Mr Damiani remains certain about one crucial reason for the company’s success: “It’s that we continue to make our pieces according to centuries-old craftsmanship. We respect the skill and know-how that have been passed down generations… That’s value that will never go away.”
Damiani Singapore boutique is located in Ngee Ann City.