Just a few days after the launch of his latest high-end jewellery collection, “Merveilles des Océans”, Alberto Vitale, heir of a family that has worked in the jewellery trade for over a hundred years, tells us some of the secrets and virtues of the brand that bears his name. With a heartfelt conviction: that listening to and understanding the desires of customers is still fundamental for success in any trade.
(cover picture: Ring Ocean – Inspired by the majestic waves – Opal: 26,91ct / Blue Diamonds: 1,35ct / White Diamonds: 5,32ct – © Amedeo M. Turello)
F.1.M. : Maison Vitale is a great story of a family business carried on for more than a century, and you represent the latest generation …
A.V. : Our history is intertwined with that of the Valenza district and began in the early nineteenth century when my great-grandparents founded their first jewellery workshop in Valenza itself. Their business managed to survive hard times through both World Wars and prospered up to around the ‘seventies, more or less when my father began to develop an interest in the diamond trade which brought new perspectives into the trade. The story of the Valenza district followed much the same course, but its model began to falter somewhat in the ‘nineties due to fierce competition from Asia, and many companies found themselves in difficulty adapting to the changing demand. The world was changing, and a few years later in 2000 following a deep-reaching analysis of the company, I saw the need to start out with new ideas, but that still managed to express the heritage of this long-standing family business. Today the average age of our employees is 30-32, which makes Vitale 1913 a very young company but with a great outlook, given that it straddles both the jewellery and the finance sectors. Valenza is where we manufacture and the jewellery of Valenza is famous throughout the world for its high craftsmanship and represents “made in Italy” at its finest. In Valenza we’ve got a team of 14 people, while here in the Principality we have 6 serving our customers.
Ring Galet – Inspired by the sea and its coming and going, caresings the shingles on the beach – Rubellite: 14,02ct / White Diamonds: 2,70ct / Moonstone: 8,26ct – © Amedeo M. Turello
F.1.M. : Maison Vitale and the Principality of Monaco. Though nestled between the mountains and the sea, Monte Carlo is a lively meeting point for supply and demand, a vivacious international melting pot. What is it that distinguishes Monte Carlo from the rest of the world?
A.V. : The Principality has one of the highest concentrations of wealth in the entire world, but one of the cardinal differences between it and the rest of the world is undoubtedly its safety, and so the chance it offers to wear fine and precious jewellery without the fear of being mugged, a fear that one would have if one was to wear the same jewellery in most other international cities. This is perhaps even more important for Monte Carlo than the fiscal aspect. The quality of life around Monte Carlo and the Côte d’Azur is truly unique.
F.1.M. : Precisely because Monte Carlo is an international destination, you have women arriving from every corner of the globe! Are the things they’re looking for different according to their culture or origins?
A.V. : Maybe in the past, but these days less. People are travelling more and practically live on the Web, a medium that has completely eliminated distance. So, with the all the information circulating on digital platforms, along with the posts of bloggers and journalists, everything we make is published almost instantly. Information and follow-up is the key to the future.
Ring Neptune – Inspired by Mediterranean red coral – Aquamarine: 16ct / White Diamonds: 0,78ct / Blue Diamonds: 0,63ct / Cultivated Pearls: 13 – © Amedeo M. Turello
F.1.M. : How are your high jewellery creations conceived?
A.V. : There isn’t any single way. Sometimes it’s the stone that inspires a special piece, or our Creative Director Martin Leyrit who starts with a sketch that gradually becomes a concept and then we go looking for the perfect stone to realise it with. For us, creating a piece of jewellery means creating a work of art at the same time as giving our customers what they dream of: feeling beautiful wearing a creation that truly represents them and they can identify with. Our creative director has been working on this approach for some time now: creating a jewellery concept using the codes of elegance belonging to the universe of luxury, but always remaining faithful to the brand.
F.1.M. If you could define Vitale jewellery in just a few words?
A.V. : Unique. Faithful to the customer’s personality. Coherent with trends but freely creative. I love spending time with our clients, I pass half my day just listening to them. Doing just that helped me develop a whole series of services tailored to meet all the different demands of the world of high jewellery. Here we call them Vitale Plus.
Earrings Fleur des Mers Bleue – Inspired by the coral “Lobophyllia” Unique coral taking the shape of a flower – White Diamonds: 5,80ct / Blue Sapphire: 7,82ct – © Amedeo M. Turello
F.1.M. : And what would they be?
A.V. : As we create our collections we offer a range of services related to investments in precious stones, security and managing the jewellery assets of our customers. Over the years, through study and constant experience in the field, I’ve developed an approach that stems from a real need of clients who all too often can’t find anyone properly qualified to advise them. I’m convinced that any trade, especially one like ours, has to be based on sound ethical principles. So I always try to put myself in the customer’s shoes to help them with bespoke services: from expert valuations to safeguarding and security.
F.1.M. : In terms of your highest creations, is there any particular universe you draw on for inspiration?
A.V. : Nature is the primary source. In this particular period the main theme is the sea. In June, Maison Vitale is indeed presenting its first collection of high jewellery entitled “Merveilles des Océans”, inspired by the sheer beauty of the marine landscape. Us living in the Principality of Monaco have the sea in our DNA, so much so that whenever we leave, we leave with that beautiful nuance of azure in our minds. All-in-all between Vitale and the sea there’s a deep relationship you can even see in our logo, in shades of navy blue and silver evoking the nautical world inspired by the thousands of wakes cut across the surface of the sea in the bay of Monaco. We wanted to convey an important message through the Merveilles des Océans collection: the need to protect the marine environment and its great heritage.
A while ago at the Yacht Club I watched a documentary that really touched me. It was entitled Plastic Ocean and focused on saving the oceans. It’s a project that for many years has been one of the pillars of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which has always taken an interest in philanthropic issues and social responsibility. That was the inspiration, and from that moment the step toward creating items of high jewellery inspired by the purity and beauty of the oceans was a natural consequence. This is the reason why we have created a partnership with the Prince Albert II Foundation and after having already offered a precious ring which was auctioned at last years Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean and managed to raise a significant sum for this cause, we are going to donate a percentage of all sales of the “Merveilles des Océans” collection to the Foundation.. During the launch of the collection a specially created High-Jewellery necklace “Corail méditerranée” will be offered to Prince Albert II in person and this will be auctioned at this years Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean on 26th September 2018 with the entire sum going to the Prince Albert II Foundation.
Earrings Danse de la Mer – Inspired by the majestic dance of waves – Coral: 12,10ct / Aquamarine: 4,43ct / White Diamonds: 4,01ct / Pink Sapphire: 1,12ct – © Amedeo M. Turello