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Jewelry designer Roberto CoinWhat a Gem!

It seems only fitting that when Roberto Coin founded his company in 1977 he chose Vicenza, Italy, which is known as “the city of gold.” The Italian-born jewelry designer built a reputation for creating stunning designs exclusively in the precious metal before adding diamonds and colored gemstones that are his signature today. In the late ’90s, a hidden ruby was added to each Roberto Coin collection piece to mark it as an original. According to ancient Egyptian legend, when a ruby touches the skin of a woman it brings happiness and good fortune. “It is a wonderful tradition,” says the designer.

Coin’s style of blending centuries-old Italian craftsmanship with modern design in every collection has won him legions of fans, including Prince Charles, Isabelle Adjani and many other international figures. Today, Coin is truly a worldwide name in fine jewelry with boutiques all over the U.S. and Europe, Brazil, Asia and the United Arab Emirates. We caught up with the globetrotting designer prior to his personal appearance at Saks in Naples on Dec. 7.


Arm candy: Coin’s Ipanema collection showcases semiprecious faceted gems in 18-karat yellow gold.Your collections always have an element of luxury that makes them unique. How important is that to you in today’s retail climate?

Nowadays the word “luxury” has a quite negative connotation since it is often associated with excess. In fact, a luxury jewel must have beauty, style and intelligence, too. Uniqueness is essential to my way of thinking, and I believe our brand is different from all the others. Every piece has a story that makes it unique and somehow it is able to tell this story.


Wild side: Even scorpions can be beautiful when encrusted with black and brown diamonds, as in these bangles from Coin’s Animalier collection.What was your inspiration for your jewelry collections?

I think that part of my inspiration takes nourishment from my culture, my continuous traveling and learning about peoples’ historic values and arts. As Italians, we feel that our inspiration comes from our genes. We love culture, history, painting, sculpture, architecture, design and nature. All these important elements give inspiration, but the most important thing for me is to create something never seen before.


What are the key pieces a woman needs in her wardrobe?

My personal “must have” list today is beautiful cocktail rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants and collars.


The Ipanema collection includes multicolored gemstone earrings, as well.Did you always know you wanted to be a designer? Who were the designers you admired growing up?

Since I was a young boy I highly appreciated fashion, and I always wanted to dress women. While in the hotel business, I met many interesting and fashionable ladies, and I wanted to see if my dream could become true. I tried, and this is who I am today—probably one of the most innovative jewelry designers worldwide. I also paid much attention to the maestros of jewelry and fashion, and I understood from day one that I had to be myself.


Where do you see your label going in the future?

As a big dreamer, I feel I will have a special future. We are now in 53 different countries and as long as we remain the same as today—highly respected, with high quality and endless creativity—we will surely have a flowery future.

Stack them up: Worn individually or together, these bangles in yellow and rose gold with amethyst, lemon or smoky quartz, crystal rock or colorless diamonds add a bit of understated glamour.Where to buy Roberto Coin

Congress Jewelers, 2075 Periwinkle Place, Suite 35, Sanibel; 472-4177.

Mayors, Coconut Point, 23140 Fashion Drive, Suite 107, Estero; 948-5435.

Nordstrom, Waterside Shops, 5489 Tamiami Trail N., Naples; 325-6100.

Saks Fifth Avenue, Bell Tower Shops, 13499 Tamiami Trail N., Naples; 489-0980.

Saks Fifth Avenue, Waterside Shops, 5395 Tamiami Trail N., Naples; 592-5900.

Yamron Jewelers, Waterside Shops. 5555 Tamiami Trail N., Suite 11, Naples; 592-7707.

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