Centurion Jewelry Presents 21st Edition Of Its Elite, Design-Driven Show At Arizona Biltmore In Phoenix
Jewelery Diamond

Centurion Jewelry Presents 21st Edition Of Its Elite, Design-Driven Show At Arizona Biltmore In Phoenix

Every winter, the upmarket Centurion Jewelry Show attracts leaders of the design-driven, luxury jewelry world to its annual trade exhibition. This year, Centurion gathered together almost 200 independent designers from January 30 to February 1. While snowstorms prevented some exhibitors from traveling to the show, nearly 400 retailers viewed collections and one-of-a-kind pieces at the Arizona Biltmore Waldorf Astoria resort in Phoenix.

Centurion’s glittering salons and buzzing exhibition halls featured 175 designers and manufacturers from the U.S., Europe and the United Kingdom. As Centurion occurred a few days before the annual international Tucson Gem Shows began, this timing enabled many attendees to enjoy Centurion and then hop on over to the globally important Tucson shows, which include the prestigious AGTA and GJX fairs, all within the same week. As Sweta Jain, designer & president of the New York-based luxury fine jewelry company Goshwara explained, “Since Goshwara is a collection-based brand specializing in elegant yet high-spirited; fun pieces and Centurion is all about people presenting innovative collections, Centurion is an important show for retailers. Because it happens so early in the calendar year, Centurion’s also influential in the bridal and ultra-luxury categories.” Jain, who launched her company in 2005 to fill a void in the market, showed an array of highly colorful yet classic jewels. Particularly appealing are Goshwara’s Manhattan collection of emerald cut amethyst, prasiolite, blue topaz, citrine and other colored stone cocktail rings, earrings and necklaces.

Founded in 2001, Centurion has grown exponentially and become an influential industry event (and brand.) According to the show’s founder Howard Hauben. “Since its inception, Centurion has helped generate nearly one billion dollars in sales. We have always worked hand-in-hand with our exhibitors to make our show strong and nimble enough to weather major challenges like 9-11 and the global financial meltdown of 2008-2009. Our business associates,” he said, “have proven themselves to be resourceful and strong despite the pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We sold out of exhibit space in the summer of 2021,” he continued, “and this year, we are showing for the first time in the Arizona Biltmore, which is an architecturally brilliant; beautifully landscaped property.” While the Biltmore’s expansive event spaces are indeed well-suited to hosting a luxury jewelry trade show, “The property’s restaurants, expansive grounds, swimming pools, golf courses, spa and relaxed desert vibe make it a marvelous venue,” Hauben added.

Some of the most artistically fresh collections presented at Centurion came from overseas jewelers. For example, those from Miseno, founded by Antonio Cardamuro and based in Naples, Italy, are inspired by the sun, sea and rich cultural history in and around Capo Miseno. Defining the northwestern limit of the Gulf of Naples and the Bay of Pozzuoli, the headland of Capo Miseno sits across the water from the island of Procida. (Fun fact: Capo Miseno is named for Misenus, the musical character in Virgil’s mythic Aeneid who plays the conch shell so melodiously that the waves sound like they are singing.) A jewelry industry veteran who formerly worked for the global brands Bulgari and Buccellati, Cardamuro explained, “I started Miseno in 2014 to create jewels that embody aspects of my heritage and my upbringing in Miseno, which in antiquity was a leading Roman port. As it’s on the Bay of Naples, Miseno is naturally a very beautiful place.”

In Miseno’s collection, Raggi (Italian for “ray”), 18-karat gold and diamond jewels embody sun ray motifs that radiate the wonders of light and life-giving energies. While the Raggi collection embodies delicate lines and sensual sculpture, the kinetic Faro (Italian for “lighthouse”) collection draws conceptually from Capo Miseno Lighthouse. Other notable Miseno offerings include the 18-karat gold and highly colorful Baia Collection. Variously set with mother-of-pearl, malachite plus white and black diamonds, these bracelets and cuffs are inspired by the ancient; exquisitely beautiful Roman polychrome mosaics that lie at the bottom of Capo Miseno’s Bay and are (wonderfully) visible from glass bottom boats.

Hailing from the other side of the world, the 70-year-old Los Angeles-based heritage company Rahaminov Diamonds debuted new diamond jewelry designs animated by an updated version of its highly distinctive, proprietary Movál® cut. (Movál® diamonds are available only through Rahaminov Diamonds. Their new elongated oval cut embodies aspects of the classic marquise cut, yet its silhouette is softened with the curves of an oval. Company owners Tamara Rahaminov (an award-winning jewelry designer) and her husband Amir Goldfiner opened the Los Angeles office of Rahaminov in 1989 and grew it from a fine diamond firm into a luxury diamond jewelry brand. Today, Amir and Tamara’s daughters serve in decisive company roles, and so a third generation is evolving the brand.

Another family-owned brand of note exhibiting at Centurion was the Canadian brand Anzie Jewelry, founded by Anzie Stein. Known since 1999 for its colorful jewels that embody carefree elegance, Anzie pieces are designed by her daughter Jaclyn Stein. Anzie and her daughter Joanna presented a kaleidoscopically colorful array of new and dynamic collections to this writer. Along with a vast array of irresistible 14-karat gold ring designs, charming earrings and ear studs, Anzie debuted super-glam colored gemstone ear crawlers that cost under $500.00 yet look like high luxury statement pieces. Score! Anzie’s marvelous moonstone evil eye pendant necklaces and terrific turquoise pieces (pictured at the tope of this article) also had retailers oohing and ahh-ing.

One more family-owned brand that made a big impact at Centurion was Albuquerque-based Kabana, which fabricates in a former church in that New Mexico city. “We are known for our inlay,” says Kabana vice-president Nick Eleftheriou, son of the company’s founder, the master jeweler Stavros Eleftheriou. Each panel of mother-of-pearl or colored gemstone is painstakingly hand-sculpted and polished to slot seamlessly into its channel. The gem material rises above the gold and forms a smooth, glossy dome. Our signature techniques create our distinctive, domed look.”

As much as one would like to announce the great new jewelry trends that debuted at Centurion 2022, such a statement is difficult to make regarding this year’s show. Although the jewels on exhibit are design-driven, luxurious and of outstanding design value, material and artisanal quality, artistic innovation seemed in rather short supply. One design feature and technical achievement that one saw in various iterations from various brands, however, was flexible diamond and flexible colored gemstone bracelets. Some of the sleekest and most elegantly fashioned were those from Antwerp-based luxury brand Hulchi Bellini.