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Italian jeweler Carlo Palmiero makes U.S. debut at Valobra Jewelry and Antiques

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"Bellflower" ring Courtesy of Palmiero

Italian jewelry designer Carlo Palmiero is a master goldsmith, trained at Valenza's Goldsmith Art School. He is one of the single-most successful jewelry designers in the world, and yet neither he nor his collection have ever been on American soil — until now.

Palmiero has chosen the Houston Valobra Jewelry and Antiques as the site of his debut in the United States.

Beginning Friday, more than $30 million worth of Palmiero's designs — in the form of more than 400 one-of-a-kind pieces — will be on display at Valobra, with Palmiero himself in Houston to present the collection. Valobra founder Franco Valobra talked to CultureMap about his plans to clear out the store for the event and the spectacular nature of Palmiero's work:

  "(Houston) has a strong economy and people that enjoy their jewelry and enjoy the fruits of their hard work," Valobra says.

 "His way of making jewelry is not just a piece of jewelry, but it's a wearable piece of art," Valobra says. "You've heard that before, but a lot of times words are wasted; this time they are not. [His work] is something you want to put on a pedestal when you're not wearing it. It's heavy, it's detailed, it's big, it's bold."

Valobra says Palmiero has long denied larger stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus access to his jewels, as he prefers to do business with people he has a connection with (Valobra's first store opened in Torino, Italy).

The Highland Village store, which opened in 2006, was selected in part because Houston has a reputation — even in Europe — as being crisis-proof. "It has a strong economy and people that enjoy their jewelry and enjoy the fruits of their hard work," Valobra says.

The special open-to-the-public presentation marks the first — and likely only — time Palmiero's full collection will be viewable in America, and also the first time that Valobra has ever represented an outside jewelry brand.

"We are awfully, awfully honored that Valobra — a small store — is to be the one hosting," Valobra says. "It's something that you can never find anywhere else in the world. A lot of the designers are worried about being copied. This is not copy-able. Maybe the style, but you can't copy the finish."

Carlo Palmiero will make a personal appearance at Valobra, 4078 Westheimer, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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