The man behind diamonds in the Principality of Monaco
Long-term Monaco resident Alberto Domenico Vitale is a fourth-generation diamond expert and also an environmental advocate. Utilising his multilingual entrepreneurial skills, Alberto is the founder and president of the jewellery house VITALE 1913 Monaco.
Born in Vercelli, Italy, Alberto Vitale is a fourth-generation diamond jeweller with a rich family history dating back to the opulent Royal House of the Bourbon Palace in Naples in the 1600s.
Do you remember your first visit to Monaco?
“Yes, it was back in 1982. I arrived in the Principality with my father after he decided to move from Italy to Fontvieille, Monaco. We also had a yacht moored at the port of San Remo and we decided to bring it over” – remembers Alberto.
During that time you were very young, right?
“Yes, I was just a kid. The most that I remember is that we played a lot of football in the street with my brother.”
Did you always want to work in the jewellery field?
“Actually not. During my studies from 1982-1999, I always aimed to be a business consultant. I was convinced that it is better to make a different experience in life, which might also complement and benefit the family business.”
In 1999, he applied his knowledge and skill in finance and commerce to establish “Monaco Business Instruments” a consultancy firm focused on marketing and technology. Alberto worked with private banks in Monaco and also consulted for some of the world’s largest companies including ABN AMRO (Monaco), ING (Monaco), Julius Baer (Monaco), Rabel ART & Bijous Gallery Monaco, Lenti & Villasco, and more. He was responsible for mergers and acquisitions, and consulting companies on how to grow their businesses.
Parallel to this, Alberto invested his time as a contributing author to multiple magazines published by the University of Milan.
In 2000, recognised for his tenacity and creativity, Alberto won the “Best Entrepreneurs Idea” award in Monaco whilst completing his Masters in Economy and Commerce, Human Resources and Business Communication as well as undertaking a role as a Professor at CNOSFAP in Cuneo, Italy.
Since 2003, Alberto is a proud resident of the Principality of Monaco strengthening his family heritage.
Life changed his chosen path when Alberto’s father was diagnosed with cancer who became very ill. After the terrifying news, Alberto decided to join and help the family business.
The Vitale jeweller family is renowned for their craftsmanship and spectacular creations using only the finest and rarest of stones. Their intricate designs of jewellery masterpieces are synonymous with timeless elegance and aesthetics.
By joining the family business, Alberto also began his career in the diamond industry as a diamond dealer based in Valenza, Italy working with his grandfather and father to create beautiful jewellery and advising individuals and companies on diamonds by investment.
What happened to your brother? Did he also join the family business?
“No, my brother never wanted to join the jewellery business. He is also very active in Monaco’s real-estate sector as a “Marchand de biens”, but he never wished to join and follow up on the family heritage.”
Later on, Alberto’s father passed away and he decided to continue to run the family business.
After encountering great success with investors and wishing to further enhance his family heritage, Alberto founded VITALE 1913 S.A.R.L. in Monaco in 2008, continuing to expand upon the company’s success of working with the biggest names in French and Italian jewellery.
“I was mixing my family history of jewellery manufacturing and my expertise in finance, and began offering structured proposals and personalized solutions, for everyone from a father wanting to buy diamonds for his daughters to a professional investor wishing to spend a million euro.”
The VITALE 1913 team has unparalleled knowledge and experience in managing the collections of fine jewellery for their discerning clients.
Do you also design pieces of jewellery by yourself?
“I can design, but jewellery design highly depends on the taste of the customers. We are focusing on bespoke jewellery and to create the highest satisfaction we often use designers that are perfect fits for the needs of our clients.”
You mentioned that originally you imagined a different business path for yourself. Did you inherit the artistic side from your father?
“I believe yes. As a young man I was a painter, doing portraits” – remembers back Alberto. – “Nowadays, when I go back to art, I often design bespoke cufflinks. Cufflinks are my passion.”
Inspired by the beauty of the Mediterranean coastline and the Principality of Monaco, VITALE 1913’s collections reflect themes that are close to their heart and represent their founding philosophies. Their first collection was released in 2008 and dedicated to the flower of love, the rose, in connection with the reopening of the Princess Grace of Monaco Rose Garden.
Through their unique fine jewellery creations, VITALE 1913 continues to educate and drive awareness of sustainability to preserve the incredible richness and diversity of our oceans. Their collection “Merveilles des Oceans” incorporates naturally broken coral into beautiful, wearable, diamond pieces, paying homage to our deep attachment to the sublime Mediterranean.
Do you still have the family business in Valenza, Italy?
“Yes, but not in its original form. I am a business partner of a jewellery factory in Valenza and we work 80% for Tiffany & Co.”
Valenza is a small town between Milano and Genova with a rich history of Italian gold-smithery. It is worldwide famous for its jewellery. It represents all the Italian love for beauty, combined with the artisan know-how that dates back ages.
The city of Valenza has also the highest number of artisan gold and jewellery businesses in Italy, with more than 15,000 people creating jewellery for brands such as Bvlgari, Cartier, Tiffany & Co, and many others.
What type of jewellery do people like in Monaco?
“The Principality of Monaco has many elegant and smart people among its residents. They admire the flashy but highly sophisticated, elegant jewellery.”
Do you think jewellery in Monaco is more flashy than in other European countries, such as in Switzerland? And if yes, what is the reason for this?
“Definitely, jewellery in Monaco is more flashy than in Switzerland. I believe locally we have many well-educated jewellery lovers, based on my experience much more than in other counties. Here, you can only sell high-quality. People will not settle for the second-best.”
So, there is no market for second-hand either?
“There is plenty of second-hand jewellery in Monaco. You know, in most families you can find very exceptional gemstones formed in a piece of jewellery that might not fit the new owner. Especially when a young lady inherits it from her grandmother. In these cases, I always suggest to my clients to dismount the old jewellery and remake it into something new. The style maybe is not adapted, but we are able to retransfer it to new pieces to give a new life and a new meaning for the gemstones.”
Why is it that people prefer diamonds and not other precious and semi-precious stones?
“Diamond is like a brand. By wearing a diamond necklace, the word itself evokes emotions in women. Luckily, even natural diamonds are available in various colours fitting the individual taste. Many people don’t know but diamonds occur in a variety of colours such as steel-grey, white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink to purple, brown and black.”
In addition to creating beautiful handmade bespoke jewellery, VITALE 1913 are connoisseurs of investment diamonds. An investment that allows one to diversify their portfolio, differentiating itself from other financial instruments such as real estate, immovable and moveable assets, gold, and other commodities. This rare gemstone, contrary to all other assets that one may own, is not subject to inflation and price changes, affected by the volatility of the market.
How do you see Monaco’s diamond investment scenery?
“It is very similar to Switzerland because the place does not affect the investment. Both private clients and family offices are investing in high-value and rare diamonds. Maybe the only advantage is that the Principality of Monaco is a safer place to hold such assets.”
Diamonds are not subjected to particular laws and other forms of monopoly by international organisations. Thus, enabling one to invest in a protected asset that allows one to manage and protect one’s wealth, whilst it maintains a high and consistent price performance. Moreover, its value is independent of any government decree, and for this reason, it maintains its value even during recessions.
Diamonds withstand inflation better and despite price fluctuations, their value is always on the rise, increasing an average of between 8% and 15% per annum. Additionally, in the case of inheritance, diamonds fall under the gemstone and arts category and are (in most countries) exempt from inheritance taxes. Therefore, diamonds are considered an excellent medium for long-term investment. Not to mention that diamonds are tangible, transportable, and are liquid investments. Many of the primary benefits gold provides as an investment apply to diamonds as well.
Do you use other Monaco based companies, like Monaco Business Instruments’ as a supporting tool?
“Indeed, it is a supporting tool. As I see the jewellery market is a very traditional market, even in 2021. But we need to step to another level, and we need to keep up with the revolution made by the new technologies. For example, thanks to VITALE 1913’s complete digital infrastructure I can access all the clients’ files and address their requests immediately no matter which part of the world I am.”
To educate individuals on the complexities of diamond investment and market trends, Alberto holds private one-day training courses in his showroom. The courses are presented by two GIA and HRD certified Gemologists in four languages – English, French, Italian and Russian in his gemology laboratory in Monaco.
“As individuals in Monaco, we are extremely fortunate in our security, however, when travelling abroad with jewellery it is paramount to take into consideration the security limitations of other countries. Every day I work with my clients to ensure the safe transportation and security of their most precious jewels.”
In 2020, Alberto created The Jewellery Safe, which provides clients with peace-of-mind asset protection and specialized management of their most precious jewels and watches. Through the creation, purchase, valuation, storage, and after-care, every aspect of the jewelry is designed with the utmost care to meet all needs.
The Jewellery Safe might not make any sense in the safest country in the world. So what was your idea behind this new service, targeting Monaco residents?
“The Principality is the safest place in the world. No doubt about this. However, people in their homes often leave pieces of jewellery and watches in easily accessible places. This can trigger problems with visiting guests and even with the maid and maintenance team.”
So what are the three most important benefits of this service?
“Obviously, number one is safety. We also consult our clients and make suggestions on how to protect their jewellery.
Number two is a better insurance policy. Number three is flexibility. Our business is similar to a car concierge service. You ring up us telling us what type of jewellery you need, and we deliver it to your home safely and efficiently. We can also collect it from you once you wish to place it again in the safe.”
Alberto Vitale is a great example of those business owners who are trying to provide bespoke services to increase the quality of life in the Principality of Monaco. Also, he is a great supporter of multiple causes related to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
Many thanks to Monaco Residents’ Magazine for this great interview.
Read more on: www.monacoresidentsmagazine.com