What pairs well with Italian bites and bottles?
The answer, London Jewelers president Candy Udell would argue, is sparkling baubles.
To that end, Udell has invited a joyous Italian takeover of her family’s dazzling Manhasset store for two weekends this month, as the illustrious retailer partners with the Italian Trade Agency for an all-out festival.
“The celebration of Italy in our flagship is the perfect way for our clients to enjoy the best of Italian food, wine and culture, while simultaneously viewing our stunning collection of made-in-Italy jewelry,” she says.
Udell, known for her hospitality, is encouraging guests to mangia pasta, sample Italian wines, sate a sweet tooth with gelato, sip espresso and take in a mozzarella-making demonstration, all in a special tent set up outside the store.
Inside, expect a feast for the eyes, with the beauty of Italian jewelry on full display. Highlights will range from the glamorous gems of Buccellati, Bulgari, Pomellato and Vhernier to London’s own collection of Italian gold statement pieces.
Udell points to bold gold and chain links as standouts from the bel paese. “They’re staples of Italian style and they both happen to be very hot trends this year,” she notes. “We’ve also seen amazing use of titanium mixed with gold and gemstones.”
A longtime champion of Italian jewelry and the artisans who create it, Udell has just returned from a tour of Milan and Valenza, where pieces for some of the most prestigious jewelry houses in the world are created.
“It’s a beautiful country full of history, and Italian jewelry-makers transfer that through their creations,” she says. “It’s the pride, commitment and passion for perfection, and the generations of craftsmanship that get passed down.”
The importance of famiglia is not lost on the Italian Trade Agency, which values London as much for its 95-year history as a fourth-generation family business, as for its influence as a retailer.
“What I see from London Jewelers — even though they are a big jewelry group, and everyone knows them around the world — is that they have a family touch,” says Alessia Mather, a marketing officer for the organization. “Candy and her husband Mark [Udell, London’s CEO] are personally involved in the business. It’s like when you go to a little shop in Italy and you know the owner. Having a partner like them gives you a warm feeling.”
Mather adds that the event “will be a true Italian immersion. When you buy something made in Italy, it’s way more than just a piece of jewelry. It’s buying a little piece of Italian lifestyle.”
Italy certainly holds a special place in Udell’s heart, since her family has been traveling to the country for more than 40 years.
“We’ve made countless memories there,” she says. “Everything tastes better and shines brighter: the wine, the sun setting over the countryside, the piazzas where everyone gathers to socialize. The people are so warm and friendly. One of the best parts of going back is seeing the many friends we’ve made over the years.”
But for now, Udell couldn’t be happier to be home on Long Island, hosting in her beautiful store again after an absence of events for nearly two years. “We are delighted to be welcoming people back — in person — for this fun occasion!”