The History of FOPE Jewellery
Tuesday - 21 May 2019
FOPE jewellery has been a favourite with us at C W Sellors for as long as we can remember, and our customers seem to feel the very same. We love seeing the different FOPE bracelets, necklaces and rings in our boutiques, not only because they look breathtaking but because we know they come from a brand that hold similar values to ourselves: family, innovation and high quality craftsmanship.
The history of FOPE spans back to 1919 when Umberto Cazzola opened his very first goldsmith’s workshop in Vicenza, Italy. The small workshop started with around 20 employees and specialised in making watchstraps from gold and other precious metals. At this point, the company was not known as FOPE, but was termed FICM, an acronym for Italian factory metal strap. As FICM, they quickly became suppliers to some of biggest watchmaking brands in Switzerland.
Eventually, Umberto Cazzola decided that it was time to pass on the company to his son, Odino, who shared the same innovative and pioneering approach to his father. In 1950, just after the Second World War had ended, the workshop found itself converting into a state-of-the-art factory thanks to the strong economic growth happening within Italy. Odino Cazzola took advantage of this and began to invest in several modern technologies that allowed him to invent brand new products including flexible metal straps.
FICM became the first company to design and manufacture these flexible watch bands and they were the core of their production until the 1960’s. Due to their growing success and after becoming the leading supplier in Italy to Swiss watch makers, Odino decided to change the company name from FICM to FOPE. FOPE now translated to Factory of Jewellery Precious Export.
In 1970, Odino’s two children Umberto (named after his grandfather) and Ines joined the business. They were essential in the progression of the business as they began investing greatly into the research and development of new jewellery making technologies. During this time, FOPE continued to specialist in making watch straps and watch cases from gold while also experimenting with new techniques to create their own collections of exquisite jewellery.
The Novecento mesh chain was one of the first pieces of jewellery released from the brand in 1985, becoming the icon for FOPE thanks to its incredible flexibility, exquisite gold metal and ability to be shaped into many different designs. The chain bought FOPE success from not only Italy but across the world. It is easy to see how the Novecento mesh chain remained the inspiration for the entirety of today’s FOPE jewellery collections.
With over three quarters of a century of experience under their belt, FOPE decided to build new headquarters in the centre of Vicenza in 2000 to help keep up with the demand for production. During this time, the fourth generation of the Cazzola joined the business, Giulia, Umberto’s daughter, who opened up the very first American FOPE branch in New York. She later became involved in managing the company’s marketing strategies and playing a fundamental role in launching FOPE as a worldwide brand.
2007 was one of the biggest years for FOPE. It was the year when the FOPE Flex’It jewellery collection was released to the world, taking inspiration from the Novecento mesh chain unveiled back in 1985. The gold mesh chains of FOPE Flex’it jewellery became instantly popular, not only for their beautiful handcrafted metals of yellow, white and rose gold, but for their patented ‘roll on’ mesh chain that is rendered fully flexible thanks to the tiny gold springs hidden between each link.
Exactly ten years later, FOPE hit another significant milestone with the release of their first line of luxury watches. The FOPE LadyFope collection features the familiar Flex’it bracelet in 18 carat rose or white gold alongside Swiss made quartz movements. To ensure completely exclusivity, FOPE also ensured that each FOPE LadyFope watch carried an individual identification number. Today, FOPE continues to thrive, conjuring up and designing breathtaking creations every day. They remain a family run business with production still based in a single building in Vicenza, just moments from the original premises.
You can find all the FOPE jewellery collections at C W Sellors on our website and in many of our boutiques. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com or on 01335 453453 if you have any questions about our range of FOPE jewellery.